Librarian Book Club discussion

Managing Reference Today: New Models and Best Practices
This topic is about Managing Reference Today
9 views
18 Managing Reference Today > Managing Reference Today

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan (susande) | 4 comments Just started reading this on my lunch break. I did not know that reference started in one of my favorite places - Worcester, MA. I like that one level of reference service was called "middling." It refers to mid-level, not mediocre (minimal, middling, maximum).

I know I am off to a slow start. Where are others in his book?


Glen (glenjbenedict) | 2 comments I've finished the book. I thought that it was fine for what it was - but I'd like for our next book to be something that isn't specifically aimed at managers/supervisors.

Also, and this is just my personal biases speaking, does anyone else not understand the push toward wandering reference? Both as someone who provides reference services and as a patron, I can't think of anything I want less than someone wandering around the library. I don't like it when retailers do it, and I can't imagine anyone actually liking it.


message 3: by Sonnet (new)

Sonnet (sonnetireland) | 64 comments Mod
Glen wrote: "I've finished the book. I thought that it was fine for what it was - but I'd like for our next book to be something that isn't specifically aimed at managers/supervisors.

Also, and this is just my..."


I thought I was alone in that. I get the idea of checking around every once in a while, particularly in a large building where there isn't a lot of staff that can be easily located. But nothing annoys me more than going to a designated service point only to find no one there. Or not even having a designated service point, so I have to figure out whether to wait to be found or to go hunting for help. I definitely think Gen X and Gen Y are not big fans of random people checking in on them without specifically requesting help first.


message 4: by Sonnet (new)

Sonnet (sonnetireland) | 64 comments Mod
Glen wrote: "I've finished the book. I thought that it was fine for what it was - but I'd like for our next book to be something that isn't specifically aimed at managers/supervisors.

Also, and this is just my..."


Feel free to recommend some titles that have struck your fancy. (And I'm not being snarky, I actually do sincerely use that phrase...I know it's weird,) Anyway, I could really use some help with recommendations. Even with the voting, the last book was chosen because 4 people voted for it. So we're not getting high turnout for the polls on this. So any recommendations are greatly appreciated. As long as they aren't so new that people can't get them easily.


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan (susande) | 4 comments I agree that there should be a designated service point. I remember when the main branch of our public library took down all directional signs (e.g. reference on second floor, computer lab in back) because a study showed that patrons don't read them and/or found them intimidating. Well, I don't know which patrons were part of the study because our library's patrons just got annoyed and confused. Yes, SOME people won't read signs or use a service desk, but SOME will expect it. It seems we can do a little of both.

The other thing that is interesting about the concept in the book is that the author says one of the reasons people don't like to use the reference desk is for privacy reasons. I don't think talking about your question where anyone hanging out in a carrel or on the other side of the stacks can hear is any less private and may end up with listeners you didn't even realize were there.

The point about privacy is a good one, though. I hate how our pharmacy go rid of their private consultation area with a door. It is not needed for most transactions, but I am not going to ask the pharmacist detailed questions about a new medication with half my neighbors walking around right behind me. I think most patrons do not understand how much patron privacy is central to librarianship. We should do a better job of letting people know what is discussed with us stays with us unless we get their permission otherwise. We also should offer a more private spot to have discussions. It could be a multi-use space, as I don't expect their to be a huge demand for this, but it is important if we want o be able to fully provide reference services.


message 6: by Sonnet (new)

Sonnet (sonnetireland) | 64 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "I agree that there should be a designated service point. I remember when the main branch of our public library took down all directional signs (e.g. reference on second floor, computer lab in back)..."
I agree, especially about the privacy. I like the idea of having an office available. I've wondered how intimidating it would be to have the reference librarian in a see-through office. You're still visible, but there is a barrier if someone wants privacy. It's probably impractical for most libraries to spend money on something like that, but I'm out in the open. I don't see much of a difference in having glass walls instead...except that it creates a literal stopping point for the next patron, preventing them from infringing on the current one. I know it's often unintentional. Different cultures have different ideas of personal space, but it's hard to have this somewhat intimate conversation with someone while also worrying about their privacy. This is a particular problem with our elderly patrons who can't hear.


back to top