Reference service remains a core function of modern libraries. However, how and where we provide assistance has evolved with changing technologies and the shifting habits and preferences of our users. One way libraries can provide the on-demand, in-person assistance while managing and developing new services and resources that will benefit current and future users is to reconsider how their reference points and services are staffed and adopt a staff-based reference model. In Implementing an Inclusive Staffing Model for Today's Reference Services, Nims, Storm, and Stevens describe step-by-step how to transition from the traditional librarian-staffed reference desk to an inclusive reference model where non-MLS personnel are equipped and empowered to answer reference questions wherever these questions might be asked.
Julia K. Nims has been a public services librarian for fifteen years. Currently, she works at Eastern Michigan University Library where she has been Public Services Team Leader. Julia earned an MLS from Indiana University, and a MA in History from Florida State University. She has published in RSR: Reference Services Review and the American Journal of Health Behavior, and co-edited several LOEX Conference Proceedings. Paula Storm is the Science Librarian at Eastern Michigan University and holds an MILS from the University of Michigan. Her work has been found in Magazines for Libraries, Thinking Outside the Box: Essays for Innovative Librarians, and College & Research Libraries. Robert Stevens earned his MLS from Wayne State University in 2000, has been a regular editor of the LOEX Conference Proceedings since 2006 and has presented at regional and national conferences on topics ranging from library instruction to Frederick Douglass. He is currently the Humanities Librarian at Eastern Michigan University.
Chapter 1. The Changed Reference Environment Changes Through History Fewer and Different Questions at the Desk Evolving Responsibilities of Academic Reference Librarians New Models of Reference Service References Chapter 2. Why Do We Need to Change Anything? Gathering Information about Reference Questions Asked in the Library The Project Group Collecting Data Step 1: Decide What Data to Collect Step 2: Decide Who Will Collect Data Step 3: Decide When to Collect the Data (and for How Ling) Step 4: Determine How to Record the Data Google Docs Libstats LibAnswers Pen-and-Paper Method Step 5: Collecting Reference Question Data Classifying Questions Step 1: Select a Reference Question Classification System The Katz Classification The Warner Model The READ Scale Pros and Cons of Classification Systems Step 2: Code the Questions Step 3: Compile the Coding Results Step 4: Finalize the Question Coding Preparing the Data for Presentation Step 1: Decide What Data to Present Step 2: Put the Data in Tabular Form Step 3: Determine What Types of Charts to Use Step 4: Create the Charts Key Points References Chapter 3. Getting Buy-In: Setting the Stage for Change The Stage for Change Resistance to Change Strategy for Change Getting Others on Board Administration Librarians Supervisors Staff Other Departments Faculty (for Academic Libraries) Key Points References Chapter 4. Can You Help Me? Preparing All Library Employees o Assist Library Users Determining Reference Expectations of All Library Employees Frequently Asked Directional/Informational Questions How to Make a Referral Locations and Functions of the Public Service Points Customer Service Behavior Other Knowledge or Skills Library Signage Planning the Training Sessions Reviewing a Sample Training Session Introductions Expectations - What is Changing and Why Answering the Most Frequently Asked Directional and Informational Questions Making Referrals Sample Referral Scenario 1 Sample Referral Scenario 2 Learning Locations and Services Providing Good Customer Service Scenario Walkthroughs Sample Scenario 1 Sample Scenario 2 Sample Scenario 3 Sample Scenario 4 Question-and-Answer Period Post-Session Follow-Up Key Points Chapter 5. Selecting and Training Staff to Work at the Reference Desk Matching the Right People with the Reference Desk Methods for Gauging Both Interest and Aptitude A Timeline for Implementation of the Inclusive Reference Model Determining What Staff at the Reference Desk Need to Know Additional Referral Training/Desk Orientation Developing Training Manuals Developing Training Modules/Exercises Key Points Chapter 6. "What Needs to Change Now?" Evaluating the Inclusive Staffing Model Initial Considerations What to Evaluate Training Procedures Effectiveness Performance When to Evaluate Who to Evaluate What are the Ethical Considerations? Evaluation Methods Surveys Focus Groups and Interviews Observation Planning the Evaluation Project Step 1: Expand Reference Project Group Membership Step 2: Determine the Evaluation Methods Step 3: Create "Task and Timelines" Documents Case Study of an Evaluation Plan Sharing the Evaluation Results Written Final Report In-person Presentations Key Points References Chapter 7. So, What Have the Librarians Been Up To? Addressing Skepticism The New Reference Librarian Technology and the New Reference Librarian Collection Development Information Literacy Marketing and Outreach Additional Areas of Expansion Key Points References Chapter 8. Managing the New Model for Long-Term Success Integrating the Inclusive Staffing Model into Library Personnel Policies Defining Reference Coordinator Responsibilities Communicating with Staff Individual Check-ins Meetings E-mails Electronic Bulletin Boards Communicating with Non-Reference Staff Providing On-going Training Training Needs of Reference Desk Staff Training Needs of Non-Reference Staff Assessing Staff Performance Assessing Reference Staff Assessing Non-Reference Staff Showing Appreciation to Staff Key Points Chapter 9. Reference: What Does the Future Bring? The Ever Evolving Needs of Library Users The Ever Evolving Landscape of Reference Services The Future of Staff Involvement The Enduring Spirit of Reference Reference Index About the Authors