The New Normal: New Collaborations within the Library and Beyond

Andrea Koeppe, Marianne Hageman, Diane Knights, Karen Brunner, Eric Kallas; University of St. Thomas

Andrea: Business reference librarian.

Collaborations are nothing new

  • the information commons model uniting libraries with computing
  • wikis and blogs to share information with each other
  • embedded librarians working with faculty members

This is what we all so – this is normal.

Is that all there is?

Other types of collaboration – the new normal

  • partnerships between librarians and technology specialists; updated reference guides that are web-based and dynamic
  • partnerships between reference and circulation departments
  • partnerships between the library and other departments on campus

UST librarians working to extend out to other areas of campus and to people that might not reach out to the library.

Why collaborate?

  • improve access to library resources
  • provide better service to patrons when and where they need it
  • increase visibility of library resources outside of the library

Marianne: reference librarian

Libraries get good stuff for their users. Increasingly resources are electronic.

Collaboration on resources: identification, acquisition, implementation, product review and maintenance. … so that students can find the good stuff.

Subject guides are now a mix of print and online resources.  Becoming more useful and dynamic.  Can sort by subject. Can search the content of the guides.  RSS feed for the blog posts.

More 2.0-style guides – Ohio University uses Wikis.  UST looking towards LibGuides.

What about reference sources? As things move online, what should we be recommending? And how to make students aware of resources other than Google and Wikipedia?

Focus on background sources

  • starting points for research
  • basic packages (Blackwell, Oxford, Gale)
  • catalogers create records for titles in basic packages
  • electronic resource creates links for titles
  • subject librarians identify key resources in their disciplines

UST has an encyclopedias and dictionaries page with resources by subject.

Examples: Marquette has a reference source page with a section on “why use these?”

We know students look for things on their own; what else do we do to help them find the good stuff?  Try to make things findable on our library pages.  “Get it” button. IM chat. Federated search. Tabbed search box.

Diane: librarian in charge of circulation and part of reference.

Circ and ref collaboration

  • question tracking
  • IM
  • just in time
  • captivate

Reaches out to students to teach.

Question tracker

  • using Sharepoint to monitor questions. This could be accomplished in excel or something similar
  • each person at all service points in all libraries, students included, is expected to record questions
  • this may help us decide future training, staffing, and hours for service points

Built form to gather the information: title of transaction, question type, time spent, question format (walkup, email, etc.), question, answer.  Still working out whether they need to fill out all the areas for each transactions.

Allows all to see the questions that come in. Is altering how they respond to student workers, staffing. See when a trend of similar questions is coming to the service points.

Instant messaging:

Ref staff and circ staff monitor IM throughout the day and evening – until 2:00 a.m.  Questions are coming in more frequently and are more complex.  Letting it grow naturally.

Karen: late-night supervisor. IM took off when they put widgets on database pages.


Learning outside the classroom, building small training components into the building rather than taking them to the classroom.

“Wanna know how to find “stuff” in the library? Need a break from studying? Join Karen, out late night staffer, for an information training session on how to find and use resources.”  Picture of Karen with an arrow and message that says “If you have a question, find this lady.”   On white board at entrance to library.

Also advertises on Facebook.

Up to staff member as to what the theme of the session will be. She tends to do more general topics. Turnout varies. When people do show up, treats are much appreciated. Unless it’s relevant to the student at that exact moment, they don’t care. It’s important to plant the seed that the librarians are there to help them.  Because of photo, students know who to look for when they need help.

Captivate tutorials

  • always accessible
  • some duplication with just in time
  • ex: how to request a book, how to place an ILL request.  Aims past novice users

Captivate: worked with reference to hear what were most common reference questions.  When refworks new interface is up, will probably do a captivate for this.

Eric: mobile reference program

Quoting Keith Richards; wonders how much more interesting library school would have been with Keith Richards as a classmate.

Librarians with laptops go to remote locations and help with reference. Homecoming, football games. More success was with UST career center.

With career center, had weekly scheduled sessions. Subject specific – company research. Promoted on CC website; CC staff refers patrons.

Provides reference services for students, faculty, and staff. Uses a laptop with WiFi, an identification sign, and supplemental library materials.

Promotion in campus media, library website, collaborative websites, treats, and attention-getting signs.

Collaboration with career center inspired them to go to business center to promote, and in turn the business center is sending people to the library.

Info to start program:


Leave a comment

Filed under Libraries and Librarianship

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s