Task Force on Information and Reference Services within Doe and Moffitt
Task Force Report
I. Background & Charge
II. The Vision
III. Reference & Research
New Model | Location Issues
IV. Distinguishing Levels of Service
V. Programmatic Spatial Changes
VI. Publicity & Marketing
Appendix 1: Task Force Charge
Appendix 2: Membership Roster
Appendix 3: Methodology & Definitions
Appendix 4: Doe/Moffitt Subject Specialties
Appendix 5: Documents Consulted
Appendix 6: Library Organization Chart
Appendix 7: Background to Recommendation 4
Appendix 8: Bibliography
I. Background & Charge
The Task Force on Information and Reference Services within Doe and Moffitt was appointed in November 1999 by University Librarian Gerald Lowell. He asked us to examine the condition of reference and information services in the Doe and Moffitt libraries, particularly the serious erosion in the quality and effectiveness of reference service and collections that has occurred through years of disruptive seismic renovation and staff reductions, and to propose a constructive redesign of those services and collections. We were asked to address such issues as the kinds of reference and information services needed by each of the clienteles we serve, the number and physical locations of service points, and the information resources and staffing (levels, hours, training) required to support these services. See Appendices 1-3 for the Task Force charge, membership roster, the methodology we have followed, and definitions of key terms. See also a bibliography of related readings in Appendix 8.
In considering these issues, the Task Force quickly recognized the equal seriousness of the expanding use and availability of digital library resources. Besides examining issues of service location and staffing, the Task Force therefore considered these larger questions: what is the purpose of a physical collection of reference materials, including computer terminals, and the role of reference staff, in an age when many users may never need to enter a Reference Room? What are the best practices for the library to stay in touch with its patrons, add value and ensure quality reference services?
II. The Vision
The Task Force envisions a reinvigorated reference and research environment for the users of the Doe and Moffitt Libraries. The new Doe/Moffitt Reference and Research Service, conceived as a single unit with complementary service points in Doe and Moffitt and served by an expert and well-trained staff, will provide convenient access to expanded research and reference collections and offer both in-person and remote reference and research service at all levels in the disciplines collected in Doe and Moffitt Libraries. In our vision the Doe/Moffitt Reference and Research Service is located at the centers of library activity: the current Moffitt Information Gateway and the first floor of Doe Library.
The following recommendations are built on and express this vision.
III. Reference & Research Service Configuration
A. New Model for Reference & Research Service
Recommendation 1: The Task Force's overarching recommendation is to create the Doe/Moffitt Reference & Research Service, a user-centered, complementary reference and research service for Doe and Moffitt Libraries, integrating humanities and social sciences reference service in Doe and Moffitt Libraries. Managed as a single unit, the Doe/Moffitt Reference & Research Service will deliver its services with a core staff whose primary assignment is to provide reference service. The audience for the Doe/Moffitt Reference Service is members of the campus community (faculty, graduate and undergraduate students) requiring assistance with humanities, social sciences, government documents, and area studies research and materials, as well as visiting scholars, independent researchers, and members of the surrounding community, including users of government depository materials.
Recommendation 1A: Combine the reference services of the Information Gateway, Government and Social Science Information Service, Information Center, and Humanities/Area Studies (unstaffed since 1997 seismic closure) to create a new Reference & Research Service to support information, bibliographic instruction, general and specialized reference and scholarly research in the humanities, social sciences, general sciences, and area studies. See Appendix 4 for a list of disciplines served .
Recommendation 1B: Staff the public service desks of the Doe/Moffitt Reference Service with librarians and library assistants. Selected Doe/Moffitt librarians (including subject specialists), curatorial assistants, and library assistants at level IV or V will provide the majority of the hours needed. The largest percentage of coverage will be provided by librarians. Support may be provided by other Library units through rotational assignments. The Task Force recommends the broadest possible participation of librarians in the Doe/Moffitt Reference Service; staff may require support in reconfiguring their assignments to reflect this new emphasis. (See Appendix 6 for an organization chart showing library unit reporting lines.)
Recommendation 1C: Create the position of Head of Doe/Moffitt Reference & Research Service. The Head of Doe/Moffitt Reference & Research Service would report to the AUL-Doe/Moffitt and would have overall management, including ongoing service evaluation, of the Doe Library Research Center and the Moffitt Library Reference & Information Gateway.Rationale: The position of Head of Doe/Moffitt Reference & Research Service will provide the critical leadership and accountability necessary for the creation and ongoing support and management of an integrated Doe/Moffitt reference staff and service.
Recommendation 1D: Support the Doe/Moffitt Reference Service with multi-format reference collections: the Doe Library Research Center will have a robust introductory-level to research-level reference collection, representing all of the subjects collected for the Gardner Stacks. The Moffitt Library Reference & Information Gateway will have a small, duplicative, collection of print and other reference materials to supplement the digital reference sources already in use. The composition of these collections shall be determined by the Doe/Moffitt reference staff. The Doe Research Center will also house a research collection (Recommendation 5).
Recommendation 1E: Increase reference service hours at the public service desks to a total minimum of 136 hours of reference service per week for the combined Doe/Moffitt Reference & Research Service. The scheduling and distribution of hours should be decided by the Head of the Doe/Moffitt Reference & Research Service in conjunction with the staff.
Recommendation 1F: Supplement the reference and research assistance provided at the public desks with a coordinated, well-publicized system through which users may meet individually, during scheduled office hours or by appointment, with library subject and language specialists.
Recommendation 1G: While implementing the Doe/Moffitt Reference & Research Service involves physical space planning, the Task Force recommends that planning also occur for the delivery of remote reference service (see also Recommendation 7).
The Doe/Moffitt Reference & Research Service consists of two major elements: the Moffitt Library Reference & Information Gateway (Recommendation 2) and the Doe Library Research Center (Recommendation 3):
2: We concur with the
recommendation of the Task Force on Library Services to Undergraduates
that a significant reference service be located in Moffitt Library. We
recommend the creation of the Moffitt Library Reference & Information
Gateway, and that the current Information Gateway and surrounding areas
should be reconfigured as the site of reference service, accommodating
the reference staff, library information system workstations as well as
a small clearly focussed print reference collection. The Reference
& Information Gateway will provide introductory-level reference service;
users requiring research-level reference service will be referred to the
Doe Library Research Center (Recommendation
3) or specialized subject libraries as appropriate. We anticipate
the largest audience for the Moffitt Library Information Gateway will continue
to be undergraduate students. However, any member of the campus community
requiring help getting started on a topic in the subjects collected in
the Gardner Stacks is also part of the Information Gateway's primary audience.
Recommendation 3: Create the Doe Library Research Center to strengthen research-level reference service and collections in the humanities, social sciences, and area studies by integrating the Information Center and GSSI and increasing the available print and digital resources. Located on the first floor of the Doe Library, the Doe Research Center will offer comprehensive reference service, from introductory- to research-level and will contain a substantial reference collection to supplement the digital reference tools available. It will also offer a convenient place for research reading and browsing. (See also Recommendation 4 regarding the Doe Research Center location.) Accessible print reference collections will combine those now located in the Information Center, Humanities/Area Studies, and GSSI, affording users a richer view of the reference resources available. Selected titles currently in the stacks can be transferred to the reference collection.
The Research Center will also house
a selective, non-circulating research collection (more fully discussed
in Recommendation 5) comprised of basic
texts in the disciplines served by Doe Library.
Recommendation 4: The Task Force recommends that the Doe Library Research Center be located on the first floor of Doe Library. A first floor location puts the Doe Research Center where the people are, promoting the visibility of and access to the service and collections. Such a location would have excellent proximity to many related service points, for example, Doe Circulation Desk, the Gardner Stacks, Interlibrary Sevices, the Morrison Library, South/Southeast Asia Library, and the Periodical/Newspaper/Microform Room. In addition, the first floor of the Doe Core, one of the first floor alternatives, provides the space necessary for an enlarged print and digital collection of resources to promote reference service and research reading and browsing, as well as the potential for housing related services.
However, because suitable first floor space is not currently available, we make the following interim recommendation:
Locate the Doe Library Research
Center on the second floor of Doe. The Research Center reference service
will be located in the Subject Hall; the Center's collection will be shelved
in the Subject Hall, the North Reading Room, and the present GSSI.
The non-circulating research collection will be shelved in the North Reading
Room and other second floor locations. See Appendix
7 for the background to this recommendation.
5: Develop a non-circulating
Research Collection of the most essential and frequently used primary
and secondary sources in the disciplines served by Doe Library. Although
a fully-developed non-circulating research collection cannot be realized
immediately, and might be viewed as outside the specific scope of the Task
Force's charge, it has widespread and long-term implications in terms of
administration, space and facilities planning, and the development, selection,
and restructure of collections. We further recommend that the concept
of a future Research Collection be regarded as an immediate and ongoing
integral aspect of library support planning and expressions of services
offered. Optimally, an exploration of possibilities should begin
in the near future, in which faculty and graduate students participate
with selection specialists to determine the specific needs for materials
in each discipline. The Task Force also recommends the review of
The Library's collection development policy in conjunction with relevant
policies for Graduate Services and other related collections and services
The idea of a non-circulating research collection comprised of basic texts in the disciplines served by Doe Library requires a broad reimagining of the collection development policies and mission currently in effect. Non-circulating research collections are presently in place in GSSI, South/Southeast Asia Library, Art History/Classics, Graduate Services, and to a small degree, in the Humanities/Area Studies reading room, and comprise a de facto research collection. However, we think that focussing on a non-circulating research collection requires an overdue new emphasis on scholars' research needs in Doe Library.
Recommendation 6: Improve traffic flow to the Doe second floor. Methods might include improved signage, training staff to make referrals, or reopening the second floor entrance.
Recommendation 7: Aggressively explore, evaluate, and implement technologies to support remote reference services. Examples of technological applications for reference include real-time, online reference dialogues and the use of video communication between desktops.
Recommendation 8: Create an on-going reference training program for Doe/Moffitt reference staff to build and sustain staff competencies. The training program will cover both basic reference skills and training in specialized subjects or formats through a variety of training activities, for example: library staff workshops given by library staff, subject specialists' presentations, database vendor workshops, small group investigations of new reference tools, reviewing and analyzing new reference sources, participating in continuing education programs organized by local, regional, state and national associations, and cross-training programs to introduce reference staff to collections and services in other units and libraries.
Required skill sets include: interpersonal/interviewing skills, library online systems search and Internet navigational skills, content knowledge of sources, knowledge of the reference and bibliography collection, as well as knowledge of systemwide resources, collections and policies. This list is by no means comprehensive and should be amplified through discussion with the Doe/Moffitt reference staff.Rationale: Staff bring varied levels of experience and competencies to the reference desk. To ensure quality and consistency of service all reference staff must have the knowledge and preparation required to meet the research and information needs of The Library's diverse community of users.
B. Location Issues:
(See also Recommendation 4 and Appendix 7 for additional discussion of location issues.)
Recommendation 9: The Task Force recommends that the Information Center space continue to provide an open bank of networked workstations, located in relatively close proximity to the Doe Circulation Department, for the convenience of those who need to use the online catalogs and other systems but do not require reference and research services. We recommend that this area be staffed on a limited basis, in order to provide a staff "presence," troubleshoot and report hardware problems, assist with basic questions involving the catalogs and databases, and refer users to the Reference & Research Center or other appropriate desk. Assistance in this entry corridor might also be provided via intercom telephones or electronic "chat" or videoconferencing through the public workstations.
Recommendation 10: In order to assist users in navigating Doe Library, the Task Force recommends that the door monitor kiosks at the south and north entrances of Doe Library become information kiosks, staffed by student library employees. Currently the kiosk staff informally provide directional assistance; we recommend that kiosk staff be formally charged with this responsibility and receive appropriate training. The kiosk staff would continue to monitor exiting patrons. The Task Force recommends that the kiosk staff report to the AUL-Doe/Moffitt, the office responsible for Doe public serviceRationale: We anticipate an increased need for directional assistance to help mitigate the interim absence of a significant reference or information point on the first floor of Doe Library.
Recommendation 11: The Task Force recommends that assistance be provided to library users with locational questions in the Gardner Stacks. Doe Circulation shelvers could be trained to assist Gardner Stacks users who need help locating a book, for instance. In addition, we recommend that The Library explore technological means for stack users to communicate with reference staff. Possibilities might include courtesy phones directly linked to reference staff and real-time online reference assistance.
IV. Distinguishing Levels of Service
The Task Force recognizes that there will always be library users who are unaware of or indifferent to the distinctions we wish to make between the Moffitt Library Information Gateway (introductory-level reference only) and the Doe Library Research Center (comprehensive-level reference). We think, however, that The Library can assist users in choosing the best starting place, and have identified some strategies for distinguishing levels of service:
- Develop a clear program statement for each service.
- Train campus reference staff to make appropriate referrals to service points and subject specialists.
- Select and display appropriate resources for target audience.
- Name the service points descriptively, e.g., Research Center.
V. Programmatic Spatial Changes
The Task Force has identified the following spatial changes necessitated by the recommended reference service model:
Information Center: Move collections and possibly install more computer workstations. GSSI: Move some collections; remove reference desk . Doe Subject Hall: Install wiring for electrical, data and phone lines; install shelving for the print collection; and construct a reference desk. Significantly increase the number of Library Information System computer workstations and add a printer station. Reconfigure the space to integrate new furnishings with existing study tables, LIS workstations, stand-alone CD-ROM workstations, microfiche cabinets and reader-printers and copier. North Reading Room: Remove the reference desk; rearrange the print reference collection; reconfigure the movable shelves. Information Gateway: Install shelving and print collections; move computer workstations.
VI. Publicity & Marketing for the Doe/Moffitt Reference Service
Recommendation 12: The Task Force recommends the following strategies for publicizing the Doe/Moffitt Reference Service:To Top
Submit notices and advertisements to campus media. Distribute announcements to appropriate campus e-mail reflectors and mailing lists, including academic units. Provide descriptive material for campus and library tour guides. Install signage throughout the Library system, and especially at the Moffitt Library entrance and the Doe Library north and south entrances. Distribute regular announcements to instructors and bibliographic instruction sessions. Distribute announcements to various campus e-mail reflectors. Use Library media to advertise, e.g., The Library Web site and Bene Legere. Create an online newsletter to communicate news relevant to all Doe/Moffitt services, i.e., Doe/Moffitt Quarterly, targetted to our primary constituents. The newsletter would be a primary vehicle for highlighting reference services, collections and resources. Leaflet the campus residence halls. Use word-of-mouth advertising: orient student employees throughout the library system to the Doe/Moffitt Reference Service. They'll tell their friends. Strengthen the library system referral network via staff meetings to announce the new reference service and through on-going training.
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