Minutes: Public Service Task Force July 27, 1998

Present: Phyllis Bischof (co-chair and recorder), Nensi Brailo, Lynn Jones, Corliss Lee (co-chair), Christina Tarr, Bill Whitson, Sheila Williams (for Agnes Concepcion)

Guest: Penny Abell

This was the first meeting of the task force; introductions were made and the co-chairs outlined a brief history and overview of the purposes of the task force.

Penny Abell discussed her hopes for the Task Force. The issues to be tackled by the task force are among the most urgent and important ones faced by the library and the outcomes will be taken seriously. Penny needs to proceed with two other pressing issues and wants to make sure that these efforts are mutually supportive:

1.) To look at the allocation of public services staff within the library and to assess data regarding workloads. We need such data to use current resources most effectively and to justify any increases we may seek in budgetary support for these activities.

2.) Pending issues regarding Doe/Moffitt include the recommendations of the newly issued Task Force on Library Services to Undergraduates report; the proposed temporary move of the Environmental Design Library into the 5th floor of Moffitt; a plan for the Reading Rooms on the second floor of Doe. All impinge on whatever thoughtful and coherent planning we want to do. Within the next two-to-three months we need decisions on these matters.

What is reference, and where are we going to supply it? The Collections Advisory Group (CAG) has been gathering data concerning how we allocate our collections budget which relate to campus programs and the use of collections. We would like some similar information on topics like identifying different levels of staffing in our various public service points. The more complicated set of issues is the Doe/Moffitt public services planning. Looking at questions raised by the Task Force on Library Services to Undergraduates Report--Should there be a gateway for entrance to print and electronic resources? Should the reference desk be re-established someplace in the D/M Complex? Should reference be provided at four or five different places? Are there ways we can think about coordinating reference and instruction across the libraries? How can we identify people who are lost online and help them where they are?

Outcomes will be very much a part of informing a very serious set of decisions-making processes that will be going on for the next decade. It's best to have LAUC-B acting jointly on these issues of central importance, and thus Penny favors having representation to and from the library's standing committees in order to maintain liaison with their memberships and the wider staff. Penny will be appointing a task force to study public service in the Doe-Moffitt libraries, which will work in alignment with the LAUC-B Task Force.

Marianne Constable likes the process used in working on the UG Task Force Report; that was a group jointly chaired by a representative of the faculty and of the library.

Penny believes a discussion can be focussed more easily if we are working with data. Relevant data for public service includes circulation and reference statistics. Does data differ between units? We expect to raise questions, look at what we are doing and what others are thinking and doing.

The Task Force thanked Penny for sharing her vision of how we may work to accomplish our goals.

Bill Whitson will share with us an article he published in the Journal of Academic Librarianship on the definition of reference service in the Berkeley Library.

Nensi Brailo suggested that one source of useful data would be to query our student employees, who are both employees of and users of the library. Involving them in our discussions may cause them to be more aware of the importance of the public service they provide. Of the 77 hours/week Main Circulation is open during the regular semester, it is staffed solely by student employees 45% of the time.

Re data about our users: we will begin to gather existing data. It is possible that the records of discussions which led to the adoption of the Library's Primary Clientele policy may contain relevant data re services provided to our users.

Bill offered to make a list of services we provide and the level of staff who provide them. This may help us to decide what kind of data is relevant.

The group set the following dates for future meetings:

Th      Aug 6   1:30 - 3:30

Th      Aug 20   "

Th      Sept 10  "

Th      Sept 24  "

TH      Oct 8    "

Th      Oct 22   "