Sunday, December 02, 2007

Question about IM Reference

Big Research Library handles the IM reference for the whole library system. Library X doesn't do IM reference. A few times now, I've gotten calls from Big Research Library to alert me of stuff going on in Library X that were submitted through IM reference. It could be temperature problems, suspicious person walking around, or something annoying happening on a lower floor like someone aggressively collecting signatures for a petition. The grad reference assistant calls us and relays the message. The Library X desk asst relays the message to staff. And staff tries to figure out what to do.

It seems like there should be something in place to cut out this circuitous communication. Like the petition thing, I could've found out more information if I'd been directly in contact with the students making the complaint. I could've found out if the petitioner was collecting signatures for some UZ thing or something political outside UZ. I would've asked exactly how the signatures were being collected, how many people were collecting signatures, etc. But the ref asst didn't have any more information.

By the time I went down to find the petitioners, they were on their way upstairs. At least I think so. The desk students told me two people with a lot of clipboards left while I was searching the building. No big deal, but I wonder if something better could be in place to relay information in these situations.

Is this an issue for other IM refs? Are other IM reference desks alerted to library problems outside their location and asked for assistance?

I don't want the students to stop alerting IM ref of these problems because I think if told to call or go physically to the local circ desk, that the problem won't be reported, and I do want to know about these problems, but I also want to be able to get as much info as possible.

So I'd be really interested if anyone else has anything in place for this sort of dilemma. Maybe just having the grad ref student call the main desk and report the IMs to whoever picks up is best, but I feel like this could be set up better.




Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

I'm sad that no one commented on this.

3:10 AM, December 31, 2007  

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