An interview was conducted to have more information about the reference practices at the Graduate Library- Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL)
How do you do reference?
We provide reference services to our users through live chats, phones and reference interviews by our librarians and grad students who receive the students’ questions while on the reference desk in front of the library entrance. these services vary in terms of time; in average a face to face interview between 5 to 10 minutes while a virtual interview may take 15 to 30 minutes. This also depends on the number of patrons waiting to be served and if the librarian can dedicate an extended time for the reference. It is also worth mentioning that our user dot includes students only, as we do also serve the public users who visit our library.
How do you operate the reference desk?
we have adopted a policy for our reference desk to be opened whenever the library is opened. Shift schedule varies per each librarians depending on their workload and over responsibilities; some librarians do 5 hours per week while others may only do 1 to 2 hours only. We are quite flexible in this regards. Also, we depend on graduate students to support in this task. The librarians are also able to work on some of their tasks while on the reference desk like updating subject guides and finalizing instructional sessions. However, No personal work is to be carried on while on the reference desk. Librarians should have their full attention to the users when they come for questions.
What else you want to add about the reference Liberians?
We have some general reference librarians but mostly subject librarians specialized in certain subjects. When a user asks for specific questions that need a detailed answer from a specialist, the available librarian will try to guide them as much as possible. If more details are needed then they can schedule an appointment with the subject librarian. We will soon carry out a system to allow us to see when a librarian is free for reference questions even if it’s not their shift and how soon they can accommodate a reference interview. This system will facilitate the reference process greatly.