Presentation on theme: "Working the ask a librarian desk Thoughts on Trying to Be Useful or What am I supposed to do now?!"— Presentation transcript:
Working the ask a librarian desk Thoughts on Trying to Be Useful or What am I supposed to do now?!
Useful mindsets And principles Or It’s pretty hard to go wrong With these
Your problem is my problem. Jan. ‘08 -- Ken Venet, Barry University
“Looking things up and finding things out” is fundamentally a pleasurable activity.
A chat is a conversation. March ‘08 -- Jan G., Palm Beach County Library
Good will and a sense of humor can foster cooperation and set an optimistic tone. Jan. ’08 -- Louis Rosen, Ask A Librarian staff Feb. ‘08 -- Neil Linger, Univ. College Library at BCC
As a librarian, you have the ability— and the responsibility—to keep the chat moving with clarity and focus. Pleasantly guide the chat in the direction of answering the core questions, even if the patron “wanders” a bit. Engaging in cordial exchanges to establish rapport and foster comfort in the session is often a big plus! Relax, be yourself, and connect with the patron. But remember:
You don’t have to be a technology genius. Make the best use you can of the software, but don’t think you must use every feature in order to be of help.
Some chats will teach you something new, factual or procedural. Enjoy the adventure and share your enthusiasm with the patron.
It isn’t over when it’s over. In some way, try to prepare the patron for his future information gathering. “Power to the patron!”
Just do the best you can. You won’t always be able to find the answer. You won’t always think of the most efficient strategies. You won’t always make best use of the service’s software and capabilities. You can always make a reasonable effort.
Practical advice You’ve probably Already thought of Or “There’s no mystery to this!
Get physically comfortable.
Keep AAL materials at hand. Also good to have on hand: a list of the FEL databases, and frequently used ready reference print sources.
Be informed about AAL days, hours, etc. Be able to explain and to discuss the service.
Open an extra Web browser to a search engine, so it’s ready to use in an instant.
Try to make contact with other librarians on the desk. If you can find out something about their special knowledge, do so. (We can all help each other.)
Read the question before accepting a patron. It takes only a few seconds to read, take a deep breath, and “center yourself.” It can help you move confidently and pleasurably into the chat.
Some things I’ve learned Or “You call these Techniques?!”
Make the most of your own knowledge and strengths. April ‘08 -- Ellen Book, Miami Dade Public Library System
Clarify the question. Use your experience and intuition to tease out the patron’s actual meaning.
Ascertain relevant circumstances and limitations.
Be yourself and be honest.
Let the patron know you really do want to help.
Promote Ask A Librarian and participating libraries, especially the patron’s local public or academic library.