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Tiered Reference Project: Library Staff Members and Professional Librarians in Pursuit of Excellence Shahla Bahavar, Ph.D. Assistant Reference Coordinator,

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Presentation on theme: "Tiered Reference Project: Library Staff Members and Professional Librarians in Pursuit of Excellence Shahla Bahavar, Ph.D. Assistant Reference Coordinator,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Tiered Reference Project: Library Staff Members and Professional Librarians in Pursuit of Excellence Shahla Bahavar, Ph.D. Assistant Reference Coordinator, USC Libraries Sophie Lesinska, Ph.D. Reference/Instruction Librarian, USC Libraries

2 Tiered Reference: Definition Tiered reference provides a structure for resolving reference questions efficiently while maintaining high quality service for all variety of inquiries. The idea of referral is central to a tiered reference philosophy. Tiered reference training provides baseline knowledge in resources and gives reference providers the skills they need to identify when, where and how to refer questions.

3 Tiered Reference: Definition Tiered reference provides a structure for resolving reference questions efficiently while maintaining high quality service for all variety of inquiries. The idea of referral is central to a tiered reference philosophy. Tiered reference training provides baseline knowledge in resources and gives reference providers the skills they need to identify when, where and how to refer questions.

4 Historical and Institutional Context Nearly twenty branch libraries/service points on USC main campus: different practices and cultures Realignment of the USC library system in 2003 launches efforts to assure that all service points adhere to a shared set of customer service values and practices Three Interdisciplinary Research Centers with corresponding Teams created: Arts and Humanities, Science and Engineering, Social Sciences

5 Tiered Reference Project: Goals To involve staff and students in providing reference services To create structured reference training with shared learning outcomes for the entire library system To assure the high quality of information and reference services offered at all service points

6 Leavey Library Information Commons: A Model of Tiered Service Since 1994 USC has offered high quality tiered reference services in Leavey Library Information Commons Unique training program designed by Shahla Bahavar, USC Libraries Assistant Reference Coordinator Student Navigation Assistants, Information Commons Staff, Research Librarians

7 Reference Tiers Specialized consultations Advanced reference questions Basic reference questions, directional questions, computing questions

8 Tiered Reference Project Team Formed 2004 Membership: USC Libraries Reference Coordinator, USC Libraries Assistant Coordinator, three reference librarians representing three different Interdisciplinary teams, three staff members In 2005 new staff members and librarians recruited Mandate: create structured Tiered Reference training

9 Module 1: Baseline Knowledge of Public Services Online Tutorials: USC Web Overview Advanced HOMER (USC online catalog) Scholars Portal (USC federated search tool) Referrals Implementation: Spring 2005 Six in-person sessions Over fifty attendees Currently library managers include tutorials as required student training material Implemented Spring 2005

10 Tutorials on USC Libraries Reference Web

11 Module 2: Baseline Knowledge of Reference Services Online tutorials Reference Interview (digital movie to be soon uploaded to USC Libraries Reference Web) Interpreting Citations (online tutorial) 5 in-person sessions 94 attendees Implemented Fall 2005

12 Module 3: Baseline Knowledge of USC Electronic Resources

13 Module 3: Baseline Knowledge of Electronic Resources Online Reference Resources Full-text Resources Searching Databases Finding Dissertations Under development Projected implementation: Fall 2006

14 Training Assessment The online survey’s goal is to improve the Tiered Reference training program and recommend changes for the further training sessions. Survey Sections: I. Reference Training: General Orientation II. Reference Training: Reference Interview, Referral Process III. Reference Training: Electronic Resources, Online Catalogs IV. What method of training would work the best for you? Available in Spring 2006

15 Lessons Learned Tutorial Software: Viewlet, Camtasia Tracking student progress: online tests Recruiting student workers as a film crew Gaining institutional buy-in: rotating membership, in-person classes, gathering feedback Result: staff empowerment, improvement of customer service and motivation

16 Module 4: Key Specialized Resources Subject specialists currently experiment with tutorial software The project is gaining institutional buy-in Development plans: Fall 2006


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