Discussion: Reference Services for Digital Natives

ACRL/NY User Experience Discussion Group
“Meet and Greet”
November 20, 2012
Mina Rees Library, CUNY Graduate Center
5:00pm-6:30pm

Co-Chairs: Mark Aaron Polger (CSI, CUNY) and Albert Tablante (ASA College)
Attendance: Karen Erani (independent), Starr Hoffman (U. of North Texas), Evan Frankl (Boricua College), Lily Rozaklis (Drexel University) , Zinnat Sultana (St. John’s University), Lisa Ryan (LIM College), Sue Hunter (Pace University), Benjamin Franz (Medgar Evers, CUNY), Judi Zupnick (independent), Linda Seckelson (The Met), Janice Dunham (John Jay College, CUNY), Cynthia McKeich (virtual- via Seneca College in Toronto, Canada)

Topic: How Do We Provide Reference Service to Digital Natives?
Agenda
Introduction of ourselves
Issues Discussed
1. Orientation of reference desk (size, shape, location, height)
o Desk separates us from students (i.e. barrier)
o Furniture is often clunky
o Should we remove it?
o Collaborative workstations need further assessment
o Huge semi-circle?
o Does furniture affect the user experience?
o Wireless keyboards, mouse, swivel screens
o Large vs. small
o Eye-level or raised?
o Do we stand or sit down?
2. Services offered
3. Future of Reference Service

o Should reference desk be opened when library is opened or only part of the time?
o Types of questions asked (textbooks, logins, physical location of stacks, library catalog, etc)
o Who staffs the desk?
o Librarians or paraprofessionals or LIS students or I.T. staff?

4. Removal of reference desk and its implications (Queens College and Drexel University)

5. Roving reference service
o Where to do it?
o How to promote it?
o How do we measure its effectiveness?

6. Research Consultations as an alternative to reference services
o Individualized and more flexible
o Who staffs the desk and what types of questions are asked there?

7. Students can’t search
o Library catalog is confusing and not user friendly.
o Students think in keywords
o Millennials/Digital Natives are self-directed.
o Librarians should take advantage of a “teaching moment”
o We need to open their minds that not everything is online.

8. Digital natives resist the “teaching moments” of librarians. They think they know how to search independently.

9. Project Information Literacy (http://projectinfolit.org)- Millennials entering the workplace. Young white collar professionals lack research experiences. They think everything is on Google.

10. Assessment
o How?
o What?
o When?
o Where?

11. Does Library Instruction affect OR impact reference desk questions?

12. Creating LibGuides or Library instruction as a response to reference questions

13. Information Literacy/Library instruction
o One shot vs. for-credit (full semester) classes
o Class is not practical until there is an assignment

14. Library tour and welcome booklet
o Do we tailor the tour to respond to reference desk questions?

15. Embedded Reference Services (Roving Reference) in residence halls, academic departments, Librarian in-residence halls, Librarians walk around the library
o Need to determine how many hours per week
o Needs further preliminary research and assessment

16. Questions (technical, quick, in-depth)

17. Is Library opened beyond reference desk?
o Philosophically, the reference desk service ends when the library closes.

18. How do we communicate to our adjunct librarians so they are in the loop?
o Email, blog, wiki, etc.

19. Brand yourself
o Make yourself memorable
o Give yourself a distinct visual identity so the user always has a memorable and positive experience.

Meeting concluded at 6:30pm.

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