The Thomas G. Carpenter Library works with a model of Reference service that is fairly traditional in most senses. The Reference Desk is staffed with a combination of professional librarians and para-professionals a set number of hours per week. When the current library facility was planned, the emphasis was on making more and more computers available to library patrons and to place staff near the computers in order to facilitate service provision. That resulted in a large lab of 129 workstations with a student assistant desk nearby and a smaller lab of 40 workstations with the reference/documents service desk nearby. Subsequent shifts in OPS funding necessitated closing the student desk which in turn resulted in increased traffic at the reference/documents desk. Consequently, reference/documents staff frequently find themselves helping patrons with printing and computer issues instead of focusing on instruction and reference. A pilot project which ran from July through December 2010 examined offering a collaborative approach to service at the former student desk utilizing both reference staff and ITS staff. One of the offshoots of this project is the reexamination of the current reference model with an eye toward better serving the library’s clientele while making more efficient use of available staff. This report reviews the results of the pilot project, surveys available library literature related to service issues, and suggests alternatives that could improve service efficiency.
Alderman, Jim, "Toward a New Service Model" (2011). Library Commons Project. 1.