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The Hangout Factor

Last Friday, August 7, 2015, Sha Towers and I presented our poster “The ‘Hangout Factor’ in Library Liaison Work: An Exploration” at the Cross Timbers Library Collaborative 2015 Conference. You can find our poster here.

We got some great feedback from the conference attendees, which was nice to hear, since we’ve been kicking around this idea for a long while now. People recognized along with us the importance of the social and informal aspects of library liaison work and liked our proposals about reporting and assessing this type of activity.

Coming up – academic identity presentation

On Saturday, April 11, 2015, two colleagues and I will be presenting on “Everything you need to know about your academic identity” at the Women in the Academy conference at Baylor. We’ve got a research guide to go along with the talk currently in the works and hopefully it’s going to be a helpful, practical workshop for the women graduate students in attendance.

Teaching With Twitter

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The LITA BIGWIG Showcase will be happening at ALA this year on Monday, June 28, 2010 from 10:30am to Noon at the Renaissance Washington Grand BR South/Central.

Come join us for some great discussions!

Here are the topics and presenters:

Libraries MUST Have A New Electronic Content Access and Distribution Infrastructure (and there is hope)!
Michael Porter
User Research on a Shoestring
Erin White and Susan Teague-Rector
Information Overload & Personal Information Management
Bohyun Kim
iPad and Tablet computers
David Lee King
Teaching with Twitter
Ellen Filgo
Qrcodes & Mobile Knowledge Networks
Bonnie Rosalen

ALA Annual 2008 Summary

Overall this ALA annual conference was one of the best ALA conferences I’ve ever been to (then again, I’ve only been to Midwinter’s before this, so there was much more interesting programming this time).  I met a lot of interesting people doing some great things at their library and with technology, had some good (!) committee meetings, and networked, networked, networked.

My far and away favorite session was the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase, which was presented in a novel format – the panel of folks presented their material online a week or so before ALA started, mentioned briefly what it was about at the beginning of the meeting and then invited folks to come find them to chat.  People (way too many for the size of the room!) gathered around tables to chat about the different topics, which included APIs, LibGuides, OpenID, Citation Bookmarking Tools, etc. – all these topics having been chosen by the BIGWIG user community. I loved the fact that the session was on cutting edge topics, rather than having been chosen by a committee up to a year before. Kudos, BIGWIG planners!

The other big thing I did at ALA was take on the informal role as Libraryh3lp evangelist! In every session I went to (and once when I was just sitting in the convention center lobby checking my email on the free wifi) people wanted to know about this great open source chat reference software from Pam Sessoms at UNC. We implemented it back in early April and it truly helped our reference staff deal with the increasing volume of chat reference questions we’ve been inundated with. Plus, there are lots more cool features! But that deserves it’s own blog entry, to come in the near future.

ALA 2008: Please talk to strangers online

Please talk to strangers online: spreading trust in Virtual Reference
Sponsored by RUSA MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee

Moderator: Caleb Tucker-Raymond, Oregon Statewide Digital Reference Project Coordinator, Multnomah County Library (Oregon)
Panelists: Bill Pardue, Virtual Services Librarian, Arlington Heights Memorial Library (Illinois), Karen Docherty, Ask a Librarian Coordinator, Maricopa Community Colleges (Arizona), Vince Mariner, AccessPA Virtual Reference Coordinator, Ask Here PA (Pennsylvania)

Opening questions:
Why do we ask information from patrons, but not tell them about ourselves?
What opportunities does trust provide?
What are the consequences of a lack of trust?
What encourages trust?

He talked about inter-library trust in cooperative VR situations.

Problem: the greedy librarian syndrome (i.e. only my librarians can help my patrons) having this mindset can limit your VR coverage. To overcome this problem, we need to decide to trust a cooperative VR service.

How do we facilitate trust?

  • make our information easily findable
  • Question Point offers local policy pages, and other systems should build this, perhaps a wiki?
  • What do include: hours, maps, circ info, how to get/replace a card, deep links on our site, ILL, etc.
  • remember that this is an iterative process – this info is never “finished”
  • include event updates, modify it often
  • include staff only information (behind a password) like database info and passwords – consider the VR staff like another employee
  • include local community information i.e.
  • referral information
  • how your policies might be different – i.e. if you charge for ILL
  • give feedback to other libraries on their policy pages, what else needs to be included?
  • Transcript Review/Quality Control
  • everyone benefits from quality control, and it makes our patrons trust us more when they are followed up

Bill’s bottom line: trust hinges on shared values and community.

Response: as well as the “greedy librarian syndrome” we also have the “virtual reference superstar syndrome” – no one else can answer these questions better than me. we also need better features and better communication from our vendors, as well as due diligence with the technology we already have.

Karen also spoke about librarians trusting librarians, specifically how it’s working for them at Maricopa community colleges.

VR is reliant upon relationships and trust, not just practices and procedures.

Why does trust matter?

  • With it you can extend your services
  • your service quality can go up
  • efficiency
  • you learn from other librarians

What are the challenges in trusting other librarians?

  • you never see them
  • you have no control over them
  • “how could they possibly know about our…”
  • “I don’t like the way they…”

At Maricopa, they have decided to let others answer their questions (it cut their wait times in half), but have not yet committed to answering other libraries’ questions in the Question Point 24/7 cooperative service.

What it comes down to for Karen is communication, training, central coordination, transcript review, committing to best practices (i.e. RUSA guidelines)

Response: Vince had done some studies which showed that in regards to wait times, he actually found that there was higher user satisfaction if a session was longer than if the wait time was shorter.

Vince talked about trust between patrons and librarians.

Why do patrons actually trust us?

  • fear of failure/motivation to succeed
  • to create time for other things in their lives
  • it’s anonymous
  • they have a general information need
  • they are hopelessly lost – (because they are hopelessly lost, they are willing to waive the “don’t talk to strangers online” rule)

Some challenges faced by the patrons:

  • obtaining answers to local/account related questions (something that Bill addressed)
  • understanding the service – we need to present it well on our websites
  • using the service – usually technology related

Some challenges faced by the staff:

  • other librarians/libraries
  • non-like type patrons – serving K-12 if you are at an academic library, etc.
  • not being able to answer the question

For Vince, the key is to set expectations, meet them and try to exceed them. How do we build and maintain trust? Set expectations, provide A+ service (follow best practices, use shared resources), share goals, quality assurance and customer surveys.

Overall, while there were some very good points made, I felt that this panel could have focused more on the patron-librarian trust relationship. It was also very QuestionPoint heavy. At one point, Caleb, I think it was, polled the audience and more than half weren’t using QuestionPoint. While many of these points do translate to any software or service you might use, having a variety of perspectives on the topic might have been helpful. Also, I would also have liked to hear a perspective on the topic from a single-institution service, rather than all cooperative VR services.