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Report an Interview with a Librarian - Library & Info. Science discipline
Paper: Interview with a Librarian
For this paper you should conduct a face-to-face interview--or, failing that, a phone interview--with a reference librarian who is also responsible for reference collection development and reference collection maintenance (including weeding) in a good academic, special, or large public library. Ideally this person would also be Head of Reference, but need not be. You should obtain as much information as possible about the following questions:
Does the library offer a face-to-face/physical desk to its readers? If so, how many hours a week is the face-to-face reference desk staffed?
What is the breakdown of hours in days (for example, 8:30-5), nights (for example, 7-10 M-Th), and weekends (for example, 1-5 Saturday, closed Sunday)?
If live electronic reference is available (e.g., chat, instant messaging, text/SMS messaging), what are its hours? Do live electronic reference hours extend beyond the face-to-face reference desk hours? If they do not do live electronic reference, why don't they?
How many hours a week does each librarian staff the desk?
How many hours do paraprofessionals each staff the desk?
Do volunteers staff the desk at all?
What is the rationale for the allotment of hours by type of employee?
How many librarians are on duty at a time?
Do they combine paraprofessional and professional staff for double staffing at certain times?
Are there times when only a paraprofessional is on duty? If so, does this ever create problems in terms of the quality of reference service provided?
Do the librarians conduct information literacy (aka research education or bibliographic instruction) sessions?
Orientation tours? If so, whom do they serve, how are the sessions arranged (faculty member calls or emails a librarian, the library schedules them each term/month, etc.), how long do they last, and how do users find out about them?
Of the different kinds of reference and instruction services his/her library provides such as one-on-one face-to-face, email, phone, voice-mail, snail-mail, live electronic (chat, IM, text/SMS), large-group, classroom, and so on, which does he/she feel is most effective? Least effective? Why?
Does the library keep statistics on the number and kinds of questions asked, as well as how the question comes in (e.g., phone, in-person, live chat)? If so, what trends has the librarian noticed over the course of the time he/she has been employed there? For example, are there currently fewer or more questions than in the past? More technical/computer-related than before? More email or phone than live (whether face-to-face or chat/IM/text)?
How and by whom (if at all) is the quality of reference service assessed at this library?
COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT AND COLLECTION MAINTENANCE:
What criteria does he/she use for selecting books and journals for the reference collection and why? e-resources?
What does he/she do to control costs?
How does he/she handle lost or missing books and requests for special purchases from patrons?
How often is weeding of the reference collection done, what are the criteria for what gets weeded, and who actually pulls the books and transfers or discards them? How does he/she feel about discarding (or sending to stacks or to remote storage) paper or microform reference sources once online access to the same material has been secured?
Is there currently a lot of duplication between paper or microform reference material and e-resource equivalents in his/her collection?
Your writeup of the results of your interview should be approximately 2500 words or 10 pages double-spaced. Please include some thoughtful reflections on your impressions concerning this interview as a Conclusion to your paper. For example, what did you learn that you found valuable to you as a future library professional?
You should upload your assignment as a Word document.
Paper: Interview with a Librarian
For this paper you should conduct a face-to-face interview--or, failing that, a phone interview--with a reference librarian who is also responsible for reference collection development and reference collection maintenance (including weeding) in a good academic, special, or large public library. Ideally this person would also be Head of Reference, but need not be.