Friday, February 6, 2015

The Librarian Brigade

You’ve seen them wandering around the computer lab, stepping into the silent study room, and walking down the aisles between the bookshelves. Who are they? They’re the Librarian Brigade!
(Okay, maybe that’s not really what we’re called but wouldn’t that be a good name for a gang of librarian superheroes?!?)

We actually call this service Roving Reference. The idea behind it is to make sure that we are providing the best possible service to everyone in the library. We also want to make sure that the library is a comfortable and inviting place where you can get work done.

Why do we rove? Well, without getting too librarian nerdy on you, I’ll give a couple of reasons. First, we want to remove any barriers between us and any library users. Some library users are a little reluctant to ask for help (not you, of course, since you’re reading our fantastic library blog!). They think they may be interrupting us or bothering us, or they may just feel a little shy about asking someone a question. It can be a little intimidating to go up to a stranger and ask them questions about things you feel like you should know how to do. By leaving the desk and going to where the users are, we meet them in their space and remove some of that intimidation factor.

Another reason for roving is to help make sure that the library remains a great place to study and get work done. We have different noise level zones in the building, so when we rove, we make sure that the silent study room is actually silent and that any groups in the yellow zone on the second floor aren’t getting too excited about what they’re studying and disturbing others. Plus, if we find that a group of people is being a little noisier than they should be, we can direct them to a study room or give them a “gentle reminder” to be respectful to others.

A third reason for roving is to help anyone lost in the bookshelves. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost on the way to finding a resource, especially if you’re not familiar with the way items are shelved here at Thigpen. If a roving librarian sees someone who looks like he needs a little help, then we can step in and help her find what he’s looking for.

Finally, it also gives the librarians a little exercise, which never hurts anyone who sits at a computer for a good part of the workday!

So, the next time you see a librarian wandering around, you will know what she is doing.  And, if you ever think of a better name for our librarian superhero gang, leave us a comment here!

-Amber McKee

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