Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Access Services Conference in Atlanta

November 13-14, 2014, I attended the Access Services Conference: Unlocking the 21st Century Library at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in Atlanta.  This annual conference is organized by staff from libraries in Georgia. The attendees are mainly Access Services staff from academic libraries in the US with a spattering of public and international attendees.

Trevor A. Dawes, 2013-14 President of ACRL, was the key note speaker and addressed the future of Access Services.  With trends shifting more and more towards electronic products and library as place, he advocated rethinking the roles of librarians and used the University of Kansas Libraries User-Focused Organization Structure and the 2CUL partnership between Columbia and Cornell as examples of structures providing new roles for librarians. Skills he discussed as being needed for future success in the profession include project management, assessment, communication and marketing, instructional design, digital information management, data analytics and visualization, and programming.

I attended sessions on participatory management, customer service, emergency preparedness, staff orientation, open educational resources, marketing library services, developing a space plan, floating collections, and patron driven access services.  Ideas gained from these sessions to consider here include:
  •  Keeping lists of everything to which we say no and using them to reconsider services and policies.
  • Circulating patron comfort items things like umbrellas and blankets.
  • Giving out earplugs to use while studying.
  • Providing document delivery for undergraduates.
  • Having a "print for free" day each semester.
  • Having bullhorns available to use in emergency situations and power outage.
  • When planning department orientations, ask the audience to describe what the department providing the orientation does, how they have interacted with the department in the past, and what questions they have. Then ask the staff in the department providing the orientation to explain the department as if they were explaining it to their mothers, to explain how the department interacts with other departments, and to discuss what the department staff wishes people outside of the department knew about them.
  • Expanding library staff orientation to areas outside of the library…to the TRC, MRC, and EUC for example. 
  • Providing technology equipment petting zoos for library staff and student employees.
  • Providing “table share” signs that patrons can use to designate whether they are open to sharing tables with others.
  • Having a space usage agreement form for outside groups wanting to use library space for promotions or events.  The form should outline policies and serve as an empowerment tool for staff in explaining why certain spaces are not appropriate for some activities. 

The session I attended on patron driven access services was provided by staff at the University of Michigan library where napping stations were provided during exams recently.  The library will not be offering them again as it turns out that the building is not designated for sleeping according to the campus fire and safety inspector. Instead the stations will be offered in a properly designated building, and the library is considering a relaxation zone where students can kick back and play with no studying allowed. 

1 comment:

Steve Cramer said...

Interesting ideas, thank you for sharing, Cathy.