Collaborative Librarianship, Vol 3, No 1 (2011)

Who is Sitting at the Reference Desk?: The Ever-Changing Concept of Staffing the Reference Desk at the Bio-Medical Library

Melissa K. Aho, Anne M. Beschnett, Emily Y. Reimer

Abstract


Providing excellent reference service at the University of Minnesota’s Bio-Medical Library has always been a source of pride and a goal to those of us who work at the reference desk. With tightening budgets and shrinking staff numbers, who works at the reference desk is drastically changing. The Bio-Medical Library has always been in a unique position to offer the opportunity of working at the reference desk to staff members across all departments, including those who at other libraries would not normally be given the option to staff the desk. From circulation staff to technical services staff to our fee-based services staff (InfoNOW) to our current project of training a few undergraduate student workers, the Bio-Medical Library staff has created a unique reference desk environment. This article will discuss the many different ways the Bio-Medical Library keeps the reference desk functioning with its unique and multi-departmental staff.

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