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Tough Times, Tough Decisions

Tough Times, Tough Decisions

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Tough Times, Tough Decisions

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  1. Tough Times, Tough Decisions Streamlining, studying and experimenting to save $ and better serve customers

  2. Presenters Toni Anaya, Materials Access Team Wendy Begay, Materials Access Team Robyn Huff-Eibl, Materials Access Team

  3. Abstract In the past several years, circulation and shelving statistics as well as the usage of print reserves have declined. At the University of Arizona Libraries, we are moving from a traditional mediated service environment towards increased user self-sufficiency, where the basic circulation transactions become unmediated. Come learn how we have implemented open holds, reserves, self check-in, streaming audio and soon streaming video. Learn how we have consolidated services into a single desk, the challenges we faced and competencies required to create a new future for your circulation staff.

  4. User Self-Sufficiency • Developed a vision (2002) for non-mediated services and increased user self-sufficiency, allowing staff to spend more time assisting customers with complicated information questions • Questioned cost-benefit of keeping items behind “counters” vs. costs to continue staffing multiple service sites • Increased focus on providing information and referral (reference) • Strategic Project Team (FINL 2003-2005) officially moved circulation staff into this work

  5. Campus and Library budget cuts forced MAT to consolidate libraries and service desks Staff from 3 branches, Architecture, Music and Center for Creative Photography, were consolidated (2003) Closed Architecture Library; consolidated material and services into Music Library, creating a Fine Arts Library Hours at 2 of the 3 branch libraries were reduced Paging services were offered during reduced hours which increased overall access to material Merging Service Desks

  6. Merging Service Desks • Science-Engineering Library (2005): 3 service points (Reference, Circulation and Photocopy) merged into one service desk staffed solely by circulation staff and student assistants • Used one-time funds to demolish 3 existing desks and install 1 new service desk

  7. Self-Service Holds and Reserves

  8. Express Check-Out

  9. Implementation of “One Desk”Science-Engineering Library

  10. Policies Supporting User Self-Sufficiency • After analyzing reasons why users were accruing small fines, we developed new circulation and reserve policies to help reduce this work (2003) • Developed innovative unmediated services (2003-2005) • placed materials such as holds, CDs, reserves, and videos in the general stacks • enabled videos to be checked out on Express Check machines • promoted streaming audio to replace CDs on reserve

  11. Policies Supporting User Self-Sufficiency • Created strategic projects to address team processes: • promoted usage of our Express Checkout machines • conducted a cost analysis of hiring and training shelving employees to stabilize the workforce and reduce costs • addressed the customer's “biggest” problem of not finding material in the library

  12. Customer Reactions • Change is never easy but overall positive reactions • In 3 short years, Self-Check usage has increased on average from 20% of total circulation to 75% • Customers love not having to wait in line for their holds and reserve books • Users like open media; average loss rate of 5 DVD’s per month but still cheaper than staffing a separate service desk • Piloting streaming video this Fall with 5 Faculty who have items on reserve

  13. Mediated vs. Non-mediated

  14. How did Circulation Staff begin providing Reference? • Strategic Project Team (FINL) formed to investigate all information & referral services, assess the quality of these services and find a way to provide services of the same or higher quality for less money • Data of actual questions revealed 90% of reference questions were appropriate for staff to answer • All circulation staff are at a high level, Library Specialist (similar to a Library Assistant IV or V elsewhere) • Finished a re-grading study; new titles and position descriptions implemented April 2006; new titles i.e. Library Information Associate

  15. Reference Staffing Pilot-Fall 2004 • Staff attend 15+ training sessions, ranging from searching the catalog and indexes, software training such as Excel, Scanning and CD burning to specialized reference training such as Chemistry, Patents, and Astronomy • Staff must meet library quality standard: 100% of staff providing Information and Referral will receive 90% or higher on reference training • Librarians participate as reviewers on staff developmental reviews (performance reviews)

  16. Reference Staffing Pilot-Fall 2004 • Staff shadow science librarians mid-August to mid-October • Librarians shadow staff mi-October to end of November • Staff work solo December 1st • Librarians formally observe staff December–February, documentation submitted as part of their developmental reviews • Implemented online “referral” system to support the 20% of questions needing a subject librarian • No customer complaints due to changing level of staffing at the desks • 3 rounds of data collection over two years continue to support this level of staffing

  17. Examples of Competencies Required • Circulation/Fines • Customer Service, Fines/Billing, Laptop knowledge • Photocopy Services • Cash handling and credit card functions • Basic Reference • Reference Interview process • Index Searching in Academic Search Premiere • Advanced Reference • Subject specific training such as Chemistry, Astronomy, Patents, Music, Art & Architecture • Hardware/Software • Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Scanning, CD Burning

  18. Challenges • Large number of training sessions in a short time period • Each site requires more in-depth subject training • Standards Enforced: shadowed, observed and feedback from librarians • Referral system (training, feedback and updates) • Absorbed extra desk hours by re-allocation of circulation work • Converted student wages to hire half-time staff devoted to working the desk, allowing us to provide higher level service (2004) • Some staff work shifted to student workers (coordination of shelving activities)

  19. The Future • Continue to respond to customer feedback • LibQual+ • Library Report Card comments • Moving away from the concept of traditional Circulation Services, focusing more on providing Information and Referral • “One Stop” for customers

  20. The Future • Continue working out the glitches and increasing the amount of unmediated transactions through self-service • Turned over billing fees to Bursar and Collection Agency • Circulation of laptops • Continue exploring and implementing “My Library” services • E-Commerce for paying fees (July 2006) • Self Check-out and Self Check-in • Streaming Video for Course Reserves (Fall 2006)