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Saturday, November 7 • 10:45am - 11:15am
This Isn’t Your Slightly-Older Sister’s Library: Presenting an Innovative Approach for In-Library Experiences

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The James Branch Cabell Library at Virginia Commonwealth University created a new model for providing in-library personalized services that only faintly resembles previous approaches of circulation, reference and media desks. By removing all laptop and much equipment circulation to automated kiosks and a vending machine, and after acknowledging that monograph circulation peaked several years ago and continues to decline, we’ve empowered and trained staff Information Associates to focus on the user’s experience and research needs, rather than on library functions. New position descriptions were created that demanded creative and analytical approaches for working with users as appropriate, and in-depth training on a operationalized READ (Reference Effort Assessment Data) scale allows for quick triage of user needs and on-demand scheduling of librarian consultations was provided. In addition to these significant changes in our in-library service model, we used the opportunity presented by a major building program to create a physical space for these services not yet seen in academic libraries. Gone is the monolithic service desk. Instead, we have created four small, single-staff kiosks that invites shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration between peers, rather than a face-to-face encounter. Attendees will learn about the urgent needs to re-imagine their service models in light of the automation options for inventory that hampers our ability to focus on the user’s experience and needs. Floorplans, mock-ups and drawings of our new service area and kiosks will be distributed.

avatar for Dennis Clark

Dennis Clark

Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning, Virginia Commonwealth University
Service models for academic libraries

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