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Nicole B. Cignoli - Capstone Portfolio

Southern Connecticut State University

ILS 561 Online Fall 2008


 Your municipal library has gotten a reputation for having a very fine reference section—in regard to both resources and librarians. The result has been that the email and telephone reference services are increasingly used by patrons from the town and also from outside of town. It has become clear in the last year that more personnel is needed to provide timely answers to peoples’ questions.


You are the head of the reference department, and it is your job to convince the Director that a new position must be established immediately if the high caliber of reference service is to continue.


How will you go about convincing your Director that another person is needed? 


As head of the reference department, I would have instituted a question log divided by hour and by types of questions such as:  directional, 0-5 minutes, 5+ minutes, phone, printers, and office supplies. The reference librarians place a tick for each time the question occurs per hour. In addition, the head of the department has access to the “Ask a Librarian” email account. I would keep a separate log to capture volume of questions, response times, and quality of the responses. For both telephone and email questions, I would conduct post-reference service evaluations. In my experience, telephone service evaluations provide empirical support to the statistical evidence. I would create a list of questions to evaluate service. By combining the statistical data with the personal evaluations, I would present my findings to the Director, the Board of Directors, and ultimately the Municipal government to support hiring another reference librarian. Unfortunately, this process is time consuming and there may be a service gap from the time of need to the actual position approval and hiring. This presentation will also prepare the Director and Board of Directors for this issue.

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