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Library Assessment Conference

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Marissa Ball

on 10 September 2013

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Transcript of Library Assessment Conference

Telling the Whole Story:
a mixed-methods approach to assessing
roaming reference services

Consuella Askew, Assoc. Dean, Public Services
Marissa Ball, Emerging Technologies Librarian
Library Assessment Conference
Charlottesville, VA
October 28, 2012

FIU at a Glance
...More FIU
Reference Services @ FIU
...More About the Libraries
What does it all mean?
large, urban, public university
one of the 25 largest public universities in the country
180+ doctoral/masters programs
nearly 50,000 students (approx. 80% are undergraduate)
over $100million in University Research Expenditures; Carnegi Classification of Research University/High Research Activity
our existing services included face-to-face services of the traditional reference desk, research consultations, and virtual/distance services (SMS/text, email, chat, phone, online instruction)
students are in the library, but prefer not to seek out assistance
library use is still typically very "traditional"
students are satisfied with the assistance they receive when they are helped
if we are where they are (visible & identifiable), they would seek assistance more often
we still have some tweaking to do
busy & bursting buildings
5,226 visitors/day (on average)
seating for just over 1,700 patrons
feedback forms & surveys
have told us that students still prefer face-to-face contact
for research help
Funding & Technology
61% Hispanic
15% White, non-Hispanic
13% Black
04% Asian/Pacific Islander
07% Other minority group
about us...
our reference services...
1 iPad assigned to each librarian
each librarian required to roam for 2 hours/week
each librarian required to participate in a training workshop prior to starting the service
orientations, outreach across campus
Training & Best Practices
device usage, account set up, app recommendations, review of statistics/analytics
guidelines for best practices were reviewed- how to approach patrons, roaming techniques, customer service etiquette
Goals of Program
1) provide point of need reference services
2) leverage our professional resources by encouraging higher-level interactions with our patrons
3) increase the visibility of reference librarians and services provided
roaming, how we did it...
"Ask Us Anywhere" funded from Student Technology Fee grant
provided for the purchase of 12 iPad2s & accompanying peripherals (wireless keyboards, Otterbox cases)
Literature Review
roaming services, in general
3 Academic, 1 Public
typically 1 designated roamer at a time, during peak hours
roaming primarily inside the library buildings
1 week to 2 semester trials/pilots
Lit Review Data
time-frame of pilot services
# of service hours
# of roamers
# of transactions & descriptive data (i.e. who asked, question type)
Our Reference Service Usage Data
10 volunteers / 10 iPads
roaming for 2 hrs/week; between 10am - 2pm, Mon - Fri; both inside and outside the library buildings
529 total transactions for the service (Nov '11 - Oct '12)
140 transactions collected, Fall 2012
n = 129
n = 139
n = 15
Students' Survey Data
Service Data
Service Data
Service Data
Service Data
Students' Survey Data
Students' Survey Data
Students' Survey Data
Librarian/Roamer Survey Data
Librarian/Roamer Survey Data
Librarian/Roamer Survey Data
The Qualitative Data: behaviors & Perceptions
where do you roam and why?
what service challenges have you experienced while roaming (i.e. bad wifi connections, too noisy, etc)
what apps do you find yourself using the most (if any)? why?
what suggestions do you have for improving roaming?
what would you envision this service to look like 1-2 years from now?
additional comments?
roamers were asked
analytics : LibAnswers
students were asked
Interesting Findings:
roamers identified favorite roaming spots, info not born out of transaction data
roaming challenges were unique
Safari, bookmarks, & camera apps were the most-used features
Desk or No Desk?
roamer feedback...
"I believe the desk will always be needed"

"As a traditionalist, I like the idea of having a reference desk. I think people need to identify a spcific place where they can go for help"

"Roaming should not replace the reference desk: it's an extra way to help people."
"I see reference increasingly decentralized,
online, ubiquitous, & continuous..."
The Lone futurist...?
Positive Responses, Overall
"I've enjoyed it quite a bit, & believe this & online help are closer to the future of reference services than sitting at a desk."

"There is great potential with this service. We just have to keep tweaking."

"The students are always happy when they receive help right where they are."
More Thoughts/Feedback:
"I think we should use many other reference platforms, roving, etc. to augment, not replace, the physical reference desk."

"I like the idea of a reference cafe service. Or a booth in the (student union) like the one Lucy (from Peanuts) used... Yes, it's tongue-in-cheek, but it may get people's attention."
roaming recommendations...
Needed Improvements:
better marketing & publicity
longer & more consistent coverage hours
the next chapter...
equipping all librarians with iPads
deploying roaming services from the reference desk
improving wayfinding in library buildings
exploring if/how culture, language, gender may impact users' assistance seeking behavior
What Next?
References & Notes:
Defining Roaming/Roving
the original "mobile" reference service
roving/roaming used interchangeably
in general, it is reference performed beyond the physical reference desk
n = 139
n = 15
n = 15
n = 21
n = 21
n = 21
"More visibility & a more consistent
schedule that can be publicized/promoted"
Janet L. Balas, “Physical Space and Digital Space – Librarians Belong in Both,” Computers in Libraries 27, no. 5 (May 2007): 27.

Megan Dempsey, “Blending the Trends: A Holistic Approach to Reference Services,” Public Services Quarterly 7, (2011): 3-17. doi:10.1080/15228959.2011.572769.

Joanna Gadsby and Shu Qian, “Using an iPad to redefine roving reference service in an academic library” Library Hi Tech News 29, no. 4: 1-5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/07419051211249446

Holly Hibner,“The wireless librarian: Using tablet PCs for ultimate reference and customer service: A case study,” Library Hi Tech News, 22 no. 5 (2005): 19-22. doi: 10.1108/07419050510613819.

Claire Holmes and Lisa Woznicki, “Librarians at your doorstep: Roving reference at Towson University,” College & Research Library News 71, no. 11 (December 2010): 582-585.

Terence K. Huwe, “Casting a Wider Net with Roving Reference,” Computers in Libraries 23, no. 3(March 2003): 34-36.

E. H. Kramer, “Why roving reference: A case study in a small academic library,” Reference Services Review 24, no. 3(1996): 67-80. doi:10.1108/eb049290.

Megan Lotts and Stephanie Graves, “Using the iPad for reference service: Librarians go mobile,” College & Research Library News 74, no. 4 (April 2011): 217-20.

Fiona May, “Roving Reference, iPad-Style,” The Idaho Librarian, (November 23, 2011): http://theidaholibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/roving-reference-ipad-style/

Florida International University, “About Florida International University: Rankings and Facts,” (September 2011). http://www.fiu.edu/about-us/rankings-facts/index.html.

Kealin M. McCabe & James R.W. MacDonald, “Roaming reference: Reinvigorating reference through point of need service,” Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library & Information Practice & Research 6, no. 2 (2011): Under “Roaming Throughout the Ages: What the Literature Says.” http://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/issue/view/112/showToc.

David C. Murray, “iReference: Using Apple’s iPhone as a Reference Tool,” The Reference Librarian 49, no. 2 (2008): 167-170. Doi:10.1080/02763870802101419.

Katherine Penner, “Mobile technologies and roving reference,” Public Services Quarterly 7, no. 1-2 (2011): 27, doi:10.1080/15228959.2011.572775

Barbara Pitney and Nancy Slote, “Going mobile: The KCLS Roving Reference Model,” Public Libraries 46, no.1 (2007): 54-68.

Tami Echavarria Robinson, Bob Triplett, and Linda Lambert, “Reference Revitalization and Roving Reference: Are the Reference Desk and Print Reference Sources Passe?” The Christian Librarian 54, no. 2 (2011): 58-65

Michael M. Smith and Barbara A. Pietraszewski, “Enabling the roving reference librarian: Wireless access with tablet PCs,” Reference Services Review, 32 no. 3 (2004): 249-255 255. doi:10.1108/00907320410553650

Katharine Widdows, “Mobile technology for mobile staff: roving enquiry support,” Multimedia Information & Technology 37, no. 2 (May 2011): 12-15
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