Hot Topics for Annual: Librarian Office Hours

About Timothy Hackman

Librarian for English & Linguistics, University of Maryland Libraries. Member of LES since 2006.

The subject of librarians holding “office hours” in their academic departments seems to be a popular one of late. Over at ACRLog, Stephanie Willen Brown discusses her experience this past semester, and concludes: “The office hour was definitely a success – especially combining the actual work with the PR value of being in the building on a regular basis.” The folks at the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s “Wired Campus” column picked up on Stephanie’s post; both posts have received numerous comments from librarians around the Web who have tried this strategy for reaching out to faculty and grad students. And LES’s own Mary Claire Vandenburg writes in the latest issue of BiblioNotes [PDF, the article is on page 6] about simultaneously starting a new “librarian in residence” service while learning her way around a new discipline (Classics). Mary Claire found that her “complex email reference questions from students have gone up as a result of office hours, as have special requests from faculty for hard to find items.”

What has been your experience with office hours at your institution? Have you tried them and been successful? Tried them and been unsuccessful? Wanted to try them but couldn’t get support from your administration or department? This topic is on the agenda for the LES Reference Discussion Group at ALA Annual in Anaheim. This will be a great opportunity to share your experiences with your colleagues, or to ask questions about getting started with your own “Librarian in Residence” program. If you can’t attend, feel free to leave a comment or question here; we’ll use the blog to report back about any good ideas shared during the session!

LES Reference Discussion Group: Sunday, 6/29, 10:30a-12:00p, Grand Hyatt Regency, Orange County Salon III

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2 Responses to “Hot Topics for Annual: Librarian Office Hours”

  1. Mary Claire Vandenburg says:

    I would like to add that having a presence in the department has also allowed me to gently correct misinformation about the library when I hear it. One new faculty member was telling a graduate student the library never replaces books flagged as missing, which is certainly not the case.

    Office hours have also allowed me to change the perception that serials acquisitions are still in the state they were in the 1990’s. I think during those days faculty had requests turned down and learned not to ask again.

    I look forward to my first Annual after two days of Disneyland!
    Best wishes all.

  2. Amanda Rust says:

    I really appreciate this discussion on the blog, and look forward to your report on the ALA session. I’m especially interested in hearing the specifics of how people got this sort of program started. And thanks again for providing this venue for electronic discussion.

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