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Service Report 2 of 3: Public Library

Service Report 2 of 3: Public Library

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Published by ericasresearch
Analysis of library service provided by a Chicago Public Library (CPL) librarian. Suggestions for improved service included.
Analysis of library service provided by a Chicago Public Library (CPL) librarian. Suggestions for improved service included.

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Published by: ericasresearch on Jul 16, 2011
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07/18/2011

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Erica GambleReference & Online ServicesInstructor M. Beestrum3 June 2010
Service Report 2 of 3: Pubic Library
The CPL Logan Square branch can be found at 3030 W. Fullerton Avenue. According tothe CPL website, the Logan Square public library branch was expanded and relocated in 2005.This branch’s featured collections include Spanish language materials. Their facilities include aconference room (capacity 150). Logan Square public library is readily accessible by CTA andneighbors 19 schools.
What Happened?
Upon entering Logan Square public library, I did not see anyone readily available toassist me with my reference question. The library employees at the circulation desk seemed very busy. I lingered in silence. Once the line at the circulation/reference desk was gone, a lady,Kimberly* (*name changed for discretion), asked, “Have you been helped yet?” I replied, “No, Iwas just looking for some books about graphics and web design.”Kimberly led me to a computer catalog and sort of did her own search thing (typing inkeywords, limiting search results, checking availability) in order to find an appropriate section.She kept the conversation going as we walked to the section, alerting me to the fact that some of their books were checked out, but that I could search through the catalog and find any item to puton hold at Logan Square public library.I asked Kimberly, “Are you a librarian?” She affirmed my suspicions and informed methat she had completed Dominican University’s program a few years ago. I told that her I might be interested in librarianship. She encouraged me to pursue information about the program andlook into the Illinois State library training grants. Kimberly told me that these grants help withGSLIS tuition, if you work in an Illinois public library for a few years after graduation.
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In the TK section of nonfiction (Library of Congress Classification), Kimberly browsesshelves, thinking aloud to herself and commenting on titles - for my benefit. Kimberly, then, ledme to another, related section (books about HTML) without even consulting the library catalog.We did not find much in either of the sections. She suggested that even though the graphicdesign software books required special, expensive software to use, I still might be able to pullsome design inspiration from their pages.Kimberly led me back to the computer catalog and encouraged me to “drive” while shelooked on. I typed in some keywords, chose an item, and said, “This book seems to be close towhat I am looking for because the topics are related.” Kimberly said, “You know, you can copyand paste any of these topic words into the search bar and that will help you find books aboutthat topic.”Kimberly patiently looked on as I searched for items, providing me with useful searchand access advice along the way and offering additional information about library services. She briefly walked away to assist another patron. I continued to search the catalog. After a fewminutes, Kimberly returned and asked, “How are we doing over here?” She continued to helpme search the catalog until I told her that I had some call numbers written down and was goingto browse the stacks. Kimberly wished me good luck and told me to come back for moreassistance, if needed.
Evaluation of Service Based on Contributing Factors and Readings
Kimberly performed her librarian duties with good energy, a positive attitude, andfriendly smiles. Her positive attitude is a great asset to the Logan Square public library as“library users know (and respond in kind) when service is given enthusiastically (or grudgingly)”(Radford 112). Enthusiastic service with a smile is one method librarians can employ to ensurethat “the user is satisfied with the interaction” (Miller 219).
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Immediately after mentioning my interest in the library science field, Kimberly providedme with information and encouragement in pursuing an MLIS. This exemplifies the eighth entryin the ALA Code of Ethics, which states that librarians should encourage “all library staff… toassist those entering the profession” (Cassell and Hiremath 11). Although this information wasnot related to my initial query, Kimberly took the time to provide me with some informationabout librarianship.Kimberly found another section related to my query without consulting the catalog. Thistells me that Kimberly makes an attempt to “consciously refresh familiarity with resources”(Cassell and Hiremath 42) available in her library’s collection. This knowledge surely helpsKimberly provide better reference service to Logan Square public library patrons.In addition, Kimberly provided some user instruction on searching for and locatinglibrary materials. This satisfies the second criteria in Miller’s goal outcomes of referenceservice, “the user learn something about how to find information.” Kimberly believed that Ineeded assistance learning how to use a library catalog, so she provided me with some terrificadvice (using topic phrases in a search, limiting search results using sidebar facets, and placing books on reserve using inter-library loan) for both searching for and acquiring relevantinformation resources. The instruction that Kimberly provides library patrons in this instance isnecessary to empower patrons on their future, independent information quests. Kimberly “offersinformation about how to use the library that may be helpful to the user in the future” (Casselland Hiremath 20) when she promotes services such as inter-library loan and the use of thelibrary’s online catalog – indirectly encouraging library patrons to return. This instruction couldhave improved had Kimberly formally communicated a planned search strategy before enteringkeywords into the search bar, however she may have tailored her user instruction towards themethods most people use when searching Google.
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