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Israel Nzala 1

Israel Nzala

Professor Agosta

UWRT 1101-006

31 Mars 2017

Observation and Interview of Atkins Librarians


Guiding questions:

Question1. How team works and collaborates to reach common goals?

Question2. What kinds of genres and lexis J. Murrey Atkins Library use to communicate?

Questions3. What mechanisms of intercommunication among librarians or communication with

librarians and students are uses?

Questions4. Who are the experts and how can I tell through their actions and language?

Notes and Descriptions:

I conducted observation on two different days; at two different places of the library.

Departments assist each other in the purpose of satisfy common goal assist students to find


Conducted the first observation on March 29th, 2017 between 1025 am -1100 am at the

circulation and reserve desk.

I sat down on the first floor of J Murrey Atkins Library; right next to the circulation and reserve

desk. The desk disposed two types of services:

At the first service, two employees were posted at two computer stations facing the south

entrance helped faculty, staff and students to check materials out. Any check out, borrowers had
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to get their ID scanned with materials to check out, the librarian then verbally communicated the

return due dates follow up with an e-mail to the student UNCC e-mail account.

At the second service of the circulation desk is called Roamer; an employee sat at a computer

station (facing north) to help faculty, staff and student to check out, returns and renewal laptops.

Members of this team were mobile on all over floors, wore green-yellow T-shirt with Ask

Atkins inscription and had tablet on. They were roving floors each hour, and trying to respond

questions and helping student in difficulty of printing work or other.

The second observation was conducted on March 30, 2017 between 0215 pm -0300 pm at

the research help desk, where I assigned to observe Laura McShane.

In the assigned time Laura was dealing with online chat service. The research desk use online

chat as one of the way to respond to students questions. The first student she chatted with was

from education department; the student did not know how to choose a research topic and found

relevant information related. Laura tried to help the student to refine the topic: firstly, she asked

the student to not use Everything icon of the library search website however to use Database

icon. Secondly she demanded to the student to use different synonym words for topic. In fact, the

student topic was related to childhood education; Laura asked the student to search using

adolescence and children word then he/she evaluated results. Moreover she requested the student

to pay attention on abstract, chapter contents and permalink (the permanent link of books) if

possible to copy the link for further usage. At the end of the chat the student was satisfied of the


Laura McShane was chatting simultaneously with different students. Another help she

completed was with an engineering department student. The student asked her evasive questions,

Laura processed by questioning the student back and forth in order to concise the question. After
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a little while she definitely understood the student question which was regarding power

transmission. As long Jeff McAdam the engineering subject librarian was available, Laura

forward the student question to Jeff so he could better assist the student.

Another relevant point of my observation was the library use online service , face to face

contact, posters, flyers, workshop, printing stations, in the purpose of reach its goal.


The use of database in research is recommended because Database offered most recent and

precise academic information like journal; in addition Database was a trustworthy platform for


Online chat utilization was a powerful tool of communication between research help desk and

students. It eliminate physical wall, and offer a rapid point of contact to get response of answers.

The J.M Atkins team works in complementary, they job was a coordination of synergy of

different departments from the circulation and reserve desk to the research help desk ,when a

member is stuck, he/she refer student to other team member for better assistance. Student always

found answer somewhere.

In addition of decorative approach, signage played important role of communication in the

library because it provide some type of guidance.

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Interview of Abigail Moore, Specialist Librarians at Atkins Library

On March 28th, 2017 from 1000 am to 1040 am; I interviewed Abigail Moore, Interim Head of

Research and Instruction Service Department (RIS) and Education Librarian.

Question1. What are the Atkins library community goals?

As a community the Atkins Library has common goals however, individually, each subject

librarian is required to write an annual goals and share it to others members for feedback.

The common goals are:

Goal 1: Develop library programs, collections and services for a diverse student body that

integrate with and support the university curriculum at all levels.

Goal 2: Develop library programs, collections, and spaces that support research, discovery, and

knowledge creation.

Goal 3: Create library services and programming that engage the community.

The most frequent individual goal is reach faculty and students in a need. Students who need

information seek help to find appropriate information for their needs. To understand student

needs, subject librarian talk firstly to faculty then organize workshop with students. The

workshop has for purpose to vulgarize the importance of subject librarian in the research process,

to explain what resources are available at the library, how students could use them, and how

students could perform effective research. Many students seem or feel like they know, and do not

need librarian specialist assistance. However, the struggle effectively to find information needed

to complete their academic works. Form experience at the end of those workshops students are

persuaded of subject librarian need.

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Sub-question: how can you help a student who comes to ask you relevant question on a topic?

Subject librarians do not do the homework for student but according to each student background

they could advise students what he /she really need to complete an assignment or an academic

work, how they can narrow the research and used effectively the database and other resource


Question2. What are mechanisms established to reach those goals.

In order to reach the common goals, the library structural organization is divided in department:

Subject librarians: this is the cornerstone department; it assists faculty and students

respectively in their class development and research.

Special collections: in charge of non-divulgate collections
Student Services where offer collections, and workshop, tours and tutorial to students

circulation and roomer.

Members of the team use e-mail as way of inter-communication; in addition, of e-mail they use

online chat, workshop to communicate with faculty and students.

Question3. Why the Research and Instruction Service Department is the cornerstone of the


From the different tasks that members of this department accomplish among student and faculty,

to can tell that this is the principal center of the library goals; other department are secondary to

our departments. For instance:

As the Interim Head of Research and Instruction Service Department (RIS); my job is to set up

meeting, workshop and organization of the librarian team. Provide training to new team member.

As Education subject librarians my tasks are:

Provide instruction research methods to students. Help students to find information they

need, help them to know how to cite and how to evaluate information. The librarian ask
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professor to provide this approach to presentation meeting of sometime the professor call

them to ask their assistance in the assignments.

Help student to know how to do research; subject librarian conduct research consultation

(meeting with student) in their office. This activity gives student confidence, and makes

them more efficient and productive.

Purchase material for library collection, speak to faculty about relevant academic

information, analyze them

The department helps the library to reach his goal; this is one of the reason skills and expertise is

required to its members.

Question4. How skills and expertise help you to accomplish your task.

Not anyone can be a specialist librarian, there are some requirements like: having a master

degree of librarian graduate school, another degree in other major is preferable. The degree of

different domain helps subject librarian to be more efficient, for instance Abigail has a master in

education, it for that degree that she is educational librarian. Moreover, having experience, and

being knowledgeable in the subject in the most requirements. Abigail has six years of library

experience and 15 year of teaching education.

All combine will allow a subject librarian to determine faculty, and student needs; then performs

research and purchase recent and useful materials. Therefore compose research guide, instruction

and metadata where faculty and student can surf any time.

Question5. From your personal experience, how subject librarians come to build their

related research.

The library set a template where subject librarian can be inspired for building the guide. The

template displayed the curriculum program and preference. In some other occasion, faculty
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makes subjection to subject librarian how they want them assist the education program.

Moreover, subject librarians possess enough background to conduct research, and discover what

the important need for the field. Each summer, the team participates to meeting where they

discuss about more important need and relevant information for each field.

At another side, the librarian collection elaborated a wish list that each specialist can consult and


To do so, the team adopts some strategies: in the guide they offer more information so students

can find anything, any information for any academic work. Base on the principle of the reverse

triangle where at the beginning they emphasize on delivering many information sources, the

more student search, and more the research getting narrowed. It is this way students obtain at the

end of their research a well filtered, and polished work concentrated on the problem question.

From large to narrow so student get information that will not fail; the results is guaranty.

From all this approach, experience and expertise are principal foundation for subject librarian.

Question6. Is there any training for new hire, how did you get your expertise?

The library does not provide specific training because new hire employee is supposed to have

some background expertise. However, the team put the hire in contact of the metadata (database),

provide some special coaching and mentoring session, where the new hire is affect to work at the

begin with each subject librarian so he/she can get a big picture of job expectations. In addition,

he/she is affected to a mentor where he/she can ask any question. Moreover, the department

organizes regularly meeting where members can share experience and debate on different issues

that the team could faced. Many members are part of different librarian organization; the new

hire will be invite to joint one of them.

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Sub-question: asked to another team member (Laura McShane) have you ever faced a upset

student? If yes how you deal with.

Yes, a subject librarian has to remain calm and patient. Student become nervous when they run

after due date and could not find appropriate information for they research.

Sub-question: asked to Laura McShane what happen when you face a question that you are

unable to respond:

We work as team she responded, nobody can know everything, that one of the reason the

department is composed of multiple subject librarian. For instance I work at the help research

desk , a student ask me a question no related of my specialty subject, I will refer him/her to the

appropriate subject specialist who could help better.

Question7. Are there any specific software uses to accomplish your job.

We use the ILS (integrated Library System software) which is a platform where librarian

subscribe in order purchase book for the collection, check and evaluate the need of their

collection it is like a database linking their library to other. In addition, we utilize LibGuides

software supported by SpringShare inc. each librarian subscribe to the site and use some feature

to access collections. This system cost more many to maintain at the end of this year they will

signed a contract to another contractor company to provide this service since the last company

provide more efficient aspect.

Question8. Do you use specific jargon (Lexi ) for your communication.

Yes, librarians have particular vocabulary appropriate to their job:

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Information literacy: which he defines as a critical thinking, subject librarian should possess the

knowledge to interpret the results of their personal search in order to purchase materials and


Metadata; it is describe as the knowledge to identify what types of information (book, videos

other) the university system need; where to get those information or when are they available ,

who wrote it, is the writer possess certain authority because some time for instance a book can

be a subject of controversy among academic staff(Professor) the librarian has to possess the

information literature in order to make a choice to who to believe analyze different point of

views and decide get the collection or not.

Sub-question how when you purchase collection differentiate an academic versus non-academic


Most time academic collection are cited, the sourced are well specified, possess a bibliography

somewhere so you can trace the information. Non-academic does not have it generally

Information data: is to know how to get information is it has to be paid of it free, where to get it

(where is locate),

Database: different definition for the computer science. For librarians, database means

searchable collection and publication.

Inter-library loan: this mean when different libraries share collection; for instance, when a

library does not have a book it can borrow it from other library.

Circulation: something of collection that the library let the people check and return it back

Problem-Posing Question
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It seem like the subject librarian position does not offer entry level position; all it need

expert, moreover the library does not offer special training for the subject librarian. The time for

new team member to assimilate instruction and procedure depend on his/her background

knowledge. Some time , from experience it take longer to new hire to assimilate, some time it

tale less time.

Subject librarian some time, get rid of some materials: when the materials contents

possess some incorrect information and when materials become out of date. This relieve some

disciplinary questions of detecting responsibility whether for the case of incorrect information in

the contents; because it like wasting the budget.

In many case subject librarian face budget issue; they need to order some important

materials however they have limited budget. Even though the budget increase by six pour cent

each year it is remain insufficient to cover all subject librarian need.