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Juggling Lessons. How do librarians work with simultaneous users in QuestionPoint ? Kate Pittsley , Eastern Michigan University Michigan Virtual Reference Service Collaborative Annual Meeting, April 8 2011. Questions. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Juggling Lessons

Juggling Lessons

Juggling LessonsHow do librarians work with simultaneous users in QuestionPoint?

Kate Pittsley, Eastern Michigan UniversityMichigan Virtual Reference Service Collaborative Annual Meeting, April 8 2011

Lit review small mentions in articles on managing VRL-Transcripts? Survey? Interviews1Questions1. Are you comfortable juggling 2 questions at a time? Have you ever handled 3 or more at once?

2. How do you decide whether to grab an additional question? What factors do you consider?

3. What techniques do you use to successfully work with multiple students?

4. Are there pitfalls to watch for when juggling multiple questions?

Advantage things came up that I hadnt consideredNuanced answersAsk for clarifications, ask whyGreat quotesEnjoyed

No right/ wrong hoping elaborate - Confidential he/she

2 most interesting-I didnt realize all the factors I consider till you interviewed me.

- Location of user, timing, nature of the question.

3&4 useful tips

2ParticipantsAll EMU QP librarians participated

Dedicated to VR during shiftsSome one hour shifts, some eve shifts

All tech savvyVR experience/frequency varies

IMO, all very good reference librarians!

No right/ wrong hoping elaborate - Confidential he/she

3Juggling Comfort13 of 15 are comfortable juggling 2 questions

3rd question? - 3 say never (or almost never)- 7 will, but dont frequently- 5 routinely juggle 3

4Uber-Jugglers are Rare Only one librarian felt comfortable doing more than 3 at once

With 4 active ?s you dont feel like you are staying on top of things.

Enthusiastically juggled multiple questions answer quality reduced frequency of picking up a second.52 of 15 are not comfortable

One doesnt do VR frequently and isnt comfortable with texting in general

Both have philosophical reasons related to customer service.

Uncomfortable abandoning grammar rules

Divided attention is a disservice to the student6Do I take that 2nd question?Where is the question from?always if EMUusually if Michigan (& other MI librarian not available)more selective if out-of-state

Only 2 didnt mention place as factor may have taken as a given

MI esp likely highly likely committed to Michigan obligated if Michigan our Uber-juggler always

even pick up a Business question if it was from Michigan

Some will only pick up a 3rd if its MI

7Where: Is Anybody Out There?Ten mentioned scanning to see if librarians from that state/region are available& hesitating longer if they had 0 questions

Notice this often happens with the Calif & NY

Im not sure everyone carries their weight. What are the rest of you folks doing? Wonders if they dont log out

8Timing: The End is in Sight Four mentioned that they are more likely to pick up a 2nd question when the first seems like its almost finished.

Think finished then they ask a zinger!9Timing: The Space In-Between Nine indicated response time of current patron as a factor:

less likely to pick up a second when first has quick back and forth

more likely with long gaps in communication.

10Timing: Student Wait TimeEight will pick up an additional question if a student has been waiting too long to be picked up.

Definitions of too long vary from 30 or 40 to 200 seconds. Most librarians dont have a specific number of seconds in mind.

Im not going to let someone keep sitting there.I worry if I leave it too long the person will leave.

11Timing: Quitting TimeSeven said they were less likely to pick up a 2nd question if it was near the end of a shift.

12Timing: Time of DayEarly shifts likely to pick up extra California users.

Evenings are especially busy.

On multiple hour shifts, the librarian is likely to pick up extra questions at the top of the hour.

13Questions: Complex or SimpleMost librarians read the question and judge its level of complexity as a factor. Most thought juggling 2 complex questions less than ideal.

Half were less likely to pick up a 2nd question, if 1st was complex, involved, or required sustained attention or hand-holding.

Almost all said more willing to pick up a 2nd,if it looked easy, straightforward, or quick.

One Turns off queue when juggling two complex

Hesitates to pick up vague hello ?s content unkown

Motivated to pick up easy out-of-state to up stat percentage14Question: Subject ExpertiseSix were more likely to pick up a 2nd question if it was in their area of subject expertise.

two reversed this - were less likely to pick up non-MI questions outside expertise.One specifically stated doesnt take subject into consideration.

Medical exp - Others will be less comfortablemay not handle as well.

15Juggling PitfallsFour reported accidentally sending answers to the wrong person,but all thought this wasnt a big problem.

16Juggling PitfallsTwo people worried that we might spend less time on the reference interview and give quicker answers when juggling multiple questions.

One worried other people would

One admitted that when it was really busy he tended to give quicker answers and that less thorough ref interviews had led to problems.

17Oops!Forgetting someone whos waiting

Forgetting what school they are from

- Losing track of time with involved ?

Blocking out the response beeps

Getting too involved with one question, so other is neglected.18Do we tell?Librarians were evenly divided between those that usually tell students they are working with another student and those who dont.

There are also some in the middle who sometimes tell depending on the situation.

Those who told saw that as a useful juggling tool.Two mentioned they use scripts for this.

Those who didnt:Dont want them to think I dont have time to work with them.Wouldnt want them to feel neglectedWants them to feel special from attention they are gettingBelieves they might see that as poor customer service

Let them think you are working on their question.

Middle dependent on situationReally busy- Long complex ? & want to answer a short MI ? - on pick-up better to answer & ask to wait than leave sitting

19Something to doFour librarians described giving the user something to do, then getting back to them after spending time on another patron.

Asking them to describe what they have already triedWhy dont you spend some time looking at this resource and Ill check back with you in a few minutes.

20Follow-up & ReferralsFour mentioned referring complex questions to follow-up or providing contact info for subject librarians.

21Multiple WindowsSome mentioned many open windows as a problem (or at least annoyance); one librarian developed a 1 window per user solution.

From the policy page, use the mouse wheel to click on links so pages open in tabs.

double monitors22The Open WindowTwo librarians mentioned that they dont hurry to close out questions that seem finished

- patrons sometimes came back with follow-up questions.

(one usually waits for student to close)And has gotten responses 30 minutes later

Downside delay in delivering transcripts23Better with PracticeA few reported that they felt stressed when juggling multiple patrons.

But, a few also reported that with practice they have no more anxiety juggling more than one.

Have asked if they want to be transferred when other MI librarian became available, but theyve always wanted to continue with her.24