First Shift on the Research Services Desk

I had my first 2-hour “shadowing” shift today on the Research Services Desk at Perkins, Duke’s main library, and I really enjoyed it! I worked with Michael, who is the librarian for Math and Physics at Duke. We had a fairly steady stream of queries, mostly from people walking up, but we also had some time in between questions to talk about different reference desk procedures, library school, and other things. I especially enjoyed hearing Michael’s take (very positive) on Duke Libraries’ Personal Librarian Program.

The two most common questions were for directions to one our meeting rooms, and where’s Lost and Found, but there were plenty of others. One of our patrons came up to the desk and said he had to write a recommendation for someone, and wondered if either one of us had any experience with writing recommendations. Since I’ve written several recommendations in the past year for past cataloging interns, I really enjoyed helping with that question! Another patron called and asked a question about Duke’s 2012 football schedule! I wish I could’ve taken that one! 🙂

We also had some questions about book locations, computer and printer malfunctions, where to find buildings around campus, and where paper towels could be found. In addition to observing (and occasionally helping) with questions, I also got to see the system the librarians use to keep track of reference questions for statistical purposes.

It’s been several hours now, and I’m still smiling over my time on the research services desk today! 🙂 I think the semester-long experience will help me keep the patrons in mind as I continue my behind-the-scenes work as a copy catalog supervisor in Technical Services. I can’t wait to learn more!


About Lesley Looper

I'm a full-time library employee. I enjoy reading, photography, travel, blogging, and geocaching.
This entry was posted in Beginnings, Libraries, Professional Development, Skills, Work and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to First Shift on the Research Services Desk

  1. I take it you know the football schedule. 🙂

    • Lesley says:

      Duke’s basketball program is a lot more famous than its football program! But I’ve been a Duke football fan for forever, because my dad played football for Duke back in the late 40s-early 50s. 🙂

  2. madailey says:

    Sound like a wonderful first day of experience. 🙂
    I hope you learn all you can.

  3. Mary Lane says:

    Are you a member of NCSLA? If not, please consider a student membership. I think you would love it! I enjoy your posts, whereever do you find time?

  4. Great post thank you for sharing your experience. I will be honest and say that I would LOVE to know more about how Duke is keeping stats on their reference questions. Please if you feel like sharing, I would greatly appreciate it. Enjoy your reference!!

  5. Jenny L says:

    What a great opportunity, Lesley! Remind me to ask you about when I see you again. 🙂

    • Lesley says:

      I’d love to tell you more if you’re interested, Jenny! It was a lot of fun! Even though I’m not getting academic credit for my time at the Research Services Desk, I’m betting I’ll get a lot out of it! I still love my Technical Services work, but I was so pleasantly surprised by what a treat it was to be out among the end users, ya know?! I’m already looking forward to next Wednesday!

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