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!