Thursday, February 24, 2011

First Day without a Desk Buddy: A Detailed Summary

Today is my first day behind the Ref. Desk without a Desk Buddy. I'm glad it's a morning shift because those are usually much quieter and less eventful than afternoon shifts. All of the librarians have reassured me that if I need help answering a question I can just call any of them, but so far I've been fine. I've been keeping a list of everything that occurs at the Desk this morning so that I can properly document my first day out here by myself. So far it hasn't been terribly interesting, but right now I'm ok with that.
  • 9:00 - Shift begins. I'm still really excited about having a name plate to put on the front of the desk.
  • 9:01 - The Reference Desk Printer Paper Stock Pile is empty! Refill stock pile from closet.
  • 9:33 - A student asked if the scanners are downstairs. Small amount of nervousness as the student approached the desk, but that quickly dissipated after discovering how easy her question was.
  • 9:56 - Meggan the Librarian gave me two books that belong behind the Ref. Desk for me to re-shelve.
  • 10:04 - A student asks to borrow one of the Ref. Desk's Turabian manuals. Little to no nervousness/fear experienced because I happen to personally know the student from Marching Band.
  • 10:35 - A student has several questions about citing in APA format. I showed her how to use the Source Manager tool in Microsoft Word documents to format both in-text citations and bibliographies according to APA. Then I helped her identify the publication date and the publisher of one of her books. I got really nervous when it became apparent that she had a question that wasn't simply directional and that it was about APA, which I'm not very familiar with. But I was totally able to handle it. Super confidence boost for the rest of my shift.
  • 10:40 - Jess the Librarian asks me for my opinion on when the best time during the evening would be to hold a focus group about how students use mobile devices to access the library web page.
  • 11:00 - Kerri the Librarian asks how things went; I respond positively. End of shift. Relocate to Library Basement to finish typing blog post and work on homework for Environmental Issues.
Down time between events: Downtime is spent looking for information on National Library Week and thinking of potential themes we could use for that this year.

Summary: At this point I know that I often don't know what the absolute best answer to every reference question is. The way I deal with this is by thinking about how I would handle the issue and what would I do first if I were in the student's position. For example, if I were asked to format something in APA, I would handle that by using the APA option in the Microsoft Word source manager, so that's what I showed the student. (She also could have used the list of Citation Guides found on the library website.) Anyways, I survived, and I am feeling much more comfortable behind the desk.


  1. Good job with the APA. I wouldn't have thought of Word's source manager.

    When I finish a question, I always think of other ways I could have answered it. I've learned not to agonize over it and thoughts that I may have lead someone astray. Instead, I store it away for the next time I have a similar question. -- Of course, sometimes I have no idea and call on the wisdom of my other librarians.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.