Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Arts Hobart -In-House Librarian

This post is to update you on the "In-House Librarian" initiative I started last year and have just re-started.
About this time last year I had the idea of making myself available for consultation at a regular time in the Arts building here in Hobart. The main aim was to increase our visibility with staff and postgrads in particular and to show we were willing to engage with them on their own 'turf'.
I proposed this at an Arts T&LC meeting and it was quite enthusiastically received, so I went ahead and managed to find a room which was vacant each Friday during semester teaching weeks.
The room I got is in a handy position on Level 5 of Arts, very close to the Faculty executive area. Lots of people go past the room.
I commenced the experiment just before the end of Semester 1 2006 and continued during the teaching weeks until the end of Semester 2 2006. I usually managed to get there most Fridays for 2 hours and alternated between mornings and afternoons.
I always email my intention to visit on the day before, inviting staff and students to drop in and stating the time and place. This email is distributed via liaison librarians to school secretaries and thence to Hobart staff and postgrads.
My opinion and user feedback showed that it was much appreciated. I felt it was useful for me and the clients. In addition, I had a number of visitors that we never or rarely see in the Library.

I therefore determined to try again in 2007, but uncertainties with the room availability delayed me. Consequently I have only just started again for 2007 but hope to continue as regularly as possible each Friday. I also hope to get Scott and/or Kate to take a turn occasionally as well if possible (Katrina did one session last year).
I borrow a laptop from Rodney who was fantastic in ensuring that I was fully set up with complete network connectivity. I can therefore do my own work, access the P and N drive etc when no customers are there. I also take my DEC roving phone with me and it works OK in that location.

My first session for 2007 was last Friday afternoon as I was overwhelmed by what happened. I was able to give detailed advice to two postgrads and had a long multi-topic talk with a very senior academic. Instead of my scheduled 2 hours, I was there for closer to 3! My conclusion was that this is a service which puts the clients at ease and encourages them to just drop in and discuss a issues. It certainly seems to offer a liaison opportunity we have not had before.

Others have mentioned the possibility of doing something similar in other locations. I would encourage you to try it, but get faculty support first and a good location and setup with equipment etc.

1 comment:

Susan Bell said...

It's good to hear that this initiative has been so successful, as our experience in Launceston has (so far) been less positive. Alison used to go to Inveresk every week to do much the same thing as Roger has been doing, but I don't think there was much interest from staff. However, the office Alison used was rather out of the way, and I don't think she advertised her visits via email every week, so employing some of Roger's strategies could probably turn this around. I'm sure Cherie and Anna are very interested.
I think I could probably trade on Roger's success to arrange a space in the Arts Faculty at Newnham too - no harm in trying, anyway.