Reference CKG Conference Call on April 15, 2015. DRAFT.


Attending: Gayatri (UCSD), Debbie (UCSD), Ken (UCR), Elizabeth (UCM), Allison (UCLA), Melissa sitting if for David (UCD), Lynn (UCB), Frank (UCSC), Lorna (UCSB)



  1. Start thinking about co-chairing this CKG. Allison from UCLA will be co-chair and we need one more person. July 1, 2015 is the “start” date. It does not involve much work. Contact Cynthia or Allison if you have questions or are interested.


New topics:

Any desire to discuss the UCLAS assessment?

  1. Concern about group that takes over from HOPS re: Melvyl. Cynthia reported that there is a project planned. The group wondered if this planned-for project could be communicated more widely, even if SAG 2 can’t officially name who is on it yet, or the charge isn’t finalized?
    1. Cynthia will email CKG about the Melvyl project.
  1. Cynthia will let SAG 2 know that there are a lot of people in reference services very interested in this topic. Could the information about this TF be shared more quickly and more widely?
  2. UCB in process of looking at discovery tools (alternatives to Melvyl). Anyone else looking?
    1. CAJ will let SAG 2 know that this is a topic of interest for the CKG.


Main topics:


  1. How different campuses explain their services to visitors?
    1. Possibly share effective strategies for limiting the amount of time spent with visitors.
    2. Group participation – come prepared!
    3. Discussion:

UCLA has varying policies or non-policies across the libraries.

This topic hasn’t come up at UCB. UCR and UCB: if visitors are doing research, they help them. There isn’t much conflict at UCB about helping visitors, as far as Lynn knows.


UCSD had a fee-based service, but it was phased out about 5 years ago. They used to be able to tell visitors that for a fee, the librarians could do research for the visitor. Now UCSD tries to “show” visitors how to do research, but not spend too much time with them. UCSD does not provide consultations to visitors. For health care people not affiliated with UCSD, they will do a little more, as well as government documents questions and special collections questions. They do refer to information brokers through SLA. And refer to main public library.


UCSB has very few visitors. They have had potential problem patrons that hang around desk and want to chat, but they manage these patrons by letting patrons know the librarians have work they need to do if patron doesn’t have a reference question.


Debbie at UCSD noted that some of the QP policies have useful tips for face to face and telephone. Policies#454Persistentrepeatpatrons and


Group also discussed students from junior colleges. UCSB has a lot of these visitors, and now has “non-public” hours. Public hours end at 10pm. UCSB is also now authenticating: non-UCSB visitors have to get a guest login which is good for 3 hours. UCSD’s 24 hours space also checks for IDs.


UCLA follow-up question:

Is there conflict over policies or are people in agreement at the other UC libraries? Among the group, there wasn’t any sense that reference librarians/staff come into conflict among themselves about how visitors are treated. Overall we agreed that these issues probably arise the most with legal and business questions, although UCLA in particular may be experiencing a larger number of visitors in a variety of disciplines who have research questions.



  1. Frank will report on UCSC’s READ scale project. (see for more information about READ).


UCSC is using the READ scale to conduct a survey to identify the kinds of questions public services are being asked. All service points are doing this, not just Reference (Special Collections is not participating). UCSC likes READ because it allows them to  measure the complexity of the questions. They are conduct week-long surveys, scattered through the academic year, which will eventually equal one quarter’s worth of data. They are using Survey Monkey to collect responses. Surveys have 2 required questions, the rest of the questions are optional.

Required questions:

  • Where is the interaction occurring (includes QuestionPoint)
  • Level of interaction (e.g. READ scale #)

Optional questions:

  • Time question asked (8am,-1pm, 1-5pm, etc.)
  • Day of week
  • Patron Affiliation
  • Detail description of question


Reviewing the questions. Frank talked about the discussions at UCSC concerning the complexity of a question vs. ability to answer leads to changes in the READ levels assigned. He pointed out that an “experienced” librarian perceives “complexity and difficulty” differently than a less experienced librarian, which is why the READ level may end up being reassigned.


At first, getting buy-in from the various departments to participate was difficult, but talking to departments about how the survey would benefit them and the library as a whole helped persuade departments to participate. 

UCSC has a referral model in place. 20 hours/week the Reference Desk os staffed, but otherwise referrals. They refer questions using email.


They have given some update sessions at UCSC about how things are going.

They currently have about 3100 responses and are in week 8 of the survey. They have decided not to do any preliminary analysis, but will be looking at the results this summer and will share results. Email Frank if you want to see their questionnaire form or have any questions.



Future agenda items:

  • UCSC running Ithaka Undergrad Survey – Frank will share
  • UCSC is also trying to get Assessment in Action from ACRL to work with Writing Dept and online tutorials.
  • UCI’s Consultation assessment.
  • Alternative types of staffing – put on a future agenda. If you take librarians off the desk, how much does it impact the consultation process? Allison will demo some of the reports UCLA has developed at the next call.