The Marx Library uses desk statistics to help us determine how, when and with whom to staff the reference desk. We depend on these statistics to let us know when the busiest times are at the desk, and they help us keep current with the information needs of our patrons.
Use this as a guideline when marking the reference desk statistics sheets. It’s not meant to be comprehensive, so use your best judgement:
Directional/Institutional Information: This would include reception-like requests such as directional questions about the building or campus, questions about specific library services, and taking messages. Necessary Staff: Marx Library staff and trained student workers.
Technical Assistance: This includes hardware and software questions and assistance with library technology, no matter the length of time involved in the support. Necessary Staff: Marx Library staff and trained student workers.
Ready Reference: This includes quick “look-ups” such as title searches, basic internet searches, or informational questions (example: “How do I cite a journal using APA?”). Necessary Staff: Marx Library staff.
Reference Transaction: This includes exchanges which include both a full reference interview and engagement with information resources. While these transactions are likely to be longer than a quick “look-up,” it is recommended that exchanges lasting more than 10 minutes be referred to a subject specialist for a research consultation. Necessary Staff: Reference librarians.
Referrals: Any time you send a question, whether via chat, phone, email, or in-person, to another librarian with subject expertise or to another library (such as Biomed.)
The statistics sheet used at the Reference Desk looks like this. The sheet used at the Circulation desk has been modified to include all hours the library is open. It also does not include chat.
Download the actual form:
In order to record reference transactions and referrals, the Reference & Instruction Department uses LibInsight; at this time, we will be using it only to record Reference Transactions and Referrals To enter records, use the following procedure:
Download step-by-step instructions: