New Brunswick Libraries
Information Services Steering Group (NBISSG)

Date: September 29, 1999

Meeting Minutes

Present: Myoung Wilson, Penny Page, Jeris Cassel, Ilona Caparros,
Scott Hines

Decisions made:
1. Apply for Dialog grant for online term paper clinic
2. Table for more discussion a new IS model.
3. Voucher pay scale for information/reference assistants will be revised
upward to match work study scale
4. Information/reference assistant distinction will turn on
undergrad/grad status and whether student is at reference desk or at info desk
5. Reference stats will be collected daily for on-desk and on
sampling days for off-desk
6. Reference stats will be reported and aggregated monthly by sending
totals to Uma at LSM
7. We will try once more to persuade Jeanne to post reference hours,
this time for all RUL, on RUL website

Tasks to be completed:
1. Scott will write grant application
2. Scott will get Camden and Newark reference hours, create document,
and ask for posting
3. Reference manual sections to be written:
 Ilona - ref stats and collections
 Myoung - referrals
 Scott - tech support and hours guidelines
 Jeris - consortial agreements
 Lisa - student employment, voucher scale, training guidelines

Agenda :
1. Ideas about Dialog Grant

2. NB reference desk pool (this will also address issues of
developing NB information services model as requested by the NB librarians.

3. RAs and IAs--definition and payscale

4. reference statistics (I have copies of draft from from Penny)

5. posting of reference hours (on NB Web page por RUL page?)

6. Reference Manual

7. Updates
 

Tasks:
 

Decisions:
 

Minutes:

1. Dialog Grant. We will apply for a Rutgers Dialog Grant from the
Office of the VP for Undergraduate Education. The program we'd like to
implement is an online term paper clinic to supplement Ask a Librarian. The program
would be a further move into new models of providing information services and
would provide for greater outreach to the student community. Ron Jantz
wrote up a short briefing paper based on using teleconferencing technology, but
after discussion we decided to restrict the medium to an instant messaging
system such as AOL instant messenger. The instant messaging is a way to
provide a chat room-like environment in a standardized format that is easily
available to all students, making it possible to give instant advice rather
than the 48 hour turnaround time of Ask a Librarian. The idea is to provide
search support for undergrads doing term papers, helping them with
identifying resources, formulating searches, and evaluating sources. We will
identify courses that enroll mostly 1st and 2nd year students and advertise an
instant messaging username that they can connect to for help on their
term papers. Librarians would be available for instant messaging sessions
on a scheduled basis just as reference desk duty is scheduled. The student
would send a message identifying the course they are enrolled in and ask
their question to get an immediate response. The original teleconferencing
idea was meant to provide for visual exchanges including
tech-commander-like control of user's keyboard for realtime demonstration, but ease of
use issues for teleconferencing are problematic.

Scott will be writing up an application draft for the grant so that
we can get to work to meet the Oct 15th deadline. Myoung has some supporting
material for the application. Scott and Jeris will be inquiring about
possible courses to target for a pilot operation.

The AOL instant messenger is free and easily installed, and we
wouldn't really need new equipment, but the budget would include money for
marketing (Targum ads, flyers, orientation packet materials), evaluation
materials, and fees.

2. New Information Services model. This item arises from discussionsof
"on-call librarians" and NB-wide backup for reference desk duty. We
still don't have a good model for this sort of system, but we do know that
we would like to make reference service more "NB-wide". One suggestion
is for exchanges among the libraries, where librarians do reference duty at
other NB libraries for several weeks in order to familiarize themselves
with reference duty there. We also discussed the models of Information
Assistants currently in use. Some libraries have IA's at a separate desk, some
at the reference desk alongside librarians. We also discussed redesigning
the way the actual desk is set up so that patrons can be easily invited to
come around and see the computer screen when a libraian is demonstrating a
search. Myoung will study the staffing model in the original IS
documentsand we will continue discussion later and maybe ask for each liaison
to send to her a description of the way the reference desk and information
desk is staffed and designed in each library. We may even be considering in
the future whether reference desks need to be staffed at all in some
libraries.

3. RA and IA pay and duties. RA is Reference Assistant, IA is
Information Assistant. The distinction lies in whether the individual sits at the
reference desk and handles general reference questions or at a
separate information desk to handle simple questions, directionals, and do
triage for referral to reference desk. The pay scale issue came up because the
Federal Workstudy (FWS) pay scale was revised upward, leaving our voucher
scale behind. We decided to adopt the FWS scale for vouchers along with the
FWS guidelines for duties and skill/experience/education required for two
pay levels. IA will be at the FWS pay range III, where the steps are $7,
$7.50, $8, $8.50 for an undergrad IA. RA will be at the FWS pay range IV,
which is $8.50, $9.50, $10.50, $11.50 for a graduate student RA. Salaries
should be consistant across NB libraries, but each liaison is free to determine
which pay range a particular hire will be assigned. We also discussed the
fact that it has been particularly difficult to find any students at any
level -- SCILS MLS students can get $15 an hour at many public libraries for
reference duty. It's especially hard to find students to work on the
weekends. Maybe we could pay more for weekend work.

4. Statistics. Off-desk stats will be reported only on sampling days,
on-desk stats will be reported every day. Jeris and Penny never got
response from Jeanne about clarifications of definitions of reference
activities. We would like for stats to more closely reflect what we actually do on
the desk, to include such activities as multiple queries from the same
patron and "mini-BI" sessions in which we spend time helping a patron
formulate and revise a search and implement the search in OVID databases. Stats
will be aggregated monthly and sent to Uma at LSM. At each library, the
person who sends stats to Nancy Hendrickson will count up stats from daily
sheets, record monthly totals for each category, and send totals to Uma by
the 10th of the following month. Uma will send reminders to these people.
Jeris and Penny will send a memo out to announce daily stats and distribute the
new stats forms. Let's try to come up with a better name for "mini-BI".

5. Reference hours. Jeanne said no to posting NB reference hours on
RUL website. Her objections were 1)did not include Camden and Newark and
2) too much work for her staff. Scott will get Camden and Newark hours,
create adocument that includes all RUL reference hours, and ask if reference
hours for all RUL libraries can be posted.

6. Reference Manual. We'll need to create a table of contents. We
used the list in the IS annual report as a guide. Section on "librarians" will
not be included. Ilona will write up something about ref stats and
collections, Myoung will do referrals, Scott will do tech support and guidelines
about hours, Jeris will do consortial agreements. We'll also add sections
on NBL organization, student employment guidelines to include voucher scale
and training -- Myoung will ask Lisa to do this section.

7. Announcements and updates. Winter session -- NB reference hours
will not change from normal intersession hours. We need a collections
generalist slot filled on the electronic resources collection development task force.
Scott suggested Brian Hancock, Ilona agreed, and we elected him in
absentia, unanimously. Myoung reported later in the day that he agreed to
serve. Scott updated us on Learning Links support and training being provided by
Lourdes Vasquez, marty Kesselman, Scott, and Mike Giarlo to the Spanish
department as they design and deliver webct courses.