Core Reference Responsibilities for Public Services Task Force: Charge

The establishment of this Task Force is an effort to follow through on two previous recent reports, the recommendations of which follow:

  1. Organizational Review: Reference Report, January 21, 2010, p.5, stated as its first recommendation "[The] Need for some framework or authority to help ensure a reasonably equitable workload among librarians regarding reference." It further stated "To accomplish this, consider a structure and/or an action-oriented body (either as a component of USC or not) with substantial commitment and with authority to address operational needs an to [sic] evaluative process of specific reference services in a timely manner."
  1. Report of the Chat Reference Services Task Force of the Rutgers University Libraries, April 26, 2011, p.7, reads: "Therefore the committee recommends that the service draw from all public service librarians RUL-wide for the purposes of staffing."

Subsequently, the User Services Council (USC), at its April 26, 2011 meeting, held initial discussion of the need to enhance hours and staffing of our popular chat reference services and, furthermore, the need for a document that will set out expectations for core responsibilities of public service librarians in contributing to the various forms of reference that we provide: these forms include 1) traditional desk reference; 2) Ask-a Librarian email reference; 3) chat reference; and 4) advanced research consultations (defined as scheduled individual librarian consultations with students, faculty or, occasionally, others). Hence, the genesis of this Core Reference Responsibilities for Public Service Librarians Task Force. Four librarian volunteers will serve as members; two others will be invited to join with them.

Expectations for the Task Force:

Goals of the Task Force:

The challenge for this task force will be to provide recommendations that are neither too rigid nor formulaic but nevertheless provide some guidance to help each librarian determine whether he/she measures up to peer expectations in their responsibility to provide what we consider to be reference service. All public service librarians need to operate within a framework of equity and fairness in their delivery of this core service.

The Task Force will provide periodic updates to the User Services Council and should plan to submit its final report to the Associate University Librarian-Research and Instructional Services and the User Services Council by December 1, 2011.

Drafted 5/10/2011
Revised and approved at USC meeting 5/11/2011

Last updated May 13, 2011
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