Paging a Librarian: Eliminating the staffed reference desk

Wednesday, 3/22/2017
  • 3:00 PM-4:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 2:00 PM-3:00 PM (Central)
  • 1:00 PM-2:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 12:00 PM-1:00 PM (Pacific)

Staffing a reference desk is a wonderful service for patrons when they need it. However, it can monopolize your staff talent and resources between reference interactions. Changes in libraries and patrons’ needs revealed a desire for more flexibility in reference shifts and not being anchored to a desk. As a solution, Tennessee Tech University moved from a staffed reference desk to a pager system three years ago. This webinar will cover the entire transition from brainstorming desk alternatives to implementing the pager system. There have been many lessons learned since the change, which will help you consider and implement reference desk staffing alternatives at your own library.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning Outcome 1: Outline the process of transitioning to a pager system.
  • Learning Outcome 2: Identify the effects of implementing a pager system.
  • Learning Outcome 3: Evaluate if pager concepts would benefit a specific library. 

Who Should Attend

Reference supervisors and managers, library directors, and anyone with a shift on the reference desk. This would benefit all library types but will be from the perspective of an academic library.


Sharon Holderman is the Coordinator of Public Services at Tennessee Tech University’s library, which includes circulation, reference, instruction, ILL, tutoring, Class+, collection management, and marketing. Her past library position was library director of a small library, and in her pre-library life she was an academic advisor. Sharon's areas of focus include financial literacy, copyright, and library career assistance. 



Individual registration rates are as follows:

RUSA members: $45
ALA members: $50
ALA student & retired members: $25
Non-members: $65
Group rate: $99 single login, $38/person multiple logins. (min. 2 people)

How to Register

Register online


Tech Requirements

This webinar will be offered using Adobe Connect. Please ensure that you have Adobe Flash Player Version 10.1 or later on your computer. Audio for these sessions will be streamed over computer speakers and via a teleconference line. You will be able to ask questions and interact with the presenter and other webinar participants via chat.

You can test your settings to verify that your computer is configured properly to participate in this webinar.


Questions about your registration should be directed to 

Technical questions about the webinar should be directed to Jennifer Cross, RUSA Web Manager, at 

Thank you and we look forward to your participation!