Reference Services Section RSS 2008 Annual Meeting Performance Isssues Discussion Group

COMMITTEE: Performance Issues for Reference/Information Librarians Discussion Group


CHAIRPERSON: Lori Thornton; Incoming Chair: Crystal Lentz

DATES: June 30, 2008

EMAIL: and

MEMBERSPRESENT: Crystal Lentz, Ryan Johnson, Jamie Hazlitt, Necia Parker-Gibson, Linda Seckelson, Colleen Seale



OBJECTIVES: To provide a forum for the informal exchange of information and the discussion of common challenges relating to performance issues in reference services; to serve as a vehicle for raising awareness of performance standards and their use in the provision of quality reference service.

SUMMARY: The group was welcomed by the incoming chair and a sign-in sheet was passed around. An informal, free flowing discussion began, continued for the full two hour time period, and covered the following topics: hiring; consolidation of service points; using paraprofessionals or students at a desk – training, identify non-librarians?; how to deal with a librarian who is good at doing research in print sources, but who is not willing to go far enough with technology; generational issues; how to assess/evaluate reference transactions and performance – READS Scale, WORAP, evaluation is needed at the end of the semester, not just at the end of the bibliographic instruction session; passive-aggressive staff; reference statistics up or down?; future of the catalog. The incoming chair adjourned the group at the end of two hours and mentioned that the group will meet again at Midwinter. Turnout was much lower than in the past. The meeting day and time did not change from previous conferences; perhaps location played a role.

EVALUATION: Very good – there was much informal exchange of information and discussion of common challenges.