RUSA Reference Services Section RSS Performance Issues Discussion Group Midwinter Highlights

COMMITTEE: Performance Issues of Reference & Information Librarians Discussion Group

SECTION: Reference Services

CHAIRPERSON: Lori Thornton

DATES: January 14, 2008


MEMBERS PRESENT: Members present: Lori Thornton, Joanne Bessler, David Calvanico, Eric Zino, Carrie Gits, Betsy Jayasoriya, Elliot Appelbaum, Ryan Johnson, Susan Kraat, Hannah Bennett, Phil Jones, Evan Struble, Shelby A-Comeau, Carol Howe, Vicki Phillips, Beth Avery, Curley Jones, Flora Shrode, Irwin Allner, Margaret Bull, Joyce Watson, Felix Unaeze, Robyn Huff-Eibl, Colleen Seale, Cindy Maxey, Linda Seckelson, Dave Tyckoson, Matthew McNulty, Pamela Harris

MEMBERS ABSENT: Members absent:

VISITORS: Visitors:

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 chair. The chair passed around a sign-in sheet and the attendees introduced themselves. The chair made a call for discussion topics of interest to the group and also made a few suggestions based on the hot topics surrounding reference service that she had encountered in the past two days at the conference. Free flowing discussion began, continued for the full two hour time period, and covered the following topics: organizational development - how do we distinguish between high expectations or top performance and satisfactory performance, what is exceptional performance; what is sub-par performance and what do we do about it; what is para-professional excellent performance and how do we handle referral to professionals or how do we assure that referral is happening at the appropriate time; how are we handling the combining of desks into single service points; what criteria are we using to evaluate performance, self review methods; how are we evaluating outreach and other activities away from the desk, how are we handling academic environment challenges with faculty and departments; how are we evaluating social networking skills or risk taking, is that a measure of top performance; how do we handle a technologically challenged and tenured professional, how do we help that person succeed, when do we give-up, what then or how to use the good skills of that person in a positive way for them and the library. The chair adjourned the group at ten minutes to the hour and thanked the attendees. The chair announced that she will use the email contact information given on the sign-in sheet to keep the group informed about future meetings.

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