Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thank God for AV guys

I just wanted to send out a thank you to all the dedicated volunteers, staff and AV personnel who are working at the conference. I was convening Joan Giannone's session this morning on Roving Reference and the projector wouldn't show the output from her laptop. It took 20 minutes, 2 AV people, a quick sprint on my part to the OLA office and a walkie-talkie call from Jefferson to get the computer back up and running. It was quite an exciting morning, but I'm happy to report that both presenter and convenor were not scarred by this episode. In fact, I was quite impressed with the way Joan handled herself and presented her topic with ease.

Roving has been on the library radar for a while now, but the inspirational buzz seems to have come and gone. And I know I'm not the only one who has experienced a lull in my ability to leave the ref desk and talk to customers. There were a few session participants who expressed the same experience. Joan's presentation and the comments afterward offered some great tips on re-energizing staff:

- Clear expectations: outline why, where, when, who and how your staff are going to rove. If this means scheduling people to have on floor (strictly roving) and off floor time, then do it.
- Give them the right tools: PACs in the stacks, headsets, clipboards (with tally sheets), ID badges, etc. Give them anything they need to make the experience more effective.
- Work through obstacles and issues: Joan shared an exercise she uses called Group Chaos which involves role playing and creating opportunities for people to practice how they would approach various situations (I think this would work well, if revisited often by staff).
- One participant mentioned that pro-active service is noted in performance appraisals.
- Joan offers a series of follow-up emails, sessions and questions after her staff training sessions that keep staff interested in roving.

Roving is too important to keep in the back of our minds. We need a roving revival!

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