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Circulation & Access Services Community of Practice March 28 + Summary of Last Event

Circulation & Access Services Community of Practice March 28 + Summary of Last Event

In the fall of 2022, Core’s Circulation and Access Services Committee (CASC) began offering free Zoom-based “Community of Practice” discussions for circulation and access services workers. Each event centers on moderated discussions of three topics that CASC members solicit in advance from attendees. Our next Community of Practice will be a DEI-focused discussion on Thursday, March 28th at 1:00pm – 2:00pm CT, and we would love to have you join us! To give you a sense of what the discussions are like, this post is a recap of our Fall 2023 Community of Practice, which took place on October 25th.

The first topic of our October 25 discussion was “Course Reserves.” Some themes that emerged included the following:

  • Print course reserves usage has seemed to decrease in general since the onset of COVID and the corresponding increase of overall e-resource usage. A few attendees mentioned that their libraries also still offer e-reserves.
  • Faculty buy-in is critical for course reserves, particularly regarding print course reserves. Multiple attendees underscored difficulties with promoting course reserves to faculty or having faculty know what (and how) to tell their students about reserves resources. Other attendees, though, noted how faculty have advocated for reserves services and supported textbook-specific reserves initiatives. Another key here is having liaison librarians provide outreach to faculty in their areas about reserves, particularly early in the semester.
  • Support from campus bookstores is additionally important to course reserves, as several attendees noted obtaining textbook and required reading-related information from their bookstores. A couple of libraries are putting required readings on reserve automatically. Conversely, one attendee mentioned their library having a contract with the bookstore that prohibits outright purchases of textbooks.

The second topic was “The Future of Access Services,” at a time when many are seeing a shift away from traditional Access Services work. This prompted several areas of discussion:

  • Many attendees pointed out that this past semester has been the busiest for Access Services since the COVID pandemic. They are seeing an increase in gate counts, circulation, and overall usage and have had to allocate additional staff time and resources to these core services. While they are looking to the future of Access Services, there does not appear to be a reduction in tradition services.
  • Access Services workers are also engaging in many types of space rearrangement or refresher projects. Some have developed flexible and hybrid spaces for patrons with modular furniture and/or different private spaces where patrons can choose their preferred work environment.
  • Other attendees reported that their libraries are seeing the addition of makerspaces, recording and podcasting studios, and other creative spaces, with oversight duties  becoming a part of Access Services responsibilities.
  • Finally, group study room management was also brought up as an important area of focus within Access Services. Attendees asked for advice and shared their best practices in room reservations policies and procedures.

The third and final topic was the “Library of Things.” Several attendees shared information about the different collections of equipment, tools, and other helpful objects they circulate to support the success and well-being of their library users. Here are a few of the highlights from this discussion:

  • Laptops, chargers, and calculators remain popular items to circulate in libraries.
  • Anatomical models also remain a popular collection with several libraries.
  • Several attendees shared that their libraries are circulating technology such as recording equipment, digital cameras, tripods, virtual reality headsets, and projectors.
  • The topic of circulating board game collections led to attendees sharing helpful tips and strategies for keeping track of and replacing game pieces.
  • The more unique items that those in attendance circulate include seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lights, bike locks, video games and consoles, umbrellas, sewing machines, potted plants, and backpacks with state park passes, binoculars, and nature guides.