Lawrence university and the seeley g mudd library
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Lawrence University and the Seeley G. Mudd Library. Private undergraduate college of the liberal arts and sciences with a conservatory of music 1450 students, 98% live on campus 170 FTE faculty, 97% with PhD or terminal degree Calendar of three 10-week terms, no summer session

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Lawrence University and the Seeley G. Mudd Library

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Lawrence university and the seeley g mudd library

Lawrence University and the Seeley G. Mudd Library

  • Private undergraduate college of the liberal arts and sciences with a conservatory of music

  • 1450 students, 98% live on campus

  • 170 FTE faculty, 97% with PhD or terminal degree

  • Calendar of three 10-week terms, no summer session

  • Library staff: 15.5 FTE (8 MLS, 9 other); approximately 50 student employees

  • Collections:

    • 400,000 book volumes

    • 1,800 periodical subscriptions

    • 20,000 audio-visual items

    • 14,000 musical scores


In the beginning was the stroke

In the Beginning was the Stroke

  • And the stroke was good . . .

    • Quick!

    • Cheap!

  • But limited

    • Inconsistent

    • Didn’t reflect effort

    • Lots of time required to tabulate

    • Didn’t tell us anything about the questions


It s not what you know

It’s not what you know . . .

  • November 2006: we were contacted by Bella Gerlich, friend and former colleague of our Music Librarian, Antoinette Powell, about being a part of the READ study

  • This was a timely coincidence

    • Lawrence’s upcoming NCA visit

    • Reference zeitgeist


First step calibrating the scale

First step: calibrating the scale

  • Customized the questions

  • Each librarian answered the questions, recording sources and process used and amount of time spent, then assigned a rating from the READ scale

  • Librarians met and discussed our answers, our process, and our ratings

  • Also proved to be a very useful process in terms of staff development


The study feb 2 24 2007

The study: Feb. 2 - 24, 2007

  • Used a paper form (just like our old form, only bigger)

  • Placed a paper copy of the scale at the reference desk on the same clipboard we used for the tally sheets

  • Counted number of digits as though they were strokes to fit into our previous recording scheme


Immediately after the study

Immediately after the study

  • We found that the READ scale was easy enough to adopt that we just continued to use it for the rest of the term, then the rest of the year

  • Use of the scale helped us value, as well as evaluate, our work at the reference desk. We found we were answering many more complex questions than we assumed.


Follow up our adaptations

Follow-up: our adaptations

  • Fall 2007: started using an Excel spreadsheet saved on shared file space. File names were included on our reference Moodle space

  • Included room to record the content of the questions

  • Spring 2008: included formulas in the spreadsheet to total as we go


Ongoing challenges

Ongoing challenges

  • “Ratings drift:” we still seem to underrate our questions

    • One response: include a copy of the scale as a tab in the spreadsheet

  • Slight decline in total number of questions

    • Slightly fewer questions recorded with the READ scale, probably because we were double-counting for complicated questions in the tickmark method

    • May also be due to increase in the number of reference appointments

  • Acceptance


Future use of the read scale

Future use of the READ scale

  • Will look to see if the level of questions fluctuates from term to term or over the course of a year

  • May use to determine staffing

  • Helps provide evidence of reference as teaching

  • Advocacy with faculty and administration


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