I always forget to use some of the most useful resources at the reference desk. So here’s a reminder to me: maps are useful things, they’re also handily next to the reference desk computer, so remember to use them when appropriate.
One of my co-workers came up with the brilliant idea of shrinking down our library maps to two sizes. There’s an 8.5×11 laminated size (on which we can write with dry-erase markers), and the note-pad size (on which we can write with anything we want).
These are most useful when you’re deep in a complicated question and another student has a “where is this call number” question, though it’s probably prudent to figure out if the second student understands how to read call numbers in the first place or if it’s simply a matter of figuring out where in the building that call number range might be.
One of my co-workers also put an “x” over the spot where a particular microfilm collection lives in the library and then handed out this annotated version of the notepads to each student in a class that was learning to use that particular collection.
But somehow I always forget about these handy things until just after the student leaves the desk having heard my verbal directions. No longer. I pledge to remember that these maps exist and to use them when appropriate. However, I also pledge not to use them when it seems that the student might benefit with a bit of company down into the stacks. That tramp down the stairs is a wonderful excuse to do a little bit of an extra reference interviewing.