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Negotiating Intersecting Worlds

The librarians here at Carleton (and I’m sure at many other institutions) live right on the border between the world of faculty and students and the world of the other staff on campus. Especially here, where librarians are not faculty but tag along to many faculty functions, and where class schedules are not paced to start at the top of the hour, and where we’re involved with many other campus and library staff, we find ourselves having to juggle everything from vocabularies to schedules multiple times per day.

This term we’re trying something a little new. It’ll probably be a little trickier for us, but we’re hoping that it works better for faculty and students. This term we’re reorganizing our reference desk shifts to match up with the class schedule. This means that some shifts start at odd times (like 12:20 or 1:40), which will be at odds with meetings we have with other staff both here and at St. Olaf but which might make it easier for students and faculty to look at our schedules and see where our free time matches with theirs, and it might make it easier for us to visit classes without finding desk subs for 20 minutes or half an hour of our shifts.

Or it could end up just being a pain in the neck. But figuring that out is what pilot projects are all about, right?

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  1. That’s funny; we’ve been talking this past month about doing the same thing as a way to see if we can begin approaching reference work the same way we’ve prepare for workshops and courses we teach (“Oh, hey, I’ve gotta run. I’m teaching at the reference desk today from 12:25 to 2:30.”)

  2. Iris Iris

    If you try it out, I’d be really interested to hear how it works for you. Once (if?) we get used to talking about our shifts that way it could actually be really nice, because each class period has a name, so we could say, “Gotta run, I spend 3a at the Research/IT desk.”

  3. Megan Megan

    I have floated this a few times with my colleagues, but there seems to be a lot of hesitation about it. I’ll be interested to hear how your pilot goes.

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