3 reasons why Info / Ref Desk stats are important


  1. Tells you whether your Information/Reference Services desk are utilized or NOT.  Well , if no one comes to the InfoDesk to ask questions it could mean a few things: either it is positioned in a non-strategic place in the library or it’s redundant as your users could be asking questions via email/live chat/social media.   Perhaps its time to start the roving library staff services.
  2. Informs you what kind of question(s) your users are asking.  If you are getting a lot of directional questions, perhaps its time to start a user experience study on the library signages.  Check out this interesting article:  Signage by Design: A Design-Thinking Approach to Library User Experience
  3. Indicator showing the peak period when users ‘visit’ the Info/Ref Desk to ask questions.  For example, our library uses Ref Analytics (part of LibAnswers product by Springshare) to record all the questions we get at the InfoDesk.  From the RefAnalytics stats feature, we can tabulate data according to the peak periods by month, day, and time.  This information helps our Reference Coordinator to plan the InfoDesk schedules accordingly.

Out of curiosity, have any libraries do away with their Info/Ref Desks and replaced them with other innovative methods?

Sundays are important …


Why? Well, the library gets the most number of questions via LibAnswers on Sundays especially between 9am- 12pm.  Most questions that the library received revolved around the electronic resources issues as well as circulation issues.

Drilling down further the e-resources issues: they are mostly related to access issues such as broken links, site maintenance, links that went to a different location altogether etc etc.

With all these data, what can the library do to improve their services:

I thought of the following:

  • Knowledge audit of library staff on Reference services. Assist those that need further help by sending them for courses/webinars/conferences.
  • Mentorship for new library staff to understand the importance of Reference work
  • Create more LibGuides to address the frequently asked questions
  • Implement other avenues of submitting questions such as social media: Twitter and Facebook

More can be found in my slides here.