Full Record – Author

Ref Type: Journal Article

Authors: Coffman,Steve, Saxton,Matthew L.,

Title: Staffing the reference desk in the largely-digital library

Publication Full: The Reference Librarian

Year: 1999 Volume: 31 Issue: 66

Start Page: 141 Other Pages: 163

Descriptors: PUBLIC libraries, DIGITAL libraries, TELECOMMUNICATION in libraries, LIBRARY information networks — United States, UNITED States, Efficiency, Models, Productivity,


Examines how a centralized, networked reference service might improve efficiency and reduce costs by addressing two long-standing and seemingly intractable problems associated with the reference process: (1) that librarians spend only a small portion of their time at the reference desk actually answering questions; and (2) that many of the questions they do answer could be handled by paraprofessionals. Explores the feasibility of a live, centralized, networked reference service in a library setting by comparing traditional reference services at the Los Angeles County Public Library with a commercial inbound call center designed to handle the same volume of questions. Applies Erlang C, the standard algorithm used to calculate staffing requirements for commercial call centers, and finds that a networked reference service based on a call center model could reduce the reference staff requirements at the Los Angeles County Public Library by 42% or more. Concludes that networked reference services offer a truly revolutionary potential.


M3: Article; Coffman, Steve; Saxton, Matthew L.; Source Info: 1999, Issue 66, p141; Note: Publisher: Haworth Press, Inc.; Note: Update Code: 3410; Subject Term: PUBLIC libraries; Subject Term: DIGITAL libraries; Subject Term: TELECOMMUNICATION in libraries; Subject Term: LIBRARY information networks — United States; Subject Term: UNITED States; Author-Supplied Keyword: Efficiency; Author-Supplied Keyword: Models; Author-Supplied Keyword: Productivity; Number of Pages: 23p; Illustrations: 4 charts, 1 diagram. Document Type: Article

Links: NULL

Extra Data: NULL


Retrieved Date:January 1, 1970

Editors: NULL

Book Title: NULL

Series Title: NULL

Publisher: Haworth Press, Inc

Place Of Publication: NULL

Issn Isbn: 2763877