Staff at the Information Desk work with patrons to obtain the best possible information appropriate to their needs. This reference work is instructional because it imparts to the patron knowledge and skills needed to locate information as well as judgment in deciding its quality and relevance.
Research issues addressed in reference work range in scope and complexity from simple efforts to find a few articles on a topic to developing research strategies and using data sets. More sophisticated needs may require referral of a patron to a subject librarian or even specialist in another part of the University. The mission of the library, the needs of the patron, and the professional judgment of the Information Desk personnel will usually determine the appropriate level of service.
In addition to working on research issues, staff at the Information Desk do provide information about the Library and the University, such as the location of various departments, hours of service, or policies on lending books and equipment. Staff also provide basic factual information needed for pursuing research projects.
To accomplish their tasks staff at the Desk use other mediums besides talking to patrons in person, including telephone, instant messaging, e-mail, and several social media services. The staff decide if the medium used in the initial contact is adequate for supporting the communication required to address the patron’s needs.
Staff at the Information Desk are available to assist patrons with the core library resources, whether print or digital in format, including databases and online catalogs. In addition, Desk staff provide minor maintenance and trouble shooting for key software and hardware available in the Raynor Memorial Library and circulated by the Digital Scholarship Lab. These items and programs namely include: Library’s public computers (Mac and PC), PrintWise machines, scanners, DMS laptops (Mac and PC), DMS digital photo cameras, DMS video cameras, DMS audio recorders, DMS iPads, DMS external hard drives, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Acrobat.
The Digital Scholarship Lab refers to a space and set of services available to current Marquette University students for the purpose of creating projects in multi-media formats. Though there is overlap in the services of the DMS and Information Desk, it may not be the case that Information Desk staff are fully trained in all of the software and hardware associated with the DMS.
For advanced tutorials or questions, referral for a Media Consultation with a trained DMS student assistant or staff member may be necessary. In the event of an advanced need or one that is not within the realm of the Libraries’ service and specialization, it may be most appropriate to refer a patron to a specialist in another part of the University.