CFL Student Employee Training

information for student employees

At the Desk

Studying during work hours is generally not permitted. Neither is reading magazines or other type of literature.

If you are allowed study time:

  1. Do not spread out across the entire space - go around the other side of the desk and see what that looks like; it doesn't meet our customer service standards!
  2. Do not put a laptop facing forward - again, see what it looks like from the other side; very unapproachable. Make sure it sits in front of the other computer.
  3. Leaving the desk to go study on work time is not allowed. 
  4. Never more than 1 hour
  5. Never more than 1 person at a time may be studying - if two of you have nothing to do, one will be sent home.

Never have them in at the desk! How can we listen to our patrons?

Even one in makes us look unapproachable.

Phones should only be out if there is an emergency or you have been given permission by a supervisor. This is part of your Approachability at the desk.

Libstats are to recorded after every interaction with a patron, excepting "may I check this book out?"  There are a few reasons for this:

  • Staff can be sure answers are given correctly (even for other staff!)
  • This is a place you can look back to if you want to see how others have answered questions
    • Just like the Red Binder / Daily Check In - you are expected to look back at what others have posted in LibStats. This is a good way to learn more about the library in general, as well as what types of questions are directional vs. reference (more on that below!).
  • We keep statistics on how many questions are asked at the desk. We used to do this when we had both an access and a reference desk as well!

This section is to clarify a few things you will need to know, but is not comprehensive. Some of this will be expanded on in the reference training session provided within the first two months of the fall semester.

  • The link is in Teams on the password document. Save this link to your task bar


  • Make sure you have Information Desk chosen

Patron Type

  • Sometimes it's hard to tell which category a person is in. Use your best judgement (or ask a co-worker!)

Question Types

  • Directional You will use this one the most often.
    • This is for any questions like:
      • Where is UIT?
      • Where is the bathroom?
      • Where do I find PS3561.I483 C8 1981b
    • It is also for questions like:
      • Can I have a white board marker?
      • What time do you close?
  • Tech Support
    • Printers, scanners, micro-film, -fiche, -card readers
    • If they ask for help on laptops, that becomes a REFERRED question
  • Lost and Found
    • If they ask if we have something and they claim it
      • Go back in and edit the libstat with an answer of "CLAIMED"
    • If they are LOOKING for something we don't have, get a description of the item, their name, and a contact
    • If something is turned in, record descriptively what it is, include the libstat # on the tag you put with the item
  • Reference
    • You may answer:
      • "Do you have Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary?"
      • "Do you have Cujo by Stephen King?"
      • Note that both examples mean you need to look up the call number in the catalog, as opposed to them having the exact call number and you just directing them somewhere!
    • You may NOT answer:
      • "Where are the Art books?"
      • "I'm looking for books on frogs."
  • Referred
    • These are questions from the "may not" section above. They look straight forward, which isn't true.
      • You don't know if they're looking for a biography of an artist, or something about architecture instead of painting, etc.
      • Are the frogs from a specific region? Do they want to know more about the habitat of indigenous animals in a specific area rather than just frogs? Maybe they don't even care about frogs; maybe they want to know about toads.
      • This is why you pass the vague and / or in-depth questions to either a PRC or a librarian.
  • ILL Verification (never use this - leave for the ILL specialists)
  • Patent Search (never use this - leave for the reference librarian in charge of patents and trademarks)

You will read more about reference questions and how they work in the tab about the reference department. However, when you work at the Information Desk, your job is NOT to answer reference questions.

Simple questions like "Where are the books about frogs" or "I just need an autobiography" are best referred to a PRC or librarian. There's more behind the question than you know!

Read the following document and show a staff member or senior when you have completed it.

If patrons need help with this, in the Libstat please put the word “Proxy” at the front. (Similar to if a lost and found item is recorded you should be putting the word “Lost” in the Libstat!).

Circulation Procedures

A large part of your job is going to involve 3 things:

  • Customer Service
  • Organizing materials for shelving
  • Shelving

The next two tabs "Do you have this book" and "how materials are shelves" will provide some introductory information. Be aware that most of the time, your answer to "do you have..." will be to pass the question to the PRCs or librarians - even after you are fully trained! Karlene can tell you more about why this is.

With customer service, you are expected to observe how the fully trained employees handle situations. We use a "culture of yes" which means we do our best to avoid saying things like can't, won't, don't, no, and "it's policy."