Why not ask for "Help"?

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    • #1027
      Sarah Ross
      Participant

      My review is of a reference service and is based upon being a regular user of my local Brisbane City Council’s (BCC) library and of BCC Library Services.  My own attitude to asking for help is “why not?”  If someone else has greater expertise, why not use that service?  It was interesting to see that the majority on Twitter chat seemed to prefer to do most of the work themselves.  Twitter chat also revealed a fear of “asking a stupid question” or of “being a nuisance” – Mellon’s theory of “library anxiety”.  This raises the question of whether people have had a bad experience using reference services previously.

      Brisbane City Council Library Services 2015

      The two main interactions I have with this BCC library’s services are online through their Ask a Librarian service and in person at my local library’s front desk.  The Ask a Librarian page includes suggesting in person queries but also offers things like live chat, e-mail and telephone.  There is also a list of FAQs on the page so you can stop yourself from asking that silly question.  I use their live chat service the most and find it useful for general technical inquiries (inability to reserve a certain book and for more complicated questions e.g. books about nursing in WW1 (my search technique was the problem)).  In person inquiries are usually of a more technical nature e.g. inability to self-check out a CD.

      Ask a Librarian, BCC Library Services 2015

      In all these reference transactions I have never felt stupid or a nuisance.  All my enquiries have been answered satisfactorily and in a timely fashion.  However, if the patrons of BCC library services have feelings similar to those expressed in Twitter chat, this excellent service may not be fully utilised.

      Barriers to effective and efficient use of academic and public library reference services have been examined.  Service awareness and literacies, especially digital literacy skills, have been identified as particular barriers in public library settings.  BCC’s library website is quite easy to navigate but Ask a Librarian hides a lot more information than is obvious from the title – for some people they may actually have to ask a librarian to find out what is available to help them.  My local library does run computer literacy courses but to readily find out about them you have to access the website.

      The BCC library reference services and my local BCC library reference service have been useful and productive for me and the staff have been both effective and efficient.  I have had a good library reference service experience but wish it was just called “Help”.

      • This topic was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Sarah Ross. Reason: Adding reference hyperlinks
      • This topic was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Sarah Ross.
      • This topic was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Sarah Ross. Reason: Inserting images
      • This topic was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Sarah Ross. Reason: minor grammar corrections
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    • #1108

      Hi Sarah, do you need a hand with inserting the llinks for your references? You just need to click “edit”, then highlight the words you want to link and click on the link icon on the tool bar and it guides you from there. I found it best to do this in the “Visual” tab, rather than the “Text” tab. Anyway, give me a shout if you need a hand!

      Like you, I would be in favour of “Help” but I’m one of those people who likes to try and do things myself right up to the point where I’m absolutely stuck and really do need the help. It’s great to hear about positive library experiences and I too use the Ask a Librarian service at QUT, whic has been very helpful. Keep asking your questions, you’re doing the right thing!

      • #1111
        Sarah Ross
        Participant

        Thanks so much for your help, Robynne – I will give it a go!

    • #1305
      Caitlin .
      Participant

      Hi Sarah,

      I agree many seemed to be a little anti the idea of asking for help for fear of building a dependence or laziness and inhibiting the users need to build skills. Do you think their is a difference in this case between academic libraries servicing students and those aimed at the general public? i.e students should be building these skills for themselves while the general public may only be occasional users. Do you believe that your interactions has contributed to your own ‘information literacy’ and that the questions you are asking a becoming more specialised and focused as you build skills.

      I enjoyed your post

      Caitlin

    • #1306
      Caitlin .
      Participant

      Hi Sarah,

      I agree many seemed to be a little anti the idea of asking for help for fear of building a dependence or laziness and inhibiting the users need to build skills. Do you think their is a difference in this case between academic libraries servicing students and those aimed at the general public? i.e students should be building these skills for themselves while the general public may only be occasional users. Do you believe that your interactions has contributed to your own ‘information literacy’ and that the questions you are asking a becoming more specialised and focused as you build skills.

      I enjoyed your post

      Caitlin

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