Meet your Library Staff: User Services
User Services Team Members: Kristian, Audrey, Janis and Jennifer
Can you tell us a bit about what your team does in the Library?
We cover a lot of public services activities that directly benefit users like:
- Request materials from other libraries
- Manage course reserves
- Mail out materials to remote learners
Our back-office work includes administering patron accounts, setting lending rules for physical items, reviewing usage and visitor data to guide service and space planning, and scheduling staff on our Information Desk.
What is the most rewarding aspect of this type of library work?
Working with patrons in our library is the most rewarding thing we do. By the time a patron comes to us with a question they’re often feeling a bit lost or overwhelmed. We have a lot of services and provide access to a lot of information. It’s a lot to take in. For us, it’s always rewarding to see the relief that comes over a patron when we’re able to help set them on the right path.
What is the most challenging aspect of this type of library work?
The most challenging part of our work is engaging with the patrons in our library. Patrons come to us with a variety of needs, prior experience with libraries and comfort with tools and services we offer. It’s always a challenge – though a rewarding one – to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the many people working and studying at SAIT.
What is the most common misconception that people have about the Reg Erhardt Library? How do you try to change that perception?
That there are ‘dumb’ questions. Our friendly staff are here to provide answers and all questions are welcome. If a patron doesn’t know how a service works or where to find the information they need. We’re challenging this by having many avenues for patrons to reach us. So that, if they’re unsure about their question, they can ask anonymously on chat, a bit removed through email, or get that more personal connection through a phone call or in-person visit.
Can you tell us 3 key messages that you think people should know about the Reg Erhardt Library?
- We’ve offered virtual services throughout the pandemic and had curbside services through most of SAIT’s closure.
- We have a collection of current course textbooks for 4-hour loan.
- We have materials to help you take a break from studying, like: fiction, graphic novels, games and Lego.
What is a recent project your team has worked on?
We recently completed a big project to review all our lending rules and client account policies. The end result being a more generous framework for borrowing that is easier for patrons to understand and removing overdue fines for some loans.
What challenges did you or your team have to overcome because of COVID-19? Can you give specific examples of how your team responded to the pandemic?
We’re regularly resetting the library space (moving furniture, adding or removing signs) and adjusting services (switching between virtual only, curbside and in-person service) to accommodate changing COVID restrictions.
Several our team members worked regularly in the library – when most other library staff were working from home – to maintain services through SAIT’s closure.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your team?
Everyone on our team are graduates of SAIT’s Library Information Technology program. We have a lot of experience in library work. Collectively, we have 74 years of SAIT library experience. And, many of us started here at SAIT as student shelvers.