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Reference Service: dealing with challenges at work!

Written by helen.okpala

Dealing with clients (or what we usually call library users, patrons or readers) comes with various challenges. I am yet gaining experience as a Reference Librarian whose duty is to ensure users’queries are matched with the right resource. Traditionally, I have been a Cataloguer and a Serials Librarian but have never encountered any difficulty in locating materials for users like today.

It happened that a user (a first year student) came to access materials on the topic: Electronic Biosensor and in our usual practice, I asked him to tear out a sheet of paper and make a request stating his details including his topic. Using the request sheet, I offered him the index to ‘Encyclopedia of Science and Technology‘ In the index was found the volume and page numbers to the term (see pic below).

reference service, biosensor, encyclopedia of science and technology

To my greatest chagrin, I went to the shelf and found that volume 3 was missing out of the volumes available. (see pic below). It was devastating as I couldn’t solve the immediate problem of that user. But guess what? I eventually offered him the older volume of same encyclopedia. That solved it for me!

*Librarian’s Tip: Always look out for alternative volumes or resources for your users. Don’t let them go empty handed!

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