Survey 2010 comments: reference

Compliments - general

1. I am very satisfied with the library collection, the helpfulness of the staff, especially the resource librarians.

2. And the librarians at all the libraries have always been helpful and competent. Kudos to them all.

3. I think all the librarians at the U of C libraries are great people to interact with and do a great job.

4. I'm really floored by how helpful and accessible the librarians are!

5. I don't often have occasion to ask questions of subject specialists or staff at the reference desk, but on occasions when I have, they have been supremely helpful, not to mention courteous. They are probably under-utilized (at least by me) because the service they provide is great

6. the librarians are doing a good job. Keep it up.

7. Thanks for everything Librarians and staff!

8. I don't often have occasion to ask questions of subject specialists or staff at the reference desk, but on occasions when I have, they have been supremely helpful, not to mention courteous. They are probably under-utilized (at least by me) because the service they provide is great.

9. the library staff is, generally speaking, phenomenal, especially the research librarians. They are excellent and have always been able to point me in the right direction at Crerar and the Reg. It is clear the university has invested in the quality of its staff, and this is the most critical aspect of the library in helping my research. Thank you!!!!

10. As my coursework begins to slacken and I'm spending more time doing my own research and writing (for both dissertation and publishing) nearly all the above will move into the important or very important category; especially the subject specialists. In less than a year, I suspect the theology specialist will be on my Christmas card list.

11. Very satisfied because of collection and professionals

12. Talking with library subject area specialists is a nice service, but it does not help unless student has a very clear idea of what research question is.

13. Those who are already on staff have always done an outstanding job.

14. Staff at the reference desk are always very helpful.

15. i appreciate the fact that the librarians are prompt in returning emails and making purchase orders.

16. Librarians and staff are doing a great job!

17. The librarians are doing a great job and have tons of useful information.

18. But whenever I've needed help, it's been there.

19. I find interacting with library staff in person to be both more efficient and more pleasant. They do a great job. Graduate students should be encouraged to work more closely with subject specialists - and the Library should perhaps develop further this most valuable resource and personnel.

20. I believe very much in having library staff available for students. I have certainly consulted with reference librarians, but as a graduate student, my research questions are usually too specific to have garnered much more help. But as an undergraduate (at a different institution), I consulted frequently with reference librarians and now as an instructor, I will take advantage of this in directing student research.

21. However, subject specialists are extremely important because digital options (search or other) are not as good yet.

22. have also been really satisfied with the help I have received from the reference desk librarians.

23. At SSA, the reference librarian present during the week is very helpful.

24. ILL, book recall and book locating are just awesome, as well as the bibliographers who keep the collections up-to-date.

25. I have been interested in incorporating Zotero better into my research; having staff that are knowledgeable about all the latest digital archiving and markup tools is helpful.

26. I'm very impressed with the library research staff. While I don't use their services often (and so they are 'somewhat important', the few times that I have, they have been very helpful in making a search for materials more efficient and productive. I was particularly impressed with "Ask-a-librarian".

27. I have used the Ask-a-Librarian service several times of late for help in finding obscure materials for my dissertation and I would like to share that they have been extremely helpful and responsive.

28. Availability via e-mail and IM has been great.

29. I LOVE Ask-a-Librarian. The librarian I asked found an article that wasn't properly indexed in the Pro-Quest database. Amazing! I never would have been able to find it on my own.

30. I love the e-mail option for ask-a-librarian--very helpful and efficient at solving very specific problems!

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Compliments – specific

31. I highly value the reference librarians, the psychological test collection and their librarians, and would use more of their services if I knew how.

32. The East Asian specialist at the Reg is great! He is generally available, finds time to talk with you, and follows up on questions and topics of interest!

33. I have been very happy with the religion-related assistance I have received.

34. I am quite satisfied with this aspect of the library. Beth Bidlack is absolutely fantastic and has helped me on numerous occasions. I cannot say enough positive things about her!

35. I am quite satisfied with this aspect of the library. Beth Bidlack is absolutely fantastic and has helped me on numerous occasions. I cannot say enough positive things about her!

36. Beth Bidlack is an AMAZING resource and a fantastic librarian. She knows so much and is always willing to help. Catherine Mardikes is also helpful. The subject specialists and the special collections and ILL staff are the library's major assets -- whatever the library can do for them and their departments will improve my research.

37. Beth Bidlack is a great resource; she is always very willing to help, knowledgeable, and great to work with.

38. Beth Bidlack is very helpful to Divinity School students. Her workshops are great.

39. I am very satisfied with Religion-related specialist assistance, but not with Middle East-related assistance.

40. Even though I am an advanced graduate student and am embarrassed to say it, I need help managing and conducting searches using electronic catalogs and article databases. I get lost in keeping track of searches and knowing where to go next. Librarians (particularly Frank Conaway) have been particularly helpful AND available for consultation and that has made a huge difference. But, I am not sure what to do when I am not with a librarian.

41. I have always enjoyed the help of my subject specialist, Frank Conaway. Without this service, I would not have been able to get a hold of many of the materials required for important papers. I would like to see this service continue

42. Our departmental librarian (Mr. Suttner) does a stellar job!

43. June Farris has been indispensably helpful in my research!

44. I would just like to note that June Farris, the Slavic librarian, whom I've often consulted for help on various projects, is an extremely helpful person, who knows a huge amount about all aspects of Russian and Eastern European history.

45. It's nice to know that if I have a research question or am having trouble getting my hands on something, the library staff is always happy to help me. I appreciate having enthusiastic subject specialists (Sara Wenzel, esp.).

46. The librarians in charge of Chinese Studies are not helpful sometimes, except for Bill. One time I couldn't access an article online, two librarians tried once, failed, didn't know what to do (didn't seem to care about it either), gave up, directed me to Bill. Only Bill made an effort to try several times in different ways and still trying to solve the problem even after I left.

47. I just want to say that the regional specialists have been very important not only to me as a researcher, but they've proved amazingly valuable as a preceptor. I arranged for my sundergrad students to meet with them and have directed them to the library reference staff and ask-librarian.

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More help

48. Ask-a-Librarian is very important, unfortunately, they are offline all the times!

49. Ability to ask for help from a librarian (and have the questions answered) at night after the library has closed. Sometimes it is a simple question that stands in the way of finding resources or coming up empty, and I have had several late nights of asking for advice from fellow students only to get frustrated and give up.

50. Move even more to on-line assistance

51. Have a librarian available with the online chat all hours the library is open (I found that in the morning there is not usually someone available to ask quick questions)

52. It would be helpful if I could also deal directly with someone in my field who might know of sources in my subject area, as the Ask-the-Librarian service isn't trained to do this but has been extremely useful in helping me find materials I was already aware of.

53. Subject Specialists should be more active, they tend do not answer for e-mails.

54. This may exist - but subject specialists could do more to help students and faculty to stay current -- maybe there is data that could be shared about which books are most borrowed? It might be interesting too if there was some way to "subscribe" to on-line journals so you would be notified when a new issue came out. These kinds of ideas could lead to a personalized library home page that would have some rss feeds or the like with this sort of current state-of-the-field data. If copyright law allows, subject specialist could even upload a sample chapter .pdf of current high-demand books.

55. Also, sometimes I feel that when I talk to the reference librarian and try to reconstruct for them a basic search history, they don't quite trust me. I feel like I have basic facility with the databases and search engines available and I have a good sense of when I've reached a wall and need help. But often the reference librarian will basically retrace my very steps, hit the same wall, and not make particularly helpful recommendations. I realize that in some libraries just helping a patron search by title or by a title in quotation marks is helpful. But usually, for graduate students using a research library, there's a good chance that all the basics have been done. So I wish the reference librarian would just say "Go to ILL" or "Go to the bibliographer" instead of doing the exact same search I did only to conclude that I need to go to ILL. So maybe I would encourage all librarians who staff the reference desk to be a bit more trusting of someone who seems like they've done the basics. I know they get a variety of questions from all over the place and sometimes ,"Have you tried Google?" is actually helpful to the patron. But when someone begins to reconstruct a pretty detailed search history for you, trust that that person has some basic sense that they've come to you because they've exhausted the basic options.

56. hire more specialized librarians who are aware of the fields they work in, not just catalogers. I often regret asking a librarian anything, as they go through very basic options that I have already tried and seem to have no expert knowledge beyond what an advanced undergraduate would have. This is frustrating. My answers for #15 are in regards to "how important WOULD each service be" not how important they are, as I find guided research assistance totally inadaquate.

57. Office hours for library specialists when they would be expecting students to come in and consult with them for a significant amount of time.

58. Ability to ask for help from a librarian (and have the questions answered) at night after the library has closed. Sometimes it is a simple question that stands in the way of finding resources or coming up empty, and I have had several late nights of asking for advice from fellow students only to get frustrated and give up.

59. Make librarians in specialized subject areas easier to find. Have a prominent directory posted with offices and specialties

60. More physical help

61. i don’t often see the librarian i need when i am there in the middle of the day

62. have librarians available at circulation desks during normal business hours (until 6p would be great).

63. I would love to show someone my dissertation topic and say, "what data do we have that can help me conduct research on this" and get an actual answer.

64. Additional library staff who are research specialists would be welcome.

65. More access to librarians for help!

66. More physical help

67. I think the university could save some money by having fewer librarians.

68. I have had hit or miss experiences with other librarians.

69. all help from "specialists" is not worthwhile.

70. the reference librarians, even for special subject, aren't as knowledgeable about everything as I (unreasonably) hope they will be.

71. More experts in specific fields.

72. My answer to the third question isn't really valid as I don't have a subject specialist in my discipline

73. It would be nice for music to have separate bibliographers to handle the printed score and video/audio-recordings.

74. It would be very helpful to have someone on staff who was an expert with state and governmental records.

75. I consult with the Oriental Institute librarian because my field is too arcane for someone at the Reg to be able to help. I’m just glad to have that option and don't expect such a service from the Reg.

76. I would appreciate a more specific research guide for archaeology. The anthropology one is not sufficient for our purposes. I would utilize that resource (and the subject specialist) more if I felt it was likely to be useful.

77. There is a not a specific subject specialist for my area of research (Linguistics), so when I went to see the person they directed me to, I found that she did not have a good grasp of my subject. If there was someone specifically trained for what I study, that would help.

78. We ought to have a Linguistics bibliographer. I'm satisfied with the linguistics collection, but have no one to consult for research help.

79. Staffing someone in the SSA library with expertise in social work would be helpful.

80. At SSA, the reference librarian present during the week is very helpful. However, it is often difficult for me to be at the library for any amount of time during the week, and staff present on weekends are often not very knowledgeable/helpful.

81. I have tried to ask questions to librarians before in person and found them rude and unhelpful.

82. Librarians (at Regenstein especially) need some help with their interpersonal skills with students.

83. The librarians seemed hurried to get me to leave them alone

84. Sometimes the librarians at Crerar are noisy; holding full voice conversations while I'm trying to read.

85. I would just like to have more contact with the reference librarian and a chance to suggest materials that it would be important to have access to here, without resorting to ILL.

86. It would be good if we receive an answer when we suggest an acquisition - rarely do I know if it has been accepted or not.

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Lack of awareness

87. I have never gotten specific assistance from a subject specialist librarian, because I've never known exactly what they are supposed to do, or how specific their knowledge is, and the whole idea makes me generally nervous. It might be helpful for these librarians to have some kind of presence in graduate programs -- meeting new students, or being recommended by professors -- so they become part of the set of tools we learn how to use.

88. I would be interested in knowing more about what the subject librarian in my field (anthropology) actually does! Perhaps it would be worth doing more campus education in this area, like short presentations to the incoming graduate classes each year or some kind of informational email to circulate?

89. It would be nice to have the specialist librarians in areas where we can interact with them. I've been here for four years, and while I know who the specialist in my field is, I have never talked to her, in part because they are in areas where they are sealed off from the rest of the library.

90. I didn’t even know that there were subject specialist librarians! So tell us more about it.

91. I didn't know there was a subject specialist in my discipline!

92. I don't think I even knew there was a "subject specialist" in my discipline, so I suppose that could be better advertised.

93. I did not know about the subject specialist, but it sounds good!

94. I'm not exactly sure what I should use my subject area librarian for.

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