Hi Saroj,

I'm not sure if this will help, but it is how we keep our statistics.  The following are examples of what fall into the three broad headings and then they types of questions under each.  Our circulation desk staff and our student assistants who work in an area behind our reference desk and take care of the technical issues are trained that if they are asked a question that falls outside of the General or Technical headings, they are to refer that person to a librarian.

I will also add that they are trained so that a question, while at first may be a general or technical question, can turn into a reference question.  They are trained to recognize when that happens and they refer the person to a librarian at that point.  An example of this would be a student who comes to the circ desk knowing they need a specific book and know the title.  Circ staff look it up and see that it is checked out or we don't have it.  Student wants to know what else do we have on that topic--staff should immediately refer them to a librarian who can assist from that point forward.

Being that the librarians sit in front of the student assistants tech desk, we are within ear shot of the questions they are answering, so it is a bit easier to jump in if we feel a student is attempting to answer a reference question, but our circ desk is directly across from our ref desk and there is a much wider distance and you cannot always hear what is being asked over there, so it is harder to intervene.

General Questions

“Where is/are…?”
“On what floor/shelf is…”

Known item request
“Do you have The Age of Enlightenment on video?”
“What time does the library close today?”
“May I please speak with…?”
“May I use the APA?”

Item not found on shelf
“I looked and I can’t find the book on the shelf.”

Other library services
“How do I do an interlibrary loan request?”
“Am I eligible to get a library card?”

Other campus services
“What time does the Keystone Dining Room close?”

Reference Questions

Research assistance
“I don’t understand my assignment…”
“I need help finding information about…”
“I don’t know how to use the catalog/databases…”

Use this if you need to refer the user to another subject librarian or back to their professor for clarification.

Technical Questions

Computer assistance
“I can’t figure out how to save my PowerPoint…”
“How do I access my e-mail account?”

Equipment assistance/problems
“I need help with the microfilm machine…”
“There is a paper jam in the printer…”
“The copier is acting up…”

“I don’t remember my password…”
“I can’t access my class in PLATO…”


Georgia R. Laudenslager
Department Head
Librarian for the School of Nursing & Health Sciences
Assistant Professor , Reference & Research Initiatives
Madigan Library
Pennsylvania College of Technology
One College Ave.
Williamsport, PA  17701
570-320-2400, ext. 7828
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-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of saroj
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 8:09 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Triage Process for Circulation/Loans Desk Team

Hi all

I am looking for a procedure or guide to assist circulation desk staff on when to refer a question to reference services, like a triage process from circulation to reference.

Has anyone seen anything like this before?

The idea is to provide circulation staff a wider understanding on what types of questions are asked by reference services so they will know when to escalate a question.

Thank you in advance,

Saroj Bhatia

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