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Information Services & Resources

Best Practices

Service and turnaround time

When you are working in the Dashboard, please remember that both ISR and Circulation staff are working within the same dash. 

For detailed information, please consult LibAnswers Best Practices and Training guide.

New member orientation

Consider these documents and approaches:

Email Protocol

Greet patron, include a generic notice of thanks for using the service, and then refer directly to the subject of patron's inquiry.

When providing information, take advantage of existing links to resources & sevices, and FAQs. You may create screenshots to enhance instruction. Cite sources fully.

A signature should be a part of every closure. Use your name and service group name, and any other information you deem appropriate. 
Examples:  "We hope the information we've provided will assist with your research"; "I hope you find this information helpful"; "We hope this answers your question.  If you have further questions, please contact us again and we will be glad to provide additional assistance..."  (International Federation of Library Associations, 2005)


1. Identify status of patrons:
Check WatIAM White pages to determine client’s status. Clients will be categorized under the following:

(a) Primary patrons: UWaterloo faculty, students, staff
(b) Secondary patrons: UWaterloo alumni, community members
(c) Others: persons from outside the greater city area

2. Handling questions:
(a) Primary patrons: respond to queries in similar manner as when dealing with queries at help desks. Refer questions as appropriate.

(b) Secondary patrons: respond to queries and refer as appropriate. Depending on the nature of the question referrals may be to other Library/University Departments or Public Library.

(c) Others: Your reply may not be in-depth, but try to provide some help/links using your judgement. Note: questions relating to unique or specific UWaterloo collections should be addressed or referred, as appropriate.

3. Referrals:
Often questions may need to be referred to liaison librarians, other library departments or specific individuals. See the most common email aliases on our homepage.

Note: Always notify patrons that their request has been referred and provide contact information. Do not encourage a specific time-line expectation, as referrals might not result in immediate action by the 3rd party due to availability. Always contact/check with liaison librarians by subject or other individuals to make sure the referral is appropriate or to notify them of the referral.

4. Responding to Questions:
The service provided will be similar to that given at the help desk. Disclaimer: medical and legal advice is not provided. The types of responses may include:

5. Further Course of Action:
If the patron has a complex information request and requires detailed instruction:

Note: Always provide contact information in your response.

6. Service schedule:
Check the Schedule to find out when the members are scheduled.

April 28, 2017