Greeters at the Library Entrance

Today is the first day of the fall semester here at Baruch College. From 9-10 this morning, I was scheduled to work as a greeter by the turnstiles at the entrance to the library. As students and faculty filed in, I greeted each one with, “Good morning! Welcome to the library.” I got lots of returned greetings, many smiles and nods of recognition, and nearly three dozen reference questions. I’m eager to hear from my colleagues who are doing the same thing throughout the day to see if they had the same good experience that I did.

When first asked to participate in this little project, I imagined it would mostly be an exercise in relationship building. I never imagined that I’d be helping the reference desk out by fielding so many questions.

5 Replies to “Greeters at the Library Entrance”

  1. What time does your library open? Between 9-10 how many people did you greet?

    Reminds me a bit of Japanese retail practices, I heard they stand at the door and welcome customers at the beginning of the day.

    I’m amazed you got 3 dozen reference questions, are they from people who you already have an existing relationship?

  2. The library is open from 7 am to 12 midnight seven days a week. The reference desk opens at 9 am. Between 9 am and 10 am, I probably greeted 70-80 people as they came in. The reference questions were really practical things: where do I go to borrow a graphing calculator for the semester; how do I find my textbook in the library; where are the photocopiers. No real research questions, though.

  3. At Berkeley we have a welcome desk for the first three days of the semester, at the entrance of the main library, which we staff from 10-3, I had some nice interactions during the four hours I staffed it, but few questions about the collections. Gave about three mini-introductions to the library system and helped a bunch of foreign visitors with their sightseeing plans! Still, I think it was worthwhile.

  4. We started doing this at Hunter a few semesters ago – we call it the Info Desk. Personally, I think it is really helpful to new students who walk in to this huge place and are totally lost. We answer a fair amount of reference questions there too, in addition to the directional stuff which eases the burden on the Reference Desk. I enjoy staffing the Info Desk a lot, as it gives me a chance to personally welcome students and help them see the library as a place to go when they need help, instead of a big, scary place they have to navigate on their own. Glad to hear our CUNY colleagues are doing this as well!

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