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BC Library Conference 2020

T12 - Understanding Library Service Models as a Representation of Values.

Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 1:45 PM–2:30 PM EDT
Meeting Room #2
Session Description

What does your service model convey to patrons and administrators? Does it clearly portray the range of services on offer? Does it articulate the values that your library espouses? Based on a 2019 study of academic library service models in British Columbia this session will explore themes of inclusivity, professional values, corporate university metrics in libraries and the future of front-line service delivery.

Library service points are critical for libraries to create inclusive spaces, as well as to deliver services. The work done by library workers at a service point is also the most visible library labour that our patrons see. It is of paramount importance to consider how we design these spaces and staff them in order to convey the range of service and expertise on offer in a contemporary academic library. Attendees will gain insight into the evolving practices of front-line service delivery in BC academic libraries. Attendees will also be challenged to consider the broader social context in which these services are understood by patrons. As a unique public good, libraries are positioned to contribute distinct value to a campus environment. How that value is presented to patrons and articulated by libraries will be discussed.

Post-secondary institutions are increasingly using corporate measures of performance to determine funding and success. Therefore, an ability to articulate and demonstrate unique library value is critically important. How do libraries represent our value to individuals patrons and to society in a neoliberal era of post-secondary and governmental decision-making? This is the fundamental question that I seek to analyze.


Barbara Sobol, UBC Okanagan

Barbara Sobol holds the position of Undergraduate Services Librarian at UBC Okanagan Library. Her responsibilities include oversight of the main library service point, coordination of staff training and student-led library programming, and liaison responsibilities for four subjects. In 2019, she conducted a province-wide study on academic library service models and has established a community of practice on this topic: