StaffGuide: User Services

Information to remember, Working During COVID-19

remember to be respectful to others, and be sure to take the necessary precautions and following guidance:

  • Practice frequent handwashing with soap and water, especially after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose. Hand sanitizing stations will be made available in all campus buildings.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.
  • Avoid handshakes, high-fives, fist-bumps, and similar greetings.
  • Cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands or cough and sneeze into your elbow instead of your hand.
  • Be aware of COVID-19 symptoms (
    • Employees who develop symptoms should stay home, limit contact with others, and contact their health care provider.
    • If you believe an employee may be ill or displaying symptoms of COVID-19, contact Human Resources. Human Resources personnel will assist you in addressing the concern.

Don't forget a proper face mask!

Mask must be worn at all times inside the building and working.If you forgot your mask at home, a disposable mask can be supplied for the day.

FAQ - Circulation Training

For information about library updates and Library Covid-19 policies?

University Libraries Fall 2020 Updates

University Library's COVID-19 FAQs

Can I take my training materials home?

Yes, you may take the materials with you in order to read over and refresh your memory, but all training must take place during scheduled work hours only.Most training materials can be accessed online.

Can I use my assigned locker when I’m not scheduled to work?

Yes, when a locker is assigned to you, it may be used at any time during your employment in User Services department.

How do I forward telephone calls?

Phone use and policies will be covered in your training. If any additional information or assistance is needed after training, simply ask one of your co-workers or supervisors for assistance.

Can I eat and/or drink at the desk?

You are allowed to have a closed container beverage nearby while working the desk, but it must be kept out of view. You may not have food of any kind at the Help Desk.  

Can I do homework at the Desk?

Only after all other assigned library work is complete; those working the desk may do some studying and homework at the desk. Desk priorities take priority over any personal work.

Training Outline Sections

Section 1 / Getting Started:

Trainer: Introduce yourself and welcome the trainee to the library. (Keep explanations concise)
We are glad to have you as part of the Mullins Library team. What is User Service’s role in the library? What we are expected to do? Patron interaction, check items in/out, handle items of other departments, and display professionalism at all times.

Trainer: Before proceeding with training, be sure to start off by showing the employee where they may leave their personal items.

  • Review dress code policy and confirm trainee has signed “Dress Code for Academic and Research Services” form in Human Resources (HR) office.
  • Review work schedule
  • Review User Services Attendance Policy
  • Assign locker if desired (Trainer: Email locker request to User Services Librarian)
  • Introduce to User Services staff, acquaint with the department. (Part 1)
  • Review information on Library of Congress call numbers
    • Reading Located: StaffGuides >User Services > Circulation Training > Shelf Reading and Call Numbers.
    • Run LC Easy computer program and take the quiz. SCORE:______
  • Review any questions they may have about call numbers and section 1 training, before moving on.

Full training document below

Section 2 / Foundation:

Be it new or returning to User Services we look forward to working with you this semester. Below is a brief list of some of what is expected of each of you as you work in User Services, which includes but is not limited to what is listed below.

  • Desk Priorities:
    • Assist Patrons in person and by phone
    • Answer and Transfer phone calls
    • Check-in / Checkout items
    • Shelve and maintain organization of reserve, Interlibrary Loan (ILL), and Hold items
    • Double-check and sensitize items
    • Reserve Shelf reading
    • Special projects as assigned
  • Introduce to Circulation Department staff, acquaint with the department. (Part 2)
  • Introduce to Alma
  • Introduce to Online Catalog
  • Review telephone policies and practice telephone procedures.
  • LibInsight
    • Logging into
  • LibInsight
    • What stats to Enter?
      • Directional
      • Reference

Full training document below - 

Section 3 / Starting at Desk(s):

  • Desk Priorities: (Review)
    • Assist Patrons / Phone calls / Check-in / Checkout / Maintain reserve, ILL, Hold items / Double check and sensitize items / Reserve Shelf reading / Special projects as assigned
  • Introduction to the Desk(s)
    • Main Help Desk – This is the primary desk for User Services in answering questions, giving directions, and circulating materials. When working this desk, you must be knowledgeable and ready to help at this desk and other areas throughout the University Libraries.
    • General areas to know:
      • 1st: Special Collections, Digital Services, and Quiet study space in the general area.
      • 2nd: The main library floor, reading Rooms (Walton and Hodges Reading room), Multimedia Services Periodicals, and Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
      • 3rd: Faculty Reading Room (329) & Graduate Reading Room (333), Quiet Study floor.
      • 4th: Admin Suite, Library HR, Research and Learning Suite, Consultation Rms, Seminar Rms, Instruction Rms, and 470 (Dean’s Conference Room).
    • Library Stations: 2nd (Main) Floor
      • KIC Scanners (Main Lobby, Multimedia Desk / Hodges Reading room)
      • Print Stations (Main Lobby, North Lobby)
  • Online catalog - Continued
  • Practice looking up items:
  • Introduction to Alma – Continued
    • Read over on StaffGuides  
    • Practice (and discuss) the following
      • Checking In/Out different item types.
      • Lookup a patron record (Use the Trainee’s patron record)
      • Search item record(s)
  • Introduction to LibInsight and LibCal
  • LibInsight
  • LibInsight
    • What stats to Enter?
      • Directional
      • Reference
      • Patron Requested Items
      • Guest patron log-ins

Full training document below - 

Section 4 / specific duties for each desk:

When working at any of the User Services Desks it is all of our responsibilities to offer the best service possible. But, we all have tasks that we must complete as individuals and the following will list some of those task(s) that are meant to be completed in a timely fashion by all hourly and work-study employees.Task(s) that should be completed during a shift, before working on personal items.

  • Desk Priorities: (Review)
    • Assist Patrons / Phone calls / Check-in / Check out / Maintain reserve, ILL, Hold items / Double check and sensitize items / Reserve Shelf reading / Special projects as assigned

  • Help Desk:
  • Shelf Reading (Holds, ILL, and Course Reserve Shelves)
  • Process completed Carts for shelving throughout the day
  • Put away all items into its proper place
  • Maintain the desk/work station(s) to ensure it is ready for work
  • Check to make sure all keys and accessories are where they should be and checked in.


  • Multimedia DeskThis desk’s primary function is to assist with the patron’s use of the multimedia and periodicals room and the equipment contained. Answer any questions that may arise and direct patrons when needed. Any questions and/or Task(s) in that area/department should be referred to Multimedia trained staff.


Use the following lists to help guide hourly and Workstudy employees. These documents are to assist with where part-time employees should focus their time. These tasks should be done at the start of a shift or during times when they are not working on an assigned task or helping a patron. Daily tasks that should be completed during each shift.

Desk Priorities: (Keep in mind as you work)

  • Assist Patrons in person and by phone
  • Answer and Transfer phone calls
  • Make referrals to librarians and University Libraries staff
  • Check-in / Check out items
  • Shelve and maintain organization of reserve, ILL, and hold items
  • Double check and sensitize items
  • Special projects as assigned

*The completion of any assigned duty or task during your shift does not absolve anyone person from trying to complete any other tasks or duties that need to be done during their assigned shift. If ever you find yourself overwhelmed or unable to complete any task within your shift be sure to bring it to the attention of your co-workers and/or supervisor so the task may be completed in a timely fashion, by those that are still working. We are a team, and a team supports one another to achieve success, so let us succeed together.

Full document below - 

Shelf Reading and Call Numbers

Shelf-reading and Stack Maintenance

Shelf-reading – The act of examining the arrangement of books and other materials in the stacks of a library to make sure that all items are in precise call number sequence. Usually performed by a library staff member. It includes reading each call number in order to ensure that the books are properly shelved.

Why we shelf read: User Services staff is responsible for processing and/or maintaining Course reserves, Holds, and Interlibrary Loans (when on hold-shelf). It is inevitable that every worker will at some point accidentally misshelve a book and due to the frequency of use items become disorganized over time. User services staff uses shelf-reading as a process of verifying that materials are in their correct position on the Hold and Course Reserve shelves. By shelf reading and straightening throughout the day, it helps to cut down on mistakes, overlooked or misplaced items and allows for efficient service.

How to shelf read – Move through the stacks from left to right, and top to bottom.

It is a good idea to take a quick survey of the shelves to get a sense of the physical extent of the alpha-range you're looking at so you won't inadvertently jump to the next subject letter. "LCC tunnel vision" often happens when scanning Cutters and losing sight of the entire call number.

Shelf-reading can take quite a while.It is more important that you take your time to be accurate than to rush through quickly and make mistakes.

After you have shelf-read for an extended amount of time, take a break. If you rush or your eyes hurt and you continue anyway it may lead to sloppy work.

Once again, we are more interested in making sure that the shelves are read precisely, not quickly. Do not hurry when shelf-reading.

Facing (or) Edging(also known as blocking, zoning, fronting, straightening, rumbling, or conditioning) Edging books is a very simple part of stack maintenance. Pull the books close to the edge of the shelf and even out the row. Sometimes the books have been sloppily shelved by a patron, or just moved back from browsing. To ensure that the books are easily accessible to other patrons, it is good to edge them so that the patron can easily see the call number and spine title of the book.

Also look for books that have been pushed behind rows.

When edging, be sure to pull the book from the spine or from farther back on the top of the book. It will cause damage to the book if you quickly pull at the top spine edge of the book. Obviously, we want to keep the books in good condition for as long as possible.

SpacingThere should be sufficient room on each shelf to accommodate the end brace and extra space for book re-shelving. Sometimes a shelf looks almost empty. This can be because many books from that shelf are in use, but often it is the result of haphazard re-shelving. Each collection varies in how much shelf room it has for all of its books, but just remember to leave an even amount of space at the end of every shelf--usually about 1/4 of the total shelf space. Do not crowd shelves or cramp books!

Course Reserve shelves:

The course reserve shelves are located behind the Main Circulation and Reference desk. These shelves contain items that have been requested to be placed on reserve for a class, making the items readily available for students taking the class. Library staff "reads" the call number(s) (respectively) that is present on the spine of each item in an area to make sure they are in the correct order, down to the final digit. Any Item(s) that is not in its correct location should be corrected. This process is continuous so that materials can be found by staff. Below are examples of the LC numbers and how they appear and a brief explanation of call numbers.

Side Note: Each item(s) has a checkout time ranging from 2hrs to 1wk, which is noted by a sticker attached to the front of each item. These items are shelved and organized by call number, using the library of congress classification (LC) system. If a student believes the checkout time should be adjusted refer them to their instructor, as the instructor is the only one that can have the checkout time changed.


The hold shelves behind the Mullins Help Desk contain Holds (Items requested by patrons using the libraries catalog), 48hr Holds (items pulled from the library’s collection on temporary hold), and InterLibrary Loan Holds (ILL items that have been borrowed from other libraries and ready for patron pick up). The Hold and ILL items are placed on the shelves mixed together and arranged alphabetically by the last name. When reading the slips be sure to sort the items by the last name, typically the first word (reading left to right) is the last name to sort by and this is the same for Hold slips and ILL slips.


48hr holds are placed on the lowest shelf on the west side of the hold shelf. These items only contain a tan slip with a patron’s name, date, and time written on the slip. These items are checked daily. Any item that has been on the shelf longer than 48hrs should be counted by using “Count Use – INT USE 1” in Alma, Checked-In, and then placed on a book truck.


Periodicals consist of materials that are received by the library weekly, monthly, annually, etc. Usually magazines, newspapers, and journals. So, when working the Periodicals desk, Shelf reading and maintaining the periodicals collection is also expected to be completed. Periodical shelves are located behind the periodical's office and desk space. The shelves are read from left to right using the Library of Congress call number system. Periodical items are shelved horizontally in ascending Order with the most recent addition on top. Example follows.

How to Read a Call Number


A call number is like an address for a book. It tells you exactly where to go to find the book, or where the book should be returned. The call number is made up of letters, whole numbers, decimals, a publication date, and occasionally a volume and/or copy number. This allows for each book to have a specific location. One book’s location cannot be confused with another book's location.

For example, a library patron may wish to find T.M. Stinnett‘s book, America's public schools in transition: future trends and issues. To find this book the patron must go to the library website ( and search for the book using the online library catalog. After the patron conducts the search they will find the call number in the search results and/or item record display:

LA212 .S77 1982

But the call number looks like this on the spine of the book:

  •                                                                                   LA
  •                                                                                   212
  •                                                                                  .S77
  •                                                                                  1982

Alphanumeric Subject

The LCC system uses the beginning letters and the first line of numbers to indicate the subject of the book (in this example, LA 212: Education > History of Education > United States).As you might expect, the letters are ordered alphabetically. For example, the letter D comes before K, and so forth. Similarly, the letter L comes before LA, which comes before LB.

The numbers immediately following the first letter(s) are read as whole numbers. For example, 212 comes before 761 but after 115. Sometimes there are decimals in the first number. In these cases, the whole numbers are read as before, but the numbers following the decimal are read as decimals.

*If there are decimals, how do we read decimals? How are they different from whole numbers?

For example, 212.16 comes before 212.5 because .16 is a smaller decimal number than .50. Similarly, 212.257836 comes before 212.3 because .257836 is a smaller decimal number than .300000.

Cutter Numbers

The next part of the call number (.S77 in our example) is referred to as the Cutter number. It is called a Cutter number after Charles Ammi Cutter, who developed the Cutter Expansive Classification scheme in the late 19th century. This original system was later adapted by the Library of Congress. Cutter numbers contain letters, which are ordered alphabetically, and decimal numbers. So, for example, .R423 comes after .B76 and .R227, but before .R966 and .T381.

Some books have two Cutter numbers. They are both read as decimals even though the second Cutter number does not contain a decimal (in order to distinguish the two numbers). An example of such a call number is below, with the Cutter numbers in bold:

  •                                           ML
  •                                           420
  •                                           .S77
  •                                           R33
  •                                           2004

Date of Publication

The last number in the above example, 2004, is the date of publication. This is to be shelved in chronological order for the same book. For example, a 2004 second edition comes after the original 1978 publication but before the 2006 third edition, and so forth.

Volume Numbers

Sometimes a call number will contain a volume number, labeled v.1, v.2, etc. These are shelved in whole number numerical order within the set of books.

Copy Numbers

If there are multiple copies of the same book on the shelf, a call number will contain a copy number labeled c.1, c.2, etc. These are shelved in whole number order.

→ One thing to always keep in mind when shelving books and shelf-reading is that nothing comes before something.

If a book contains no volume number, that book comes before a book within a set that does contain a volume number. If a book contains no date in the call number, that book comes before the same book that does have a date in the call number.

Issue Number (s), Season(s)

This is mostly for periodicals, which are publications the library subscribes to and receives throughout the year, on a daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, bi-annual, and annual basis. The issue number (no.) and/or season show up in several ways. no.1, 40:3, Win – Spr, etc.

Workday Training

Workday Training 

Training materials available through the Workday Training app contain course material that has been harmonized across all U of A system institutions.  Please keep this in mind as you are reviewing the course materials. Course materials available through the Workday Training app are linked to 'roles' within Workday that define your job responsibilities. Everyone will also have access to training materials that provide navigation demonstrations for how to maintain your personal information, such as changes to your W-4, address, emergency contacts, benefits information, etc.

- the University of Arkansas. “Workday®.” Workday Training | Workday at the U of A | University of Arkansas, 2020,

*For further information on workday and workday training, refer to the website and training modules found using the links provided.

Absences & Attendance

Letter about Expectation(s) and Scheduling

Staffing and Scheduling Policy Changes Starting January 2022

As User Services continues its evolution, we will be implementing a new schedule and staffing policy for frontline staff (i.e., those who work at the desk). Starting January 3, 2022, we will utilize a set schedule for all hourly and work-study staff who work or help out at the desk, much like our full-time staff. Everyone’s set schedule will be determined by their class schedules and/or secondary job or internship commitments. What does this mean for workers? Well, it means you will work the same days and times all semester. Yay consistency!

This leads me to shift expectations and time-off requests.

No longer will staff place their time-off requests in the employee scheduling software. Instead, you will be expected to either work your assigned shifts or arrange coverage in advance by switching shifts or working out a deal with a co-worker to take on your shift(s) in addition to theirs. Before anyone is allowed to take on additional shifts for someone else you must get your supervisor’s approval as both hourly and work-study have limits on how much they can work in a week/semester.

Once coverage has been found both workers are to alert their supervisor(s) and scheduler. Moving forward supervisors will be the only ones placing time off notifications in employee scheduling software.

Additional New Policies for Requesting Time Off

  1. No time off requests will be granted unless arrangements have been made with another staff member for coverage. If they are unable to find coverage, the supervisor may still grant the time-off request but only after you have made multiple attempts to have your shift covered AND if the reason for needing off is adequate (sickness, doctor’s appt., emergency, etc.).
  2. I do not want or expect anyone to come in when they are sick – this will not change ever. We will handle gaps that arise if someone is out due to sickness.
  3. If you know you will be planning a trip that requires multiple days off, you must alert the supervisor of your plans ASAP and ideally before you book anything. Even after alerting your supervisor, you are still responsible for finding coverage but in the case you aren’t able to get all your shifts covered, we will be informed in advance which will allow us to help plan for contingencies.

To help facilitate these changes and expectations, there is a ‘Shift Coverage Request’ page within our User Services Teams page. You may use this page to put out a call for shift swaps/coverage in addition to reaching out to your colleagues directly or via UARK email.

You are making these changes to create consistency when it comes to staffing and scheduling. These processes are already used in other units of the library and within other industries.

If you have any questions, please let the Director of User Services or your supervisor know.

User Services hourly and work-study (extra-help) employees are an important part of providing high-quality service to the patrons in Mullins Library. For this reason, as an hourly/work-study employee, you are expected to:

  • show up on-time and prepared to work for every shift you are assigned. You may clock in up to five minutes early to make sure you are at your assigned desk by the time your shift is scheduled to begin. You will be considered tardy if you arrive at your assigned desk any time after your scheduled shift has begun.
  • contact the supervisor on duty as soon as possible if you are going to be late arriving for your shift.  Until you have spoken with a full-time staff member or received confirmation of your message from the supervisor on duty, understand that we will be expecting you to arrive on time.
  • contact the supervisor on duty at least one hour prior to your scheduled shift if you cannot come to work (e.g. illness). Until you receive acknowledgement you are responsible for your shift.
  • be responsible for a shift once it is assigned to you. You are responsible for finding a substitute hourly or work-study employee if a conflict arises with your schedule.
  • use When to Work to check your schedule every week. While you may get used to a “regular” schedule, your assigned shifts are subject to change based on the needs of the department and your indicated availability. The weekly schedule is published by the end of the work day on Wednesday of the previous week.
  • use When to Work to accurately indicate your availability. Make sure you update this anytime your availability changes. Also, please include as “unavailable” in your schedule the 30 minutes before and after each of your classes.

Every time an hourly/work-study employee is tardy or absent, the incident will be documented by the supervisor on duty. After an hourly/work-study employee’s third tardy – reported or not –, the employee will receive verbal warning. After three additional tardies or a no-call/no-show absence, the employee will receive a written warning.  A tardy of twenty minutes or more is considered an unexcused absence if the hourly/work-study employee has not notified the supervisor on duty. If the hourly/work-study employee has so many absences or tardies – reported or not – that they create a problem in the work area, the employee may be placed on probation or terminated.  All documentation on an hourly/work-study employee’s attendance will be taken into consideration for that individual’s end of the term evaluation and in the supervisors’ decision on whether or not to invite the hourly/work-study employee to return the following term.

Absences, Attendance Policy, and Attitude

What students should know?

  1. Students are required to report to work for scheduled shifts
  2. Students should receive one 15-minute break for every 4 consecutive hours worked. Breaks are not scheduled. Remind staff member(s) if a break is needed.
  3. Desk-staff are required to find substitutes for absences:  work-studies for work-studies, hourlies for hourlies, exceptions can be made, notify a Supervisor with questions.
  4. If a student knows that they will be absent they should…
    1. When time permits, find a replacement or swap shifts with another hourlies/work-study and contact a Supervisor.
    2. When ill, during emergencies, etc. Be sure to contact the library/Supervisors as soon as possible so arrangements can be made.
  5. Be sure to inform a User Services Supervisor of your request by phone call, email, or in-person (if able).
  6. Contact the supervisor on duty during the scheduled shift in which you are requesting time off.
    1. When sending an email go ahead and include all User Services supervisors, to be sure.

Note: Students must know that they are responsible for their shifts until they are filled. Students are encouraged to pick up shifts if they are available to take them.

Note: If you will be late or missing work, - (for illness or another reason), they must call (479) 575-4104 and speak with the User Services supervisor on duty.


You wake up feeling really sick and know that you cannot work that day. What do you do?

You have to attend a speaker for one of your classes. This event will be held during your normal work hours. What do you do to get the time off?

You have an emergency during your shift at work and must leave. What do you do?


Students are encouraged to be proactive on the job. Do not hesitate to ask questions if you do not know something, please ask. This is a real job. Your primary duties while you are working at a service desk are to serve the patrons.

Quiz: In what order would you do the following tasks?

  1. Get out your homework
  2. Assist a patron at the desk who wants to check out a book
  3. Re-shelve reserve materials

Requesting time off –

Part-time staff will be expected to either work their assigned shifts or arrange coverage in advance by switching shifts or working out a deal with a co-worker to take on your shift(s) in addition to theirs.

Before anyone is allowed to take on additional shifts for someone else you must get your supervisor’s approval as both hourly and work-study have limits on how much they can work in a week/semester. 

Once coverage has been found both workers are to alert their supervisor(s) and scheduler. Moving forward supervisors will be the only ones placing time off notifications in employee scheduling software.

What to do when looking for coverage:

Draft an email to your peers (Hourlies and Work-Study) containing the following information.

  • The Shift (Date and time) in which you need covered or looking to swap.
  • Note if coverage is required for a full shift or a partial shit
  • A brief description of why you need the shift covered does not need to be too personal or have too much detail. For example, I have… an exam, emergency, taking a trip, etc.
  • CC: Supervisor(s) and Scheduler

Remember to check back to make sure day(s) were approved and all parties notified.

Note: If you need coverage or are expecting to be absent for a lengthy period of time. Please reach out to your supervisor directly so arrangements can be discussed.

Picking up Shifts – When to Work

Login into

On the homepage select “Tradeboard – Pick Up Open Shifts” button.

The Trade board page should appear.

The drop menu is located to the right of the page (image below). Here is where one can select the type of position they are looking to cover. “All Positions” is the default selection and changing it will affect what “Unassigned and Available shifts” are shown in the time line below.

The Unassigned and Available Shifts

Once the selection has been made above the information in this portion will change. In this example the selection is “All Positions” and below Main Circ and Research Desk shifts are visible.

Look over the available shifts; if any of the shifts fit your schedule, click on that shift. In the example above, the Research Desk 1pm - 2pm shift has been selected.

Once the shift has been clicked another window will open with the details of the shift. Here you can see the time, duration and position of the shift. To accept the shift click the “Pick Up This Shift” button and select OK to finalize the shift.

Images of the steps described above:

Circulation - Cross Training

User Services likes to encourage the exploration of other departments of Arkansas University Libraries. It allows for opportunity of individual growth in knowledge and skill set. Below are links to the information and form needed for cross training.

DEFINITION AND GOALS: Cross-training is the opportunity to work for a limited period in a different area on a specific interest, while maintaining regular job responsibilities. It provides opportunities for faculty and appointed staff to become more familiar with the operations of other departments and learn other skills. The primary objective is to amplify the effectiveness of the organization by increasing the breadth and depth of employees’ expertise. Ancillary objectives include sustaining and improving service and assisting departments with projects or providing backup for other staff. (excerpt from Cross Training Program Document)