A few posts back, we filled you in on what’s up with the research desk, and promised a similar post to fill you in on what goes on at the other desk in the UGL: Circulation and Reserves, known affectionately as the Circ desk.
Most of the folks you see at the Circ desk are student assistants (SAs). Many of them are undergrads, some are grad students. You can spot them by looking for their friendly, fun dispositions (and the slight look of exhaustion they have around midterms and finals). They work really hard to balance school and work, and we appreciate them for that!
The other people who help you at the Circ desk are the staff members who supervise the SAs and keep things running smoothly (on weekends, this job is filled by the graduate assistants who you normally find over at the ref desk). Like their (mostly) younger counterparts, the supervisors at the Circ desk are characterized by their friendly dispositions and ability to help you with any and all problems you might encounter while in the UGL. Trouble with a computer? Someone talking loudly on the quiet level? The supervisors are the folks who help you out with stuff like this. They also have the power to do things like reserve a collaboration room or a technology item for you, so they kind of rock.
That gets us to what you do at the Circ desk: this is where you check out items of all sorts. We have a lot to check out, so, you know, check it out. In order to make it possible for you to check out items from collaboration room keys to books to cameras to flash drives to video games, there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes at the Circ desk.
A big part of what we do at the Circ desk is to help make it possible for you to find and access the stuff you need. There are over 200,000 items available for you to check out and use at the UGL, including books, DVDs, laptops and more, and the SAs and circulation staff work to make sure things are clean, accessible, work properly, etc.
The SAs put tons of effort into physically managing the UGL’s collection. You might have seen them shelving and re-shelving books like the good book elves they are – especially around finals when everyone returns the hundreds of books they checked out for projects and papers. The SAs also do what is called “shelf-reading,” which involves reading the call numbers and titles of books on each shelf to make sure they are in the right order. (If that sounds at all fun to you, we’ll probably be hiring at the end of the semester!). As the SAs shelf-read and re-shelve, they also work hard to keep the place clean. That’s a big job and enough for another blog post.
The supervisors and SAs also do things like search for missing items, pull requested books off the shelves to send to other libraries or hold for you behind the Circ desk, and create displays to keep things interesting.
There’s a lot of technical work that happens, too, as a joint effort between the UGL circulation staff and staff in technical services at the Main Library. They work together to make sure every item has a barcode and a call number, and that every item is listed accurately in the catalog so you can find it easily there.