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Collaborative Reference: McQuade's Research Center

Reference Tracking Form

See below for Zoho form that is used to collect reference data.  McQuade Librarians use the READ scale to track all reference transactions. 

Reference Statistics

An excerpt from McQuade Library's FY2013-14 Annual Report:


Librarians continue to offer personalized, point-of-need research assistance that is signature to the Merrimack experience through a successful reference program.  


Notably the number of hours of reference services increased this year to accommodate our growing population of graduate and professional students. Reference help is now available until 10pm (rather than 9pm) during the school year and there is consistent librarian coverage on weekends: Saturdays and Sundays from 2-10pm.


Library staff use the READ (Reference Effort Assessment Data) scale to track vital qualitative statistics.  FY2014 statistics show a decline in the total number of reference questions (directional questions and mediated searching included) which is in line with what other libraries are experiencing:  




Number of questions

(ALL READ Scale)




Number of questions

(READ >3)*




Number Research Consultations

(Defined as READ scale 4-6 & > 5 minutes in duration)




However, this year there was a significant increase in the number of Research Consultations which are defined as in-depth reference and consultations longer than five minutes in duration and greater than 4 READ scale.  This could be attributed to the roll-out of libcal and heavy promotion of the research advisory service in library instruction workshops.


The Research Center serves the program well and continues to be a popular destination for our students.  Over 70% of reference transactions take place in the Research Center.  This year signage was added to the Research Center that indicates which librarian is on duty.

New Roles for Reference Librarians

The Research Center model facilitates librarians exploring and embracing new roles in their daily reference work as identified by Amy Vanscoy. In addition to serving as an information provider or teacher, reference librarians become relationship-builders, guides, and partners as they work with students.  The Research Center space, in conjunction with other library spaces, is flexible enough to accommodate the multiplicity of these expanding reference librarian roles.

VanScoy, A. (2012). Inventing the future by examining traditional and emerging
     roles for reference librarians. In M. L. Radford (Ed.). Leading the reference
     renaissance: Today’s ideas for tomorrow’s cutting–edge services
(pp. 79-
     93). NY: Neal-Schuman.

Reference Services at Merrimack

Research Center Staffing

See below for McQuade Library's Librarian on Duty schedule.  Librarian on Duty staffs the Research Center unless otherwise indicated.

Slides from NOBLE's 6/23/15 Tech Expo