When Worlds Collide: Lessons Learned from Merging Two Key Service Points
Chimato, Mary Carmen
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In January 2007 the NCSU Libraries merged the circulation and reserves service points at the main circulation desk. This merger was part of the Libraries' ongoing assessment of its programs and services with the goal of providing enhanced services while achieving higher levels of efficiency with existing resources. Some direct advantages of the merged service point included providing a single service point for multiple types of transactions; 24 hour access to full circulation services, interlibrary loan request pickup, holds, and reserves; reduction of 5200 hours of staffing coverage per year and improving/facilitating staff cross-training activities. In order to successfully merge two very different units, the department's management created a plan which included extensive cross-training, a new daily scheduling system, and utilized popular social networking tools to facilitate communication, participation and sharing between the department staff. Two years later, the merger is a success. The processing time for reserves has reduced by more than 50%, staff are able to work on projects that had previously been put on hold, and the new spirit of teamwork and the new single identity of the department has improved customer service and has optimized staff time.