Skip to Main Content
Lansing Community College Library

Reference & Instruction Guide: Roving

Policies, procedures, best practices and training guide, for reference and instruction services.

Roving Reference Service

Provides research assistance outside Library in other locations around campus & extension centers. The purpose is to provide reference service assistance where students get other academic services, plus to be aware of the Library location and other library services & resources.



Librarians have been scheduled in the Writing Center and the Learning Commons / Tutoring during Fall & Spring semesters 2013 - 2016.  Beginning Fall 2016 a librarian has been scheduled at the West Campus Learning Commons. In the  Fall 2018 semester Librarians have been scheduled in the Science / Math Success Center at the request of Science faculty during times when several research assignments happening.

The Roving Librarian's task is to circulate through a roving location, be visible, approachable, and politely seek out those who may need library research help or information needs.


Procedures and Best Practices

Remember to take the following items with you when scheduled for Roving:

  • Name tag and Please Bother Me button.
  • Librarian on Duty picture frame.
    • Consider taking the extra Please Bother Me sign from Ref Desk to place near you.
    • There is a floor stanchion in the back of the Science / Math Success Center you can move near where you locate yourself.
  • Reference Roving iPad or your own laptop.
    • You can check out a laptop from the Learning Commons front desk, but know that students use these frequently and you may find none available when you go.
    • Remember that the library iPad kiosk is there in the Learning Commons.
  • Labeled Reference File (located in the Reference Desk file drawer, under the phone).
    • The Reference File contains MLA and APA writing handouts, scrap paper for notes to give students, and a copy of this document to read as a refresher while roving, extra pens & pencils.
    • Please replenish these supplies following a Roving shift.

The following are best practices for roving while in the Learning Commons:

  • Introduce yourself to the counter staff so they know to refer students to you. They will inform you which Tutors are working and what subjects are being tutored. They will also provide you with a marker to write on the glass wall(s) if you choose, such as:
    • Or any other creative message you'd like.
    • Ask a Librarian "your name" is here 12-2 pm today!
    • "Your Name" the Librarian is here to assist today!
  • Their workroom is behind the counter. You may hang your coat, use their refrigerator, and store non-valuable items in their cubby area.
  • Check with Tutoring part-time support staff if a locker is available to place valuables. If so, you'll be given a lock and key.
  • It is recommended to talk with Tutors waiting for students in this area. Tutors will share what students are seeking assistance with.
  • You'll find the Librarians in the Learning Commons floor stanchion in the workroom when a librarian is not on duty. When you begin your shift, move the floor sign back to the standup or sit-down table, where you'll set your On Duty sign. Be sure to move the stand-up sign back to the workroom of the Learning Commons at the end of your shift.
  • Librarian home-base area has been designated at the back of the Learning Commons near the standup computer tables. This area is also where the Tutoring Help Now services are.
  • Don't plan to be stationary. Be sure to rove around the area. Make eye contact and appear approachable.
  • Without interrupting the Tutors working in the same area, try to introduce yourself so they know who to refer any research / citation type questions to.
  • Tips for connecting with students:
    • Scan the room constantly.
    • Be proactive, but not interrupting.
    • Move around, but don't leave laptop / iPad unattended for too long.
    • Make eye contact and smile.
    • Look like you can be bothered.
    • Keep your voice at a low talking level.
  • Most requests may possibly be for research and citation help. Some students may need help narrowing a broad topic.
  • Be prepared for tutoring-type questions when in the Learning Commons or Science/Math Success Center.
    • Do a reference interview and then work with Learning Commons counter staff as to best assist the student in finding / locating a tutor.
  • Limit sessions to 15 minutes per student to accommodate students who may be waiting.
  • Make contacts a teachable moment.
  • Don't fix citations for students. Instead guide them to examples how they can correct their work and let them do it.
  • 'Triage' requests, get students started on their searches, and move on to other questions. But return to students to see if they need more assistance.
  • Writing Tutors recommend that if students want you to read their paper to see if it sounds okay, ask them to read it aloud to you. Or suggest they read it to another individual if there are pairs requesting the same help.
  • Help students locate a specific article title in a research database again.
    • Try using OneSearch -- phrase search multiple words in the title (example: "public schools" or "information literacy")
      • If the article appeared in a Gale or ProQuest database, it will be found.
    • If the title is not found via OneSearch:
      • Try searching by the periodical title in LCC Catalog in order to locate which database(s) have full-text holdings.
  • Use the Reference LibAnalytics form to keep track of your contact statistics. The form can also be accessed via the Desire2Learn (D2L) Library Staff Portal.
  • In addition to keeping the basic contact statistics, you are to also observe, reflect, and record at least once during each assigned session about your roving experience. You can do this activity during your roving shift or after your shift.
  • Use of the Roving Observations form:
    • Accessible via the Reference LibAnalytics form and the Library Staff Portal in D2L.  
  • Observation Questions to answer at least once during your shift(s) are:
    • What was the most interesting thing you observed?
    • What seemed to work well during your roving and / or what might you do differently next time?
    • What can the library contribute in terms of people, resources, or services to this location?
  • Answer these observation questions as you would answer a One Minute Paper. This is intended to capture your thoughts immediately since the team will not be discussing experiences until the end of the semester.
  • Here are some ideas for things to observe during your roving shift. It is not an exhaustive list:
    • Librarian Contact Observations:
      • Who made the first approach? Student or librarian?
      • Type of question -- research? Citation? Writing help?
      • Did students seeking help have to wait? How long?
    • General Observations:
      • How could the library service be made visible?
      • Did students seeking help have to wait for help? How long?
      • Are there techniques that Peer Tutors used in their sessions with students that we can use in reference interviews?
      • Are there resources the library has that Tutors need to know about?
      • Are students working solo or in groups? What size groups?
      • What does it look like they are working on? (example: studying Biology, using calculators, etc.)
      • How many students are working with Tutors? How many students are just hanging out?
      • What is the noise level?
      • How are students using the furniture, technology, space, and / or tools?