I second Paul's suggestion.

All due respect to the institution you work for, but this doesn't sound
like a problem best solved with software.  If I'm the backup help, and I'm
talking with a colleague in their office, or making another pot of coffee,
I won't get your notice on my computer until I go back to my desk.

Do you have some kind of library-wide intercom system?  Maybe something
that could generate a gentle tone, that would largely go undetected by your
patrons, but is a recognizable by the staff?

Then again, I don't work in a library, either.


On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 8:20 AM, Paul Butler (pbutler3) <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> For something like this I would go the hardware route.  A walkie-talkie on
> a charging stand at each service point. The walkie-talkies would always be
> on and tuned to the same channel. That way the staff person is not tied to
> the PC itself, they can grab the walkie-talkie and still do what they need
> to do - like head to the stacks or look for that reserve material. No phone
> number to remember. This solution could help with other issues, like
> security and system/network outages.
> +1 for LibraryH3lp - we use it and like it here.
> Cheers, Paul
> +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
> Paul R Butler
> Assistant Systems Librarian
> Simpson Library
> University of Mary Washington
> 1801 College Avenue
> Fredericksburg, VA 22401
> 540.654.1756
> Sent from the mighty Dell Vostro 230.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
> Andreas Orphanides
> Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 11:09 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] A newbie seeking input/suggestions
> Hey Cindy,
> Welcome! Glad to see your question here, we like new people.
> Here at NC State we've set up a (mostly semi-working) system for
> requesting backup using LibraryH3lp webchat. Basically we have a staff
> webpage that has a chat box in it. If you type something in the box, say
> "Backup!" or "jkgfasdkl;", that message will get broadcast to everyone
> who's logged into their "backup help" account in Pidgin. Recently we've
> also been experimenting with "canned" messages that you can broadcast just
> by clicking on a button in the web browser.
> You could theoretically set this up for -- and distinguish -- separate
> service points by having a different queue for each service point. The
> backup people would see where the request was coming from based on the name
> of the queue. And you could set up each backup account to only monitor
> requests from the appropriate service points.
> If you're not familiar with LibraryH3lp, it's a very lightweight (and
> inexpensive) library patron chat system. We use it for our patron IM as
> well as several internal staff purposes. I'm sure there's lots of LH3 users
> on code4lib, so if you're not familiar with it, but interested in exploring
> it, you'll be bound to get opinions. There are also other similar services
> that people might recommend as well.
> Good luck! This sounds like a good -- but definitely solvable -- problem.
> Andreas Orphanides
> NCSU Libraries
> On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 10:57 AM, Greenspun, Cindy <
> [log in to unmask]
> > wrote:
> > Hello -
> >
> > I'm a newbie to this listserv.  I'm not a librarian, nor am I a coder.
> I
> > primarily do systems related work with our library management system,
> > run SQL reports as needed and project management.  I also work for
> > Access Services and even though I'm considered IT, I'm not in the
> > library IT department.  This is a new position in my department and
> > we're still figuring things out as we go along.
> >
> > I work in one of the many libraries at Yale University.  In the
> > department I work in, we have three busy service points - two
> > circulation desks and a privileges/registration office.  There are
> > about 50/60 staff members and roughly 50+ student employees who rotate
> > at these service points.  There are times when there are students who
> > are late reporting to a service point, no-shows, or suddenly there's a
> > long line and only one person at a staffed service desk.  At a meeting
> > recently, I was listening to a work leader lament how, if she is the
> > only person there, she is just too busy to make a phone call or send an
> email asking for help - a common occurrence.
> >  After I heard her, I wondered how possible it would be to create some
> > sort of desktop 'app'.  One that requires only one click and is smart
> > enough to know its service desk location and is sent to the right
> > folks who could come assist right away, upon demand.  These would be
> > on Windows workstations.
> >
> > Recently, I've seen many encouraging responses to the latest 'getting
> > started...' emails and feel motivated to write to this listserv as I'm
> > eager to learn and to try to do this myself.  I hope that this will be
> > a simple enough project for me but I'm just not sure where to start or
> > what I should be looking at.  So, here I am, not a librarian, nor a
> > coder.  I write to this listserv seeking suggestions, ideas and
> > encouragement.  :)
> >
> > Thank you -
> > Cindy
> >