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

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