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Social Sciences Reference Desk: FAQ's

This guide is for the use of Students working at the Social Sciences Help Desk. Use this guide to get updates on upcoming projects, check for daily announcements, request time off and find answers to FAQ's about the help desk.

Library FAQs



  • How do I print without my ID card?
    • We can print for students using pharos.
  • How do I print to BYU printers from my own computer?
  • Can you help me find books about a certain topic?
    • Search the patron’s topic on the library website and look for two or three books that would be useful to them with similar call numbers. More books they might find useful will be found around those call numbers.
  • Do I have to reserve a study room?
    • Patron’s can use study rooms without reserving them, but someone with a reservation can ask them to leave. Reservations can be made here:
  • The book I’m looking for isn’t on the shelf, what do I do?
    • First check the library website and workflows to ensure the book is not checked out, on course reserve, on a display shelf, or is a folio or quarto (if the patron didn’t check the folio/quarto shelves). You can also go look with the patron to make sure they haven’t overlooked it.
    • If a book isn’t where it should be it could be with another patron, on a “return books here” shelf, on the rolling sorting shelves, or in the sorting room on the second floor. Depending on how desperate the patron is you can check all those places. If they have some time though, simply requesting the book on the library website will send someone else to find it and get the book to them within one or two days (assuming it’s not lost or stolen).
  • Why isn’t this book that says course reserve on the shelf?
    • Likely a professor is using the book for their class and wants everyone to have a chance to use it. Therefore, it’s being kept at the circulation desk where patrons can check it out for two hours at a time.
  • Why isn’t this book that says Americana Collection on the shelf?
    • The resource is in special collections and can only be used on site. Ask the special collections desk for access to it.
  • Why can’t I find this book that says state municipal document/ U.S. Government Documents?
    • The resource is in auxiliary storage. You may take the patron there with you or ask them to wait while you retrieve the item for them.
  • Where’s the accounting lab? 
    • On the central part of our floor, the left-hand side. (It’s a room made of temporary walls.)
  • How do I set up Bloomberg remotely?
    • There are flyers by the Bloomberg machine.
  • Can I check out curriculum materials?
    • Yes, but only for one week. We might be able to renew them, but only in person at our desk.
  • Can I check out reference materials?
    • No, they are for onsite use only.
  • Can community members use the printer/scanner?

    • Non-BYU students can use our printer/scanner, but we can’t charge them for it. If they’ll be printing just a few pages or emailing scans, the department card can be used (located in the first drawer in the workroom). If they need to print a lot, they can go to family history on the second floor where employees can charge patrons. They can also get their own library card at the circulation desk.  

Regular Responsibilities

The following are things you should know how to do or resolve.


     - please punch in and out at the start and end of you shift; you are responsible to review your timesheet every time period; questions can always be directed to the Y-Time manager in our department (currently Brian Wages).

Opening Procedures

     - enter through the back workroom door, turn on the lights, unlock the front workroom door, turn on the desk workstations, open Pidgin, Workflows, Pharos, and browser programs on each workstation, turn on the desk lights, retrieve the desensitizers from Brian's office.


     - look for patrons who need assistance, anything out of the ordinary, or potentially hazardous activities; the following areas can be covered, First North, First Central, Juvenile (Fourth Floor), and Ancient Studies room (5431 HBLL); also be prepared to resupply whiteboard markers in the Group Study Rooms.


     - Mail should be retrieved every day; the mail key is in the top drawer in the workroom.

Reference and Curriculum Re-shelving

     - Check the brown return shelves in the Reference and Curriculum areas (and the "Reference / Curriculum" sorting shelves stacks manages for our area, located just outside of the GSRs), mark items as used in Workflows, return item(s) to their designated spot(s) on the reference or curriculum shelves.


     - Primarily dusting around the public workstations, however, be aware of any cleaning that can be done in the Workroom and around the area.


     - Record each interaction you have with every patron; if unable to record the transaction immediately afterward, please use the timestamp option (please not the system functions on a 24 hour clock); Tech Troubleshooting - printers, computers, scanners, printing software, etc.; Directional - pointing anyone toward a specific location (i.e. room number); Circulation - books, headphones, cords, etc.; Reference - any research or resource related transaction not already specified (i.e. locating a book, finding an article, getting started with research, etc.); Remote Reference - anytime you have to go to leave the desk and go to Juvenile or Government Documents; Subject - generalized subject area for the transaction (i.e. History, Psychology, Government Documents, etc.); Note - brief description of the interaction.

Librarians' Contact Information

     - Know how to find business cards and online directory.

Instant Messaging (Pidgin)

     - Be sure to have it open and check it often.


     - Master and Moveable Shelves Keys are located in the top cabinet drawer; Government Documents Microformat and Media Key is located in Brian's office

Department Card

     - to purchase items at the BYU Store if unavailable from library Recieving.

Pharos (Printing)

     - if a patron cannot print because they've forgotten their ID card you can print through pharos (only rarely for the system does not actually charge them), we treat it as a customer service, but if you notice any patron abusing this "quiet" practice please redirect them to Circulation to put more money on their card.


     - go get mail, take mail key; wear nametag to get paper and other supplies


     - swipe card, scan book, desensitize, date stamp, offer bag; blocked and barred patrons, alerts

Reference Book Checkout

     - obtain permission from subject librarian or reference specialist; swipe users card, click on calendar icon, select due date (usually two weeks), choose option for this checkout only, scan item bar code, desensitize

Holds, Traces, Interlibrary Loan

     - place a hold through "Scholar Search" to have an item pulled for the patron; if it's missing, please place a hold; if ours is missing, suggest Interlibrary Loan

Types of Materials and Locations (serials, monographs, periodicals, microforms, quarto, folio, etc.)

     - serials (both periodicals and circulating serials), monographs (books), periodicals (2nd floor and AuxStor), microforms (microfilms, microfiche, microcards), quarto (each floor, multiple locations), folio (each floor, multiple locations)

Call # Organization and Locations

     - primary locations of call numbers throughout the library, know "special locations" and particular collections

Curriculum Collection

     - divided by elementary and secondary levels, grouped by subject; checkout period is one week

County Histories

     - subject searching in the library catalog, for most up to date holdings; printed volumes at the desk are current through 2014

Emergency Procedures

     - secure the desk, encourage patrons to evacuate, evacuate, gather at designated location (corner of HFAC)

Closing Procedures

     - return desensitizers to Brian's office, turn off the desk lights, close all programs and shut down workstations, lock the workroom door, turn out the lights