Cooperation and Competition at the Reference Desk
Quinn, Brian A.
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A common practice at library reference desks is to have double coverage, in which two librarians work the desk at the same time. Double coverage creates a situation in which two librarians enter into a unique relationship with one another. Competition, criticism, one-upmanship, and other negative behaviors can develop in the relationship. Yet if handled properly, there is also the potential for a wonderfully supportive synergy and collaborative partnership to emerge that is beneficial not only to librarians but to library users as well. This article focuses on practical steps for not only avoiding negative relationships, but also changing unproductive ones, and nurturing optimal relationships that result in a rewarding experience for both librarians and users.