7.2 Staffing and opening hours

Preferably, the resource centre should be staffed whenever it is open. Staff absences due to holidays or sickness should be covered. Some resource centres set up a rota system, in which various people, including health workers, tutors and students, take it in turns to be on duty in the resource centre. Everyone who does resource centre duty needs to be familiar with the collection and the services that are offered.

A smaller resource centre which is only open to staff of the organisation that it is part of, could be open when there is no one to staff it. However, this would mean that the collection would be less secure, and that no one would be available to help users find and use information.

It is therefore important to think carefully about how many people are available to be on duty in the resource centre, and how many hours it would be useful for the resource centre to be open.

7.2.1 Welcoming visitors

When people come to use the resource centre, it is important that they feel welcome. The opening hours should be made clear in any publicity material, so that people will not be disappointed to find the resource centre shut.

It is a good idea to have a visitors’ book for keeping records of visits. This could be an exercise book in which visitors write down their name and organisation, and the date that they visited the resource centre. It is useful to keep a record of who has visited the resource centre, where they come from and what they have found useful, to help evaluate the service. It is also useful to ask visitors for other information as well, such as their occupation, what subject areas they are interested in, and whether they have any comments. These questions could be included in the visitors’ book, or visitors could be asked to complete a form.