Behind the scenes of Customer Support

Behind the scenes of Customer Support. Library assistant Claire Callan shares her experience and tips…

Libraries. Quite straightforward things surely? Put books in buildings, take them out on loan, return them, try not to get a fine… Well, the world of university libraries (and The University of Warwick Library in particular) is actually quite a complex one. There are fourteen departments in the library, whose services range from helping with access to that vital e resource, scouring the world to track down rare and elusive inter-library loan items, to curating and archiving historical printed treasures. Today, we focus on the friendly and ever-helpful Customer Support department of the library…

The Library Helpdesk

The Helpdesk is designed to be a beacon of support and assistance for students, staff, alumni and visitors from other universities. In term time, you will find one team leader and two library assistants ready to help with a vast variety (and we do mean variety) of queries. We’ve rooted out shuttle bus times, had students try out assignment titles on us and even helped repair broken pottery projects. In short, if we can help, we will. Of course, our primary function is to help with your library account queries. We can search for a book’s classmark and tell you where it’s located and take a fine payment so you can borrow or renew again quickly. We can retrieve your inter-library loan and see if any of your belongings are currently languishing in lost property. There are seats beside each computer at the Helpdesk: please feel free to sit down if you will be more comfortable, or perhaps think your query may be slightly more complex.


One Customer Support team member not usually to be found sitting is the person on ‘roving’ duties. Perhaps the most common query we library assistants have at the Helpdesk is: “the catalogue says this book is available, but I can’t find it.” We’ll check on our computer system to see if it’s been recently returned and awaiting re-shelving. This can often be the case at busy exam times. If it is, then you may need to look on trolleys on the relevant floors. If not, we can come and check the shelves with you, just to eliminate any possibility that you’ve missed the book or got the wrong shelf on your first search. So, if you hear the assistant at the desk say “I’ll get the colleague on roving duty to go and check with you”, you’ll be in the know: they’re the person who is at liberty to wander far and wide in search of that book.


Computer says…“maybe”

The library assistants at the Helpdesk are happy to help with queries on how to scan documents, retrieve print jobs, or how to top up printer credits. We can also give you leaflets on how to log in to the Warwick Guest network, or Eduroam. Unfortunately, we can’t open up the printers to deal with a jam or lack of paper and if you require other, more in-depth IT assistance, please visit the IT Helpdesk on floor one (near the returns machine)- they’ll be happy to help.

Quiet Study Rooms

Students and staff registered with Disability Services can book one of the five quiet study rooms on floors one to five. These rooms come equipped with height-adjustable chairs and tables, computers with assistive software, soft chairs and lockers to store your belongings. You can book these rooms for up to two hours at a time; please visit the helpdesk prior to use, where the library assistants will issue the room key. This key will remain on your library account like a book, and will need to be checked back in at the helpdesk. Further information on what equipment precisely is in each room and booking can be found at:

The back office

Why might we disappear to the mysterious ‘back office’? Well, we may be retrieving some lost property, or we might be asking a colleague who deals with a specific area (invoicing for non-return of books, membership enquiries, Sconul access) for clarification on something. We’ll try to be as quick as we can!

Want to know more?

The library website has a huge amount of information, perhaps the best place to start is the ‘using the library’ tab and then within this, have a look at the ‘practical information’. Or indeed, come and speak with us at the helpdesk: we look forward to it.


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