I came across an interesting post on David Lee King’s blog about library reference questions. He posted a funny picture depicting a library reference desk with the note that all questions would be answered within 2 business days. This was just in response to a question he had asked librarians regarding their turnaround time for reference questions via email or instant message. Many people believe that questions should be answered immediately, but that is not always possible. Some information requires a bit of leg work and sometimes, the librarian is just too busy at that moment to answer.
This of course does not mean the same thing when someone comes to the desk with a reference question. We try to answer those as swiftly as possible because the person is standing right there. At our library, we don’t often get reference questions through email, but when we do, they are often something that needs a little time to prepare. I think a 2 business day rule is a good one, at least for a response of some sort. I know I’d just like to know that someone is working on my question, if it were me.
Do you think the 2 day rule is too long, too short or just right?