Staff Help Knowledgeable Governance Guide: Home


The Staff Help Knowledge Base is used to find helpful answers to common, or uncommon, problems PSS and Student colleagues may face while working at the Service Desk. These FAQs are only searchable by staff and should include helpful tips from that perspective. Unlike the Library Help, or student, side that focuses on assisting students access library resources, the Staff side should focus on problem-solving tips and tricks. These can include quick-check information on how to check out a book in FOLIO, how to respond to user questions regarding the Collection, and who to call to unlock doors in the building. Seemingly mundane, but someone may not know in the heat of the moment and the Knowledge Base should be the first resource used by staff, especially if they cannot find a colleague quickly. The Knowledge Base is also a tool to maintain "institutional knowledge” for future use and reference. However, it should not be treated as an archive, but a living document that changes along with the library’s policies and procedures. 


All staff should feel empowered to create/edit/request an FAQ in the Knowledge Base. Authority is contextual and you are the one experiencing the problem with the user and resolved the issue. Someone else may face a similar issue at another time and having an FAQ created with past precedent would be very helpful. This is especially true for new employees, or even seasoned employees who haven’t had the issue before or in a long time. 

Statement on FAQ "Ownership"

The Knowledge Base assigns an “Owner” to each post created. The default is the person who creates the FAQ, but it can be specifically assigned to someone during the FAQ creation process. This does not mean you are solely responsible for maintaining that specific post. All PSS staff should have access to create and edit FAQs in the Knowledge Base. If the PSS does not have access, the Web Services Librarian will always have access to make changes or provide that access to the staff member, if permitted.  

Before Creating a New FAQ

Before creating a new FAQ in the Knowledge Base, look for relevant or related FAQs. Do the existing FAQs have a lack of, or incorrect/outdated information? If so, update the existing FAQs with the correct information or add your actions taken if the current instructions failed to resolve the problem. 

Assess the existing information (After you have resolved the issue with the user!) before making changes. Is the existing information still relevant and up to date? If it is, add more information to the post. If it is not relevant or up to date, edit the information so that is it up to date.

When in doubt reach out to the Web Services Librarian, or a staff member responsible for assisting with the Knowledge Base to have the information changed/removed/edited/created/added/etc. If you do not feel comfortable creating FAQs, they can still be created by someone else on your behalf. 

Criteria for Update/Deletion

Information changes frequently and processes are updated over time. FAQs can be considered inaccurate, irrelevant, or outdated when:

  • Process changed,
  • The library no longer offers that service/resource,
  • The service/resource was replaced by something different.
    • Check that the service/resource is not available at another location before deleting or removing the content of an FAQ.
      • If it has only changed at a specific location, make a note that it is at a specific location only, and keep the previous information included.

FAQ on how to edit/create FAQs in the Knowledge Base:

Voice and Tone Guidelines

The 3 C’s

  • Be Concise, 
  • Convenient, and 
  • Candid!

FAQs should be straight to the point to staff can read through the information quickly while helping users.

Be friendly and conversational; informal but respectful.

  • Avoid technical jargon when possible.


The Staff-Help Knowledge Base should be reviewed every year. The best time for this would be during the Spring/Summer semesters due to lower traffic through the University Libraries giving staff more time to work on projects.        

One staff member should be assigned to this review. Since the Staff Help has a broader scope than the Library Help side, the review will look for grammar/tone issues in new posts more so than relevancy. The staff member responsible does not need to edit and change every post themselves but can request more knowledge colleagues review specific posts and make changes as needed. For example, ILL/DocDel/MeL FAQs can be forwarded to the PSS responsible for those processes. The staff member responsible for maintenance is the point person who makes suggestions for edits and updates and can make changes if they know what needs to be changed or added. However, collaboration is important, and all staff should feel empowered to edit and create FAQs as they see fit throughout the year. When in doubt, ask someone for help.

Your friendly Web Services Librarian

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Matthew Reidsma
116A DEV
(616) 331-3577
  • Last Updated: Sep 15, 2023 1:01 PM
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