the transparent library: be selfish, promote service

Be Selfish, Promote Service
By Michael Casey & Michael Stephens — Library Journal, 6/15/2009

Now, More than ever, we need to deliver our best customer service. No library users should walk away feeling that their questions or needs were not fully addressed. No teen should come to the reference desk only to be met by a sarcastic answer and a hand gesturing them to some distant region of the stacks. No senior should be expected to use our newest technology without being offered a training session.

Is this hard in today's tighter economic times? Absolutely. Time is at a premium, as is money, but right now, you, you, need to be selling yourself…

…So what can you do, especially if you're already busy and working as hard/fast as possible? As silly as it sounds, bring a smile to your tasks. Volunteer for teams and committees. This is a great way to get yourself recognized by administrators and management…

…When you're at the desk helping customers, be sure to get out from behind that counter and walk customers to the shelves. Use that time as an opportunity to tell them about new services your library might have. Are there upcoming events you can bring to their attention?..

…We don't work in a for-profit world but rather in public service, nonprofit agencies. We need to serve more people with less because what we do is so darn good and important. Everyone from front-line staff to the top dog needs to understand this. But it is possible to excel during times of sacrifice.

If you can find it within you to embrace this downturn as an opportunity to shine and to grow as a team player, you will find that when better times return, you will be rewarded. Anyone can shine when money and time are in abundance. It takes a positive and progressive individual to stand out when things are difficult.

Full column available online, for free, at Library Journal.