July 16, 2004

Human Touch

Excellent reasoning from MaryLaine Block in her July 16, 2004 Ex Libris essay on the importance of face-to-face in libraries.

I would suggest cross-training all library staff so that all of them, no matter what their normal job, can do circulation tasks, help people find the meeting rooms, and provide basic assistance with computers, printers, the online catalog, and copy machines.

When I say ALL staff, incidentally, I include even the library director. That's because this solution would do more than maximize human interactions. It would also give everybody a chance to meet the public they're serving, many of whom never approach the reference desk, and to hear their questions, suggestions, and complaints.

The people at the circ desk are the first to know if the library needs more copies of the new Dan Brown book, better signage, more computers so people don't have to wait so long, better sound baffling for the children's room, more Christian romances, cleaner bathrooms, a better-lit parking lot, and more restrictions on what kids can check out. The circulation desk is also where most of our customers first come in contact with our rules, so time spent there is an opportunity to find out exactly what our customers think of them.

Posted by leita at July 16, 2004 08:54 AM to category Librarianship