PL Magazine Column

“Claims Returned” and Other Customer Service “Tails”

Sometimes our library jargon sets us up for negative customer-service experiences. How many of us have a “claims returned” status in our automation systems or even a “claims returned” form that we have customers sign? I challenge anyone to use the verb form “claims” with a positive connotation. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer who can remember plain as day returning five items to the library only to be told that one was not. In the customer’s mind the item has been “lost” or is “missing” from the library. In our minds it has become lodged between the front passenger side door and seat when the customer sped too fast around a corner. Yet in response we invoke the “claims returned” process. I can see the cartoon now, “this customer ‘claims’ to have returned this book and discovered a cure for the common cold.” No wonder we set our staff and customers up for an unpleasant confrontation. Although statistically likely, why have we fallen into a “guilty until proven innocent” approach with our customers? In my rethinking of my library’s policies this is one whose days I believe are numbered. We still need a procedure, of course, but framing it as an unfortunate circumstance and sending out a joint search team comprising staff and customer without pointing fingers seems like a much more positive and productive approach.

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Music

Librarians Getting Ready to Read with the Rhythm

Get out your guitar, ukulele, maracas, and tambourine! Winter has just begun, but librarians across the country are choreographing their “Read to the Rhythm” summer.

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ala logo

FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted yesterday to assert the strongest possible open Internet protections—banning paid prioritization and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. The American Library Association (ALA), a longtime network neutrality advocate, applauds this bold step forward in ensuring a fair and open Internet.

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customer service checklist

A Facilitative Mindset: Five Steps to a Customer-Service Culture

Achieving excellent customer service requires a culture change in your library organization that is driven internally through the engagement and validation of staff. The complex subjects of behavior change and persuasion have been studied as far back as the ancient Greeks. Aristotle’s seven causes of human motivation conclude that insight alone does not produce behavior change. A person’s behavior will only change when that person’s beliefs change.

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fiction sign

Ursula LeGuin Stirs Things Up at National Book Awards

On November 19, 2014, the 65th annual National Book Awards took place. Many in the literary world were present, and those that were are grateful for Youtube. The night’s most scandalous moment was provided by Ursula K. Le Guin, who took Amazon to task while accepting her award.

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multitasking

The Downside to Multitasking

As busy librarians, we must learn to work with shrinking budgets, dwindling staff, and the fact that there are not enough hours in the day. Time seems to fly by, so we multitask to fit everything in. Our patrons do the same by studying on laptops while listening to music, checking Facebook, and the like. However, an interesting article on Mashable states that studies indicate multitasking is not good for our brains.

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frustrated girl

GIFs List! Ten Public Librarian Conundrums

Friday Fun! Check out PLOnline’s collection of ‘library problem’ gifs.

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question marks

To Join, Or Not To Join

As someone who is, relatively speaking, a newcomer to working in a library, I have vacillated about whether or not I would like to join a proper library association. There are many things to consider.

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Man getting vaccinated

Health Happens in Libraries

A recent IMLS[1] study showed that an estimated 28 million people use library computers and seek assistance from librarians for health and wellness issues, including learning about medical conditions, finding health care providers, and assessing health insurance options. The library’s role in health information dissemination became perhaps most well-known with the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace launch in 2013. Because of this massive change in federal healthcare, Webjunction partnered with ZeroDivide to create the program Health Happens in Libraries.

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War Ink Logo

War Ink: Veterans, Tattoos, and Public Libraries

Because difficult stories of war are carried with veterans for a lifetime, many have chosen to memorialize their experiences on their bodies—experiences that are forever etched onto the bearer’s skin, heart and soul.

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