Off your seat and on your feet
The last session I went to at PLA was “off your seat and on your feet” presented by two engaging librarians at Columbus Metropolitan Library. There they truly focus on the customer. They looked at numerous customer service orientated organizations like Blockbuster, Nordstrom’s and Starbucks. They stressed the difference between knowledge and data. In the end they focused on the customer, and tried to turn all the No’s into YES, To do this they needed staff buy in, which was difficult. Fears of never sitting down while doing roaming reference, health concerns, off- desk duties etc. were discussed (you can see a sample in their handouts on the PLA site). They focused on streamlining processes within the library, and even got a call center. Reference librarians now sit behind counters that can be no longer than 7 feet (in one instance it is less than 4 feet and needed a special keyboard in order to fit). The idea is the library staff member can easily walk around and enter the area from any side… also they want the librarians moving throughout the library assisting patrons when time allows. They use Vocera as a walkie talkie between staff and as a telephone. They also enhanced their webpacs and put them around their libraries so librarians did not have to carry around tablet pcs which are rather heavy if on your feet for hours. It was an excellent presentation that focused on where libraries are going and the multitude of steps needed to get there. My favorite part of the whole thing is that each branch got to design their own reference desks- no cookie cutters. They were given guidelines and then the library staff were to tell them what would work in their unique location.