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Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Discussion: What Do You Want To Know About Your Staff?

Today is the first day of the rest of my professional career and I am already eager to get started by describing one of the BRAND NEW services I will be offering to libraries come Fall.

I am creating a new service where I will come into your library and audit your services to leisure readers.  The idea behind this is that when people think of libraries, the first thing they think is books-- even people who never use the library for books.  As Duncan Smith from NoveList says:
"Books are our brand. But Books are not our business. Reading is our business." 
We need to leverage our librarian influence as the place people look to for leisure reading.  We need to make ourselves indispensable when it comes to reading. We need to be such a vital place in the community that when we face hard times and need the votes of our patrons, they will be there for us...no questions asked.

One of the easiest ways to improve our customer service and make a great first impression is to serve leisure readers in an exemplary fashion. But how? Ahh, leave that part to me; it is what I do better than most and a concrete service will be launched this Fall.

But right now, I am just beginning to develop and test out this service. I have gotten the go ahead from a library that is willing to be the guinea pig starting later this month, but I also need the help of you, the larger RA community.

Over the next few Mondays, I will be asking for your input on what information you want to take away from of my audit.  I will be conducting it as a SWOT analysis [Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats].

First up today is the topic of surveying staff knowledge.

My service will have a component where I ask staff about their personal reading preferences and have them conduct a self evaluation of their own skills as they have reader’s advisory conversations and transactions with patrons. [Please note, I will also be assessing Circulation staff along with the more traditional Adult and Teen desk staff in this process because they are often the first people to talk books with patrons, but more on that later.]

I have a good idea of what I would like to include on this self evaluation questionnaire, but I want to hear from all of you too.  Give me your input!

For today’s Monday Discussion: What do you want to know about your staff, their skills, their comfort level with RA transactions [both passive and active], and their perceived strengths? Having me ask in an anonymous, non-threatening way, will gather you a lot more data than you would get in a staff meeting, and it will give you a broader picture of your library’s strengths and weaknesses as a whole.

So, let me know. And stay tuned for when you can get your own library audit of services to leisure readers.

For past Monday Discussions, click here.

1 comment:

Sonia Reppe said...

I would ask the staff: Do they understand the different genres, could they describe the appeal of a book that they themselves didn't like, and how comfortable are they with a reader's interview--questioning to ascertain what kind of book a reader would like, and do they (the staff) know what sources to go to.