Monday, 12 February 2007

A customer service challenge...

Browsing through my Bloglines this evening I came across this great post Making the Best of a Bad Day on T.Scott's blog. It warmed my heart then challenged me to think about the customer service that we provide in libraries. A little while ago I posted about simple ideas for improving the library experience and I think this kind of personal service is often what makes people really connect with a service - restaurant or library. Going that little bit further for a reader can be such a simple thing and yet when people speak about their personal experience of a local library it is often the little things that they remember. Tomorrow I'm going to aim to go a little bit further than I have to for each customer, a personal customer service challenge thanks to T.Scott.

Saturday, 10 February 2007

CILIP Sub Branch Blog

My local CILIP Sub Branch has a blog! One of the committee has been inspired by Karen Blakeman's talk to set up a blog and Hampshirelibrarian has already posted on internet browers and search engines. Unfortunately the comments are restricted to members of the group and there is no obvious way to send a message asking to join in but I'm in the process of emailing the committee to find out more. If people get involved I think this could be a great community blog for folk working in libraries in the region to discuss 2.0 technology and share general library ideas and problems.

Friday, 9 February 2007

A challenge for UK library bloggers!

Brian Kelly of UK web focus has written another post on the subject of UK library bloggers and he's now on the lookout for volunteers to join in his experiments and this is his challenge...

"Well I’m still carrying on with the experiments (especially the experiments which relate to the needs of the smaller libraries, museums and archives - such as my current experiment in email delivery of blog postings).
But I’d be even more keen to carry out a community experiment - perhaps with a small group who would be willing to contribute their experiences using a Wiki, could be presented at ILI 2007."

I think this is a great idea and a good opportunity to build a UK library blogging community sharing ideas and thoughts about 2.0 things - if you're in the UK please consider joining in!

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Jedi Librarian

My biblioblogosphere tag cloud (over on the right there under the meebo box) is my lucky dip at the moment and the jedi tag led me to this great Jedi Librarian video, linked on David Rothman's blog I'm a bit of a Star Wars fan, born in the year it all began, so if anyone's looking for library staff to play with lightsabers in a UK version of this, just let me know...

Simple Ideas, Great Results, Library 1.0

I think that sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the exciting ideas of Library 2.0 and online services and forget that there are simple, good ideas out there completely unconnected to computers! Michelle McLean, an Australian librarian, has written a post about Improving User Service which is all about libraries making users happy by changing loan limits and dropping reservation fees. Probably the most radical part is their change to print loans, from a maximum of 20 items across all categories to unlimited print loans, yes that does read unlimited! They do limit AV items with a rather low limit on DVDs but their unlimited print loans do include audio books and CD Roms.

The part that interests me is the reservation fees - they dropped them from $1 to free. This is the fee for placing a hold on books at other branches or out on loan. I love this part of Michelle's post...

"Now that's a good thing. Although it creates more work for us, its amazing what good will it has expressed. The people who wouldn't place holds because of the charge, love it because they don't have to pay and the people who were used to paying love it, because they no longer have to. They would not necessarily have thought of suggesting that as a service improvement, but they love it!"

She goes on to talk about other positive results such as people coming in more often and her reassuring final statement is...
"And despite fears, we haven't had anyone place holds on everything in sight, yet!"

It's so good to hear someone blogging about simple, effective ideas like this that help to give users a great service. It's always difficult to sell something to management that will cost the library service money, such as giving up a source of revenue, however small the amount. So congratulations to the staff at Michelle's library for doing this and I will be forwarding her post to my library manager in the morning...

Sunday, 4 February 2007

My 100th RSS Feed on Bloglines

Today I subscribed to my 100th feed on Bloglines! Number 100 is a UK blog by a senior library assistant working in HE in Kent who is studying for a librarianship qualification. Check out The Singing Librarian who describes himself thus...

The Singing Librarian is not, technically speaking, a librarian. He has been working in a higher education library in Kent (UK) since Autumn 2000, but does not yet have a librarianship qualification and is therefore only a quasi-librarian. His job title is ‘Senior Library Assistant’. The library he works at is known as the Library of Doom due to the various problems it has encountered over the years, including floods, near-death experiences and rampaging wildfowl.

My favourite posts so far have been Singing Librarian Flashback: S Club Library which made me laugh and sing out loud and Good librarian, bad librarian comparing good responses to stupid reader questions and the responses we would all love to be able to give:

Student: Do you have that blue book my tutor recommended?
Bad librarian: Yes, we do. It’s kept with all the other blue books in the blue room, between the green and purple rooms. Once you get to the room, you’ll find them arranged in order by how much the tutors like them, with books written by members of staff at the very beginning.
Good librarian: I’m afraid I’ll need a bit more information than that. Can you remember what it’s called?
Unfortunately, the student often fails to remember the author or title, sometimes forgets which course or tutor it was that suggested the book, but always knows that it’s very important that they read it. At this point, the bad librarian manifests himself in the form of steam coming out of the good librarian’s ears.

I'm currently on the lookout for more blogging UK librarians and library students so The Singing Librarian fits in nicely.

Think I'm going to need a bigger blogroll...

Friday, 2 February 2007

UK Library Bloggers

Working my way through the handouts from last night's event I've just come across this post from Brian Kelly on Where are the Blogging UK Librarians? I think this is an issue that will be discussed more and more this year as blogging becomes less "something geeks do" and more a useful tool of everyday life. Reading the blogs from US library folk you get a real sense of community and I think this is something that will develop over here too. I'd like to see more mention of blogging as a CPD tool too - CILIP's new framework is very much about reflecting on what you have learned and showing your professional reading and writing this blog has pushed me to do this and keep doing it over the last few months. Can't let my subscribers down! Huge thanks by the way to those people who have commented on my posts, I still can't believe people read this and it's fantastic to get feedback and suggestions. Isn't this what a professional community should be?

RSS, Blogs and Wikis with Karen Blakeman

Last night I attended a thought provoking CILIP event at Basingstoke Library - RSS, Blogs and Wikis by Karen Blakeman. Organised by my local sub-branch this was a very popular event - interesting as I had seen very little publicity and had wondered if we would be the only ones there! At the beginning Karen did a quick hands-up assessment to see how many folk had heard of the different 2.0 technologies. About half of the room had heard of RSS feeds although not everyone was sure what they were for; blogs were only used by a small number of people and wiki knowledge was mostly limited to the odd search on Wikipedia. Probably quite indicative of an average group of UK library staff but it was good to see how many people had given up their evening to come along and find out more. I've been reading Karen's blog for a couple of months now and had come across most of her recommendations before but it was really interesting to hear which services she recommended for beginners and how to get experimenting. Today Karen posted her presentation and recommended links on the RBA website and I'd recommend having a look as it is a useful introduction to the subject.

I'm looking forward to getting together with my colleagues who also attended and seeing how we can start to use this technology to improve our library service. Maybe an internal wiki for library procedures and ideas or RSS feeds for readers to get news of new books/library events etc. There is always the standard difficulty of permission, getting the powers that be to agree (or even the IT department!) will probably be the biggest battle but I'm hoping if we start small and demonstrate something that works and makes a difference we can move onto bigger things. Watch this space...

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