Staff Name: Carrie Willson-Plymire
Program: MLA Conference 2009
Session #1: Moving Reference Beyond the Desk
Frederick County's C. Burr Artz Library has implemented mobile technology to allow librarians to meet patrons "at their point of need." They formed a committee, got a grant from LSTA, and purchased Vocera one button voice communicators and Q1 mobile personal computers. About 21 hours a week folks staff the main library answering questions. The mobile librarian volunteers are cross trained in every department and do everything they can for patrons in the stacks, at the catalog, etc. Their grant expired this spring and they are working on rolling out the service to branches and training more staff (I think I have that right.) Only staff who are interested are trained so as to only have helpful librarians roving. Clever idea that.
Aha! Moment: Trained in every department. One of my greatest dislikes from a customer service point of view is sending people to another desk to have their question answered. I don't like being passed around when I am a customer, I just want an answer... Let's provide that level of service to our customers as often as we can.
Session #2: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes: Ergonomics at the Library.
Nothing earth-shattering to this presentation, but very timely as we think about designing a new library and continually re-work our processes in tech services. Work smarter and safer, not harder. One of the presenters was from IWIF a company does workers comp insurance for many MD libraries. There is also good info to be had at OSHA and from Oklahoma State. Anne Wheeler a librarian from DNR presented specifically on ergonomics in the library and shared a lot of good information - always push book carts, take books off the shelf with both hands, etc...
Aha! moment: The workflow in Washington County's Tech Services dept needs to be changed asap - it's too much shelving and reshelving. Lots to think about...
Session #3: The Case of the Millennials' Mysterious Searching Habits
Lucy Holman, director of the U. of Baltimore Library presented research that she has done observing the search habits of millenials. Very interesting presentation and terrific info which she also presented at an ARLD poster session. If you are intersted in a more thorough description check out this blog from another conference attendee "spinstah."
Aha! moment: more of a question really - Are millenials really the only ones who have short attention spans, don't really understand how search works, and will settle for the first 5 results not necessarily the 5 best results? Is this more a sympton of searching in the millenium? Did I say that right?
Session #4: Now! That's what I call customer service
Julie Strange and Cathay Crosby from Maryland Ask Us Now! presented. Again I will point you to spinstah's blog for a more in-depth description of this session. Basically a good, well-presented review of quality customer service in general and as it applies to chat and email reference.
Aha! moment: Loved Julie's description (though not original to her, as she freely admitted) of rules. Rules are important to organizations, but it is more important to good customer service to be clear about which rules are hard and fast and which are guidelines. At Nordstom the only rule is "Use your best judgement." If you don't trust someone you don't hire them. Julie advocated that it be made clear which rules are "red" - cannot be broken, which are "yellow" - check with a supervisor, and which are "green" - more of a guideline. As someone who doesn't like rules too much I really appreciate this. It's important to be really clear with our supervisors and with those we supervise which rules are which color...
Great Conference -- if anyone wants to talk more about any of the programs I attended, I'd be more than happy to. - Carrie