I had a very good first ALA experience in Chicago, I went to lots of interesting programs, spent time perusing the vendors, and met interesting library folks from all over the country. Although I have to say, the vastness of ALA was a bit over-much for my introverted self and it was a challenge to strike up conversations when I just wanted a bit of quiet between one program and the next. Nonetheless, Chicago was packed with librarians and it was fun to walk down the street and guess whether someone was or wasn't...
Friday July 10 Pre-conference: Customer Service from the Best
This was a great program from the training manager at Trump Properties in Atlantic City. She has done a lot of training for NJ Libraries and it was surprising how many parallels there were between casinos and libraries (still looking for an exciting library version of a comped drink ticket - somehow forgiving fines doesn't seem as glamorous.)
- ACT Customer Service
- Acknowledge - smile be pro-active, friendly verbal greeting
- Connect - Use names when you can, give info, solve problems, listen!
- Thank - invite a return visit, express appreciation, share info about upcoming programs, give a fond farewell
Start a volunteer greeter program
If there is a negative experience at any point on someones library visit, other staff have to work twice as hard to make the overall experience better. If you can't do good customer service for the customers - do it for your fellow staff!
Saturday, July 11
Redesigning Tech Services (OCLC presentation)
Redesigning Technical Services Workflows, Saturday morning, July 11, 2009:
NISO OCLC study looking at metadata standards - how do we leverage and collaborate to get better metadata and have everyone do less work in publishing and libraries (Not so much my cup of tea so I can't recall who this presenter was - interesting but not as engaging as the next two speakers for me.)
Arlene Klair, Adaptive Cataloging & Database Mgmt Group Leader, University of Maryland Libraries
- UMUC has directed their attention to streamlining their processing and copy cataloging sot that catalogers can spend their time on cataloging special collections
- Shelf-ready processing with their main book vendor - UMUC can do it cheaper but they cannot do it faster
- They use Connexion for batch loading (as does WC)
- They download full-records and take them without fussing so much
- They've started using 100% cataloging option from OCLC called Promptcat which catches any records that aren't up to standards and OCLC finishes the record based on their profile (at least this is what I understood - need to look into this further.)
- They use a commercial service called Bibliographic Notification to upgrade bibs (especially CIP) lag is somewhere between 2 and 3 months.
Rick Anderson, Associate Director for Scholarly Resources and Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
Rick acknowledged that anyone who had heard him speak before would find his remarks repetitive, but thought it was all worth hearing again.
There are 4 areas where “Technical Services needs retooling.”
- Collection Development
- Consolidation — put serial and monograph staff into one organizational unit
- Simplification [of processes] — use shelf-ready, don’t examine every book, duplicate call numbers don’t cause the patron to fail in retrieving the right book
- Simplification — drop check-in, binding, and claiming for print journals and focus on doing things that get the patron access when the patron needs it
- Their orders are shipped to OCLC to be cataloged and sent to them shelf ready - "they will do it well enough" there aren't enough problems to warrant inspecting each item
- Simplification — Catalog is not about completeness it is about Connection. He suggested looking at the catalog logs to see if known item searches are the most frequent type of search
- Subject headings should be thought of as opportunities for keyword searches - suggested not worrying too much about punctuation or beauty
- Set up processed for the bulk of items not the exceptions
- “Patrons know; librarians guess.” use ILL as a selection tool - suggested looking at circ rates, 50% of librarian selected items didn't circ Pay extra shipping to get books from Amazon overnighted. Also purchased an Espresso Book Machine to do print on demand
Champagne Dreams on a Beer Budget: Cost Conscious library space designs
(All three presentations are available through the above link.)
Norfolk Public libraries have done a phenomenal job of improving every library branch. Each has a kidzone and 30 Internet terminals, new carpet, paint. $123.605 per branch
Terrific customer service to give the same treatment to every branch - rich and poor alike.
Brooklyn Public - new Teen center in a storefront staffed by a youth counselor. Computers and magazines but no other collection - down the street from the library so there are runners. Interesting idea. Met someone the next week at RWA who was from this system and when I commented on what a neat idea it was she grimaced mildly and did a tiny eye roll - I guess innovation always looks different from the outside than from the inside! :)
Library 2.0 buildings: Creating Zones with Heart
was packed and I got there too late to get a good seat - the usual thoughtful and visual presentation - don't put up nasty signs or make it clear that the director is the only valued member of the community by putting up a parking sign reserving their space - lots of slides.
Here is one presenter's blog posting pre-ALA regarding the program
And an article about the panel discussion in LJ
Sunday July 12
2.0)verload: What a small, understaffed library really needs by Michael Porter of WebJunction
- Meebo - staff of 7 at Freemont Library in CO has chat on their site
- Twitter - can be another tool for pushing library programing
- Someone mentioned KGB - text a question paid service (why isn't library land doing this - can Question Point provide this service with AskUsNow?) Gates grant to publicize it?
- Flickr - put it all out there...
With Respect and Dignity: Serving homeless people in library communities
- Michael Santangelo, OLOS presenter, said that ALA will have a toolkit on this topic coming out soon (Dec 09?)
- There is also an OLOS listserv on poor and homeless patrons
- OLOS can help find resources and connect folks who are looking at similar problems but Michael emphasized that no two situations are the same - based on environment, community, administrative attitudes, etc...
- Suggested getting buy-in from whole staff and networking with other institutions
- Start from a place of professionalism - we didn't create the problem
- know your library's policies and be sure that they are applied across the board - bad body odor and too much perfume should both be addressed same for strollers and suitcases
- Document the advocacy process (programs, pictures, etc.) so that you can determine what works and what doesn't
- Preventative librarianship - local social services, programming with govt agencies on filling out paperwork, handling debt, foreclosure and landlord issue assistance and legal resources, etc.
- Again there is more - really neat librarian from Lexington, Kentucky, Ruthie Maslin, has done some tremendous programming - she surveyed her potentially homeless folks and asked what they wanted in the way of library services - it was all very reasonable and doable. Seeking input instead of assuming
- LPL issues library cards with limits on # of items - individuals can use the shelter address
- She listed 5 steps to success:
- involve all staff
- involve customers you hope to connect with
- set achievable goals
- measures of success
- budget for it
OCLC Report titled Online Catalogs: What users and librarians want
Presented by Karen Calhoun and Janet Hawk - presentation available on Slideshare
- Users expect catalog to look and work like popular web sites (summaries, abstracts, TOC, google search)
- users want context - excerpts from books, music and video clips and ideally full-text
- Delivery is as important or more important than discovery
- How do we delivery books? More links to online full-text
- Improved search relevancy is important
- Evidence based cataloging
- Digital online accessible materials are important to users - especially global users (Can a public library justify spending $ on traffic that doesn't pay taxes? Can we afford not to have that traffic?)
- Cornell does 80% of their cataloging as fastcat in acquisitions - accepting the full-record with few if any changes. They accept that fast and conveniently available are essential to quality library experience
- Align resources with effort - media and digital collections
- Consortial cataloging could be a good option for getting the regular stuff out of the way and focusing on special collections
Monday was taken up with packing and taking a boat tour of Chicago architecture (it was my director's idea - honest!). A very worthwhile trip. Thanks WMRL!