Category Archives: customer service

Self issue for kids

Self checkout for kids

Originally uploaded by Andrea Mercado

I love this idea! Children are always intrigued by what we do when we issue (checkout) books at the library and I imagine they’d be delighted to be able to do it themselves. It’s such a simple idea but so effective.


Going to the user

Librarian In Black has spotted a number of libraries using IM to offer help to users in the library. She links to an example at the University of Alberta and someone from Alberta has left a comment explaining how the service came about and how it fits into some major service changes at the library. This is a very simple idea using something that a number of libraries are already using to communicate with users outside the library – IM reference – to solve a problem inside the library. We ask users not to leave their bags unattended, we warn them about thefts in the library and we set their computers to time out if they leave them for too long, then we expect them to come and queue at an enquiry desk if they need help with their PC. A simple chat box on the screen enabling you to ‘talk to a librarian’ allows you to report faults and ask questions and staff can respond by chatting or by physcially going to the user. I really like this idea but there are some obvious problems it doesn’t help with such as ‘how do I logon’ and ‘how do I use the chat box’?! Has anyone heard of this being used in public libraries or in libraries in the UK?

Answers in a comment box…

More customer service thoughts

And for more great thoughts on customer service in libraries check out the posts by The Leapin’ Librarian and Helene Blowers. Leapin’ Librarian writes about radical trust and not putting library “rules” above good customer service and Helene writes a very short but thought-provoking post about service vs. experience. Head over and have a read…

If I didn’t work here…

It’s easy to get over excited about different applications and ideas for ways to transform library services. Harder to make sure that we change things that make a difference to library users. Today I’ve been trying to think about what I would want from my library account if I didn’t work at the library. Some are 2.0, others are just things that would make a difference to me.

1. Pay my library fines online with a credit card. If I didn’t work here I would certainly have library fines and I would want to pay fines when I renewed my late books online to save time when in the library and stop my card getting blocked.

2. Manage my loans history. A chronological list is fine but if I can borrow 30 items at a time I would want to manage that list, save items that I may want to borrow again and mark authors that I didn’t like so I don’t make the same mistake twice!

3. RSS feeds for authors and titles. I’m pretty addicted to my Bloglines and I’d like a feed for new books by authors I have enjoyed and a feed for my wish list so I know when new titles I’m interested in have arrived.

4. A wish list! At the moment I add items I want to borrow to my Amazon wish list but I would love a library wish list that I could add to even if the book isn’t available in the library. I’d then like to be able to search for and reserve items from my wish list.

5. Online ILL requesting. I know many libraries do this already but we haven’t quite caught up yet and this is something I would really want as a reader.

6. Books due reminders. Again I’ve seen this elsewhere and it’s something that would make a difference to forgetful folk like me! Email or SMS acceptable.

What would make a difference to you?

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.