Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Good Ideas are all around us

 Stephen Abram is a prolific library blogger who can easily fill up my Feedly blog reader with a wide variety of posts in just a day - all supporting and encouraging library innovation and understanding.

Here are three great ideas he posted in a single post last month that you can use in your church library to improve displays, improve access to kid's books and improve customer service.  (Ultimately it's not 3 separate ideas - just one good idea. And that is PAY ATTENTION!)

Idea #3: Displays
I see lots of book displays.  They are nicely curated but often sooooo dull.  Just piles of books that often neglect to even have a simple sign to alert people to the theme of the display. 
 I’ve seen displays that seem to think that book stands are enough and don’t add in physical objects that attract attention to the theme of the display.  And here’s the kicker...I rarely see a sign encouraging cardholders to borrow a book from the display!  Why not?  Most people might assume that they’re not supposed to touch the display. 
So, take a look at your book displays with fresh eyes, ask the patrons walking by if they see the theme, think they could borrow one of these books, etc.  This is as core to our business as displays are to retailers and museums. 
 Idea #4: Shelving Children’s Books:

I’ve seen toddler board books shelved by author last name.  Yes, really.  Really?!  What kids ask for board books by author?  
One library I visited came in on a day the library was closed and dumped organized them into piles that matched the way the kids asked for board books.  Piles of books were collected on vehicles, alphabets, animals, etc.  Each pile was placed in bins on the lower shelves  for kids to rummage through based on their expressed interests with a picture on the bin that said the theme of the bin.  Then as an added bonus the section had toys that alerted all kids to the themes in the sections.  For the older kids, picture books were organized by them and the toy was atop the section.  Dinosaur books had a big dinosaur over them.  The same for the truck, princess, space, and other themes.  It seemed the perfect organization and display for the early reading–readers.
I know this isn’t by any means a new idea.  I’m just surprised that I still see kids book displays and shelves so patently misaligned with the reader seeking behaviours.
Idea #5: Customer Service Models
The range of customer service in libraries can span the gamut from good to bad.  I’ve seen it all and it’s a wonderful thing when it’s working great.  One model [to emulate is] Starbucks.  I am amazed at the patter my Starbucks staff use to make me feel welcome.  Since I use a Starbucks cards they know my first name and use it.  Over time I get to know [the staff by]  their semi-personalized nametags...
There are some good training models for customer service that libraries could learn from..and we could take some of their best practices and model them too.  ...
Here’s a few I’ve seen that are worth considering:
  • Disney
  • Marriott
  • Ritz Carlton
  • Starbucks
  • Nordstrom
Each of them have a few things in common – a management angel/champion, customer service excellence embedded in their DNA, and empowering employees to make decisions based on the customer’s needs.
Check out more from Stephen's Lighthouse.

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