Posts tagged ‘Libraries’

Sigh

I just logged in to check my Comcast account and the following headline was in the top five:

“Dead? You still have to pay library fine!”

What started as a story in the local paper has been now picked up by the AP and is out on the wires. The AP version is brief and it was not until I found the detailed local one that I got truly disheartened, especially when I read this:

When she returned the book last week, Schaper said, “I explained that my mother had died suddenly and that I was returning a book she had checked out.”

Schaper said she was stunned when the man behind the library counter informed her of the 50-cent late fee.

Schaper said the man, whose name she doesn’t know, “showed no compassion or understanding at all.”

“He didn’t say he was sorry and didn’t offer to waive the fine,” she said. “He did say he would cancel my mother’s library card. He seemed to have ce in his veins, and he had the demeanor of a robot.”

In the end, Schaper said, “I gave him two quarters and left in total isbelief.”

Honestly, is this kind of bad PR worth the 50 cents? And it is no longer just bad PR for that one library now that it has been picked up by AP and is flahsing as a headline for everyone in my region of NJ who is logging on to their Comcast account tonight.

September 26, 2007 at 10:22 pm 9 comments

Help Shape the Future of Libraries in NJ!

From an e-mail from Peggy Cadigan, Consultant for Innovation and Communication, at the New Jersey State Library. (I’m so happy to see this come out of the futures conference that was held – my app is already in!)

Subject: Participation in NJSL Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future – applications needed by August 15, 2007

Norma Blake, State Librarian, has instituted a “Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future” to continue the groundbreaking work begun by the Mid-Atlantic Library Futures Conference. The State Library recognizes that it is imperative to have input from the people who are shaping the future of New Jersey’s libraries.

This is an open invitation to anyone currently working in a New Jersey library who has an interest in the future of libraries to apply for a possible appointment to the Task Force. The Task Force will comprise members from different types of libraries and from different job titles. Applications will be reviewed by a panel selected by the State Librarian and appointments made following the review process. The goal of the Task Force will be to make recommendations about how libraries can respond in the future to the information received at the conference and the challenges presented. How can local libraries and the State Library respond to projected demographic changes, growing diversity, an aging population, and technological advances?

We expect that this task force will require a short-term commitment. It is expected that the task force will meet once a month for six months, beginning September 2007, culminating in a report to the State Librarian by March 2008. The report will be presented at the April 2008 NJLA Conference.

If you are interested in serving on this panel, please complete page two of the application which can be found at https://mail01.palsplus.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.njstatelib.org/News/Blue%2520Ribbon%2520Panel.pdf and return it by August 15, 2007 to:

Peggy Cadigan
Consultant for Innovation and Communication
New Jersey State Library
185 West State Street
P.O. Box 520
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0520

You may send the application as a word document e-mail attachment or fax it to: 609-633-3963.
Contact Peggy Cadigan with any questions. 609-278-2640, Ext. 113 or 609-292-4161, pcadigan@njstatelib.org

July 13, 2007 at 2:15 pm 1 comment

The Ultimate Question and One More…

I just came across this article in OCLC’s NextSpace No. 5 (from Dec. 2006 – Yikes! Where was I!?) Are You Asking the Ultimate Question? which talks about a book by Fred Reichheld, The Ultimate Question.

This article talks about how the most important question to ask of your customers/patrons is “Would you recommend us to a friend?” In fact, the argument is made that this need be the ONLY question if you survey. Yes, a one-word survey!

I actually heard this recently when I toured a hospital in Paterson – they have this question stated explicitly as a goal – “Would you (in this case the employee) recommend this hospital to your friends or family members?” A pretty good question to keep in mind! I think it is a good thing just to ask ourselves to make sure we are providing a level of service that we would be proud to offer to our own circle.

Which reminds of something I heard recently about the bathrooms in some public libraries – the staff wouldn’t stand for having to use them and have their own bathrooms which are in much better shape, but they expect their patrons to use them all the time!? This is like a “home” and the patrons are a guest in your home – is that the bathroom condition you would present to your guests at home?

Anyway . . .

Fred Reichheld is saying that the answer to this one question could determine the future of your business or library.

With something that is this “old” (the book came out in January 2006) I always worry that someone else has already addressed this, but it is totally new to me and I think very important for libraries.

Nonbusiness organizations also have customers; they need to delight the people
they serve, and they too can benefit greatly from the use of one simple metric.
- Fred Reichheld in NextSpace No. 5.

Wow! DELIGHT the people they serve! What a novel idea! So how does this one question work?

You ask a question such as, “On a scale of 1-10 how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”

Promoters score 9 or 10 – are loyally enthusiastic, keep coming and urging others to do so

Passives score 7 or 8 – are satisfied but easily wooed away

Detractors are the rest – UNHAPPY CUSTOMERS, feel ignored/mistreated, plot to get even!

Sometimes a follow-up question is asked to gain more insight. “If you would not recommend us, why not?” (Those answers might be hard to face!)

Ironically, customer loyalty provides companies with a powerful advantage – a
battalion of credible sales and marketing and PR troops who require no salary or
commissions. Yet the importance of these customer promoters is overlooked. -
Fred Reichheld, NextSpace No. 5.

We already know the power of negative experiences in stores or libraries and the studies that show that if a customer has a bad experience they are likely to tell (something like) 12 people! If they have a good experience they don’t tell nearly as many. It takes way more positive experiences to overcome one negative experience. We need to create as many positive experiences, and positive, PROMOTER-users as possible!

I recommend you read the article if you’re not familiar with this – it also contains information on the OCLC report Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources. Steve Hiller also provides a lot of information in this article.

I plan to check this out some more and do some reading on the blogs related to this idea. I think it would be fascinating to do this type of one- or two-word survey and see what we get!

One other question I want to bring up here is “What business are we in?” I used this today when a volunteer came to me with yet another ripped magazine cover, very distressed. I told her that we aren’t in the business of preserving magazines perfectly forever. We are in the business of providing magazines to be read. True, if one person destroys a magazine they are obstructing others from having access to it, but some ripped and torn covers is not really the priority of our business.

So I say, ask yourself, “What business are you in?” and then ask yourself and your customers, “Would you recommend us to a friend or family member?”

EDIT:
Okay sorry I’m having trouble in the comments but the link for the new forum on Net Promoter is:

http://netpromoter.groupee.net/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/2731073251/m/6701054452

Sorry I couldn’t edit or delete those messed up comments b/c I didn’t install greasemonkey yet per Peter! :-)

May 18, 2007 at 1:23 pm 6 comments

Why Librarians and Libraries are Important

Here we go, someone who get it! As many times as I have heard my friends ask me why I chose a “dying profession,” I have never worried about my job security. Personally, my reason for this was because of the old saying:

If people, in general, thought rationally there would never be a need for librarians. Since history has proven this not to be the case, librarians’ job will always be secure.

My friend sent me this article on the Library profession which gives 33 Reasons Why Librarians and Libraries are Important. Yes, many of the reasons are arguments against the Internet. For the rationale thinkers out there, who are picky about who and where they get their information from, this is not really a surprise but for the other 46% of Americans who consider Wikipedia a reliable source of information, it might give them something to think about and, who knows… perhaps even get a library card.

February 1, 2007 at 8:03 pm

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