So I’ve just wrapped up my second semester of Library School. It was fun, it was a lot of work, and I’m SO glad I’ve been working in libraries for what will be a decade next month. Pulling from my own widely varied experiences have made studying so relatable.
Among fellow librarians I’ve talked with during this semester it’s agreed: if you’re toying with working in a library someday and want to get the degree GO WORK IN A LIBRARY. Make sure you really like working with the public. ALL of the public, not just what you see on television. (It’s less Desk Set and more Buffy in real life.)
For one of my last assignments I had to create an infographic so I took the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do for years. I made a flow chart about offering basic excellent customer service to our face-to-face patrons. When I was nearly done I had my buddy Sarah Anne take a peek at it since she’s the head of our Circulation Department and she asked for a copy when I was done to hang in her department! It made me realize it may be helpful to folks working in libraries or those who are curious about what those interactions should look like.
I’m frequently told how uncanny it is I can give folks bad news (“No, sir, you can not use the children’s restroom.” “No, sweetheart, you can not hit her in the face with a laptop.”) and they leave happy about it. I firmly believe this can be chalked up to genuinely caring and entering each transaction believing the request I’m about to receive is important and worth my full attention. Folks respond to that. They appreciate feeling heard and important. And I never leave them simply shut down, I provide options. (“No, sir, you can not use the restrooms in the Children’s Department but did you know there are adult restrooms on the 1st and 3rd Floors? I’d be happy to show you where!” “No, sweetheart, you can’t hit her in the face with that laptop. Did you know that the library’s rules say we’re supposed to ask people not to come back for a year if they act violently towards another person? I know you were playing but it’s something to keep in mind. No laptops to the face, no aggressive tickling with spaghetti, no karate chops to your friends’ ponytails.”)
So here, have a peek at my work! (I got a 100%, btw – Woohoo!)