Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dreaming about "extreme customer service"

I do adore David Lee King - his posts and articles always make me think (AND they make me green with envy - why can't he work for MY library system?? Oh yeah, like my system would ever let someone innovative, creative, and daring upset the occasionally cement-like status quo. We're good at lots of stuff - but "change" isn't one of them. Early adaptors we're not).

Read this post about the Darien Library's "extreme customer service." Their catchphrase? "Why would we NOT allow that?" Isn't that astonishing and refreshing? Too often library policy seems specially formulated to NOT allow as many things as possible, and every time another little incident occurs, another negative policy or rule is created.

At the end of the post, King asks:

"Does your library have a core message, and how does that play out? And … does your library lock technology down so much so that it hinders the work of the library? What would happen if you opened that can of worms up? Would any escape? Something to think about…"

I'd love to let out all the worms!!


  1. Yeah, why can't we have children racing around the library like maniacs, jumping off the furniture into piles of stuffed animals? Why can't we have their parents sitting around with laptops, Starbucks, and cell phones, utterly oblivious to the chaos. Why shouldn't people be allowed to cut the pictures out from the books or highlight passages or change the baby's diapers on one of the couches? Eva, I'm all for customer service, but c'mon. People are beginning to treat every single place they go to like it's their own livingroom (or, I have to assume, WORSE than their own livingroom). What's wrong with having a place that people can visit to used shared materials and engage in quiet, indoor behavior?

  2. I have to hope there's a happy place somewhere between keep off the grass and utter chaos. Not EVERYTHING should be allowed, and certainly not behavior that damages library property or disturbs people. But it isn't helpful to staff or customers to have an administrative policy of always saying "no" immediately, without thinking - "wait, why shouldn't we offer that service?" There might be a good reason why not - but again, it might be worth a try.

    We're not doing brain surgery here. No one is going to die if we take a risk now and then.