Leave the Stereotypes Behind

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					 Leave the Stereotypes
New Tools for Shaping
the Library Experience
              Joan Frye Williams
                      April 2008
What’s Behind the Stereotypes?
Who Are Your “Civilians”?
How We See Civilians
How They See Themselves
           Civilian Reality
 Information  everywhere
 Ideas economy
 Decline of deference
 Preference for
 Time pressure
Detailed Rules, Procedures,
  and Standards Ensure
     Excellent Service
Civilian Perspective:
  Do These People
Really Want Me Here?
Strong Sense of Arrival
Inspiring Destinations
              Cleanliness
              Hospitality
              Views
              Natural  light
              Improvisation
              Better than home
              Source of pride
“Green” Buildings
  and Practices
Zoning by User Activity
Youth-Savvy Staff
      OK, Within Reason…

 Talking
 Food  and drink
 Shared computers
 Gaming
 Cell phones
    What Advice Would You
      Give the Library?
 “Be more pleasant to people”
 “Make the atmosphere…
  not so clinical”
 “Relax a bit on the
 “Lighten up!”
 “Stop making it feel so
  much like church!”
      Hospitality Insurance

 Minimal  gate-keeping
 Fewer, simpler rules
 Presumption of
Service Isn’t About
Winning Arguments
Make Something Happen!
If We Shelve It, They Will Come
     Civilian Perspective:
Do They Have Anything I Want?
Resource Allocation
  Emphasis on Abundance
 Mid-list fiction
 Fast, convenient delivery
 Minimal rationing
 Appeal factor
 Leveraging the Books Brand

 Benefits  of reading
 Reading lifestyle
 Support for authors
 Ties to/from other media
 All staff recommend books
Plenty of Programs/Classes
Tie-Ins with Local Arts Events
Make Something Happen!
“Patrons” Aren’t Capable of
   Finding Good Things
       on Their Own
Civilian Perspective:
Why Do They Call It
   Browsable Multimedia
Information Neighborhoods
     Consistent Terminology
 Magazines
 Periodicals
 Journals
 Serials
 Periodical literature
 Current periodicals
 Back issues
 Bound journals
Engines, Not OPACs
   Recombinable Resources
 Mainstream    data formats
 Easy import/export/snip
 Digitized materials
 Institutional and civilian-defined tags
Make Something Happen!
One-on-One Service Is Our
 Most Valuable Product
Civilian Perspective:
Will I Succeed Here?
      Simplified Wayfinding

 Less clutter
 Consolidated desks
 Situational signage
 Virtual tours
 Prepackaged tips,
  shortcuts, FAQs
Self-Directed Service
       Support for
Different Learning Styles
                Individual,   Pair,
                Print, Media
                Quiet, Lively
                Traditional,
Zone Staffing

 Staff are responsible for the overall
  environment and for the civilians’
  successful experience, not just for specific
 Everyone assists with basic civilian tasks
 “Hip to hip” service
“Bookends” Service

              Get me

              Check   back
      Dispatched Service
 Centrally located desk(s)
 Staffed by non-librarian dispatcher
 Dispatcher matches question to the best
  person to handle it
 Librarians work on call
 Tech staff work on call
 Work to completion with
  each person
     Redeployed Reference

 Online reference
 Hot topics
 Extreme Googling
 Training, coaching
 Appointments
 Community specialists
Make Something Happen!
Quality Always Takes Longer
       But It’s Worth It
Civilian Perspective:
How Convenient Is it?
Expedited Returns and
Netflix-Style Circulation
Podcast/Webcast Programs
 Text/IM and
Going Where the People Are
Make Something Happen!
We Talk, They Listen
   Civilian Perspective:
Am I Trusted to Participate?
Nobody Knows (or Cares)
     That It’s 2.0
   Outreach to Non-Library
Blogs, Wikis, Social Networks
  Real-Time Activities Buzz
 Live circulation activity, e.g. Yorba
  Linda PL “book feed”
 Today’s hot topics
 Live program excerpts
 New titles just in
 Wireless strength
 Parking cam
Online Donations
Collaborative Filtering
         The Idea Laboratory

A place to TRY new things:

 Book art studio
 Media production facility
 New technology showcase
 Small business incubator
Make Something Happen!
   One Last Stereotype:
To Use the Library Is to Love
        The Library
There Is No Correlation
 Between Library Use
 and Library Support
  Complacency Can Be Fatal

                 Kathy Sierra on the “Creating Passionate Users” blog
10 Ways to Know if You’re
    on the Right Track
 You Know What Kind of
Success You’re Aiming For
       Some Indicators of
   Civilian-Centered Success
 Circulation          Smiles
 Users                Press
 Diversity            Partners
 Visits               Thanks
 Volunteers           Clout
 Friends              $$$$
You Have More Than One Idea
  About How to Get There
You’re Not Waiting for “Perfect”
You’re Inviting the
Entire Community
  to Participate
You’re Speaking Up
   You’re Trying
New Ways of Working
You’re Helping Each Other
       to Succeed
     You’re Learning and
Making Adjustments as You Go
You’re Finding Ways to
       Have Fun
You’re Building Relationships

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