Friday, December 3, 2010

WebJunction Conference: Serving the 21st Century Patron

Wednesday and Thursday afternoon (for those on the east coast) featured WebJunction's Serving the 21st Century Patron online conference. This free conference (thanks WJ!) "focused on the changing needs, approaches, challenges and opportunities related to customer service in your 21st-century library."

I was able to attend most of the sessions. While all the content was good, the session I found most thought-provoking and motivating was Pat Wagner's "Staying Committed to Great Customer Service When Your Library is in Chaos". Her session was focused on how library employees can provide great customer service when your library is in chaos. Pat encouraged us to take notes during her session. Here are mine.

- plans take the drama out of work
- let people who work with you and for you know what to do; instill them with decision making confidence

Focus on details of your own behavior

Customer Service
- welcome: smile, nod, say hello and goodbye
- play fair: no exceptions for folks you like
- stay consistently positive
- manners are rituals of respect
- competent follow-through

Learned optimism

Hire for attitude, train for skill

Six steps to build momentum:
1. create momentum
2. establish vision
3. know current status
4. develop priorities
5. focus on aligning
6. track and share progress

The other highlight was Battledecks! It was highly entertaining thanks to the the audience commentary on the slides. Definitely check it out!

"Changing Reference Services to Meet Patron Expectations" was another useful discussion I took notes.
- engage committees to assess their needs
- learning new skills
- changing delivery modes for reference services
- role of coaching: consider your abilities and limitations
- information services as customer development

need present -> define need -> assess customer -> provide assistance -> follow-up -> repeat

I spent more time listening to "Morale Issues in your Library" than taking notes. I did jot down a few items that were key for me.
- improve communication to improve morale
- sometimes it is not about you
- develop your skills
- leave work stress at work
- leave home stress at home
- find joy in other parts of your life
- find success and motivation in other parts of your life

"2-1-1 and Library Partnerships" was a session featuring a service that was completely new to me: 2-1-1. It is a one stop shop for social services referrals. It is supported by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems and the United Way. 211 provides
- basic human needs
- physical and mental health
- employment support
- support for senior citizens
- children and families
- volunteers and donors
- advocacy and legal services
- emergency and disaster services
2-1-1 is not available in this part of Pennsylvania.

Other blog posts on the conference:
21st Century Library Ideas

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