Posts tagged under: Library Management

The touchpoints of exceptional customer service

2016-07-05 DisneyDuring the OCLC Symposium at ALA Annual this year, we got the opportunity to hear from Disney Institute’s Amy Rossi. Amy talked about how Disney seeks to understand the complete customer experience and “overmanage” the details that contribute to it. You can find a longer summary of the event in my previous post.

During the event, Amy gave us some time to think about and share the touchpoints that visitors to the library (virtual or in person) encounter and what kind of experience they’re likely to have. At my table, we talked mostly about library signage—how do we give people all the information they’ll need without crowding the entrance way with signs? Other people shared concerns about parking lots, the staff members who sit closest to the front door, how users click through the library’s website and many other touchpoints.

We caught a few attendees after the event to capture their immediate thoughts on how Amy’s presentation relates specifically to libraries. Here’s what they had to share.

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What Disney taught us about great service

2016-07-05 Disney

ALA Annual is always a great place to learn and meet people. As the Vice President of Management and Customer Operations at OCLC, I found that one of the highlights of this year’s conference was the OCLC Symposium on how to deliver a great customer experience. Now, if you’re like me, when you think about Disney’s magic you don’t think about parking lots or birds in the Enchanted Tiki Room that look like they’re actually breathing. But it’s exactly those types of details that make the Disney experience so complete, compelling and successful.

Amy Rossi from the Disney Institute—who admitted that she once moved to a new city and got a library card before a new driver’s license—talked to us about how Disney manages its customer experience. She started out by making the great point that Disney and libraries are really in the same industry: the service industry. To Disney, entertainment and hospitality are side effects of great service. Likewise, people come to libraries for a lot of different reasons, but all libraries provide service.

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The Collective Perspective

collective-collections

Collective collection has become part of the librarian argot. Coined by our colleague, Lorcan Dempsey, the term emerged from OCLC Research’s work analyzing library collections at scales above the institutional level—group, consortial, regional, national, and even global.

The best way of understanding collective collections is to start with WorldCat, which is a global registry of library holdings. Taken together, these holdings document the sum total of materials available in library collections worldwide—or at least a close approximation. In this sense, WorldCat represents the collective collection of the global library system as a whole.

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Time travelling ILL

time-travel-ill

The Twilight Reference Zone

Picture if you will an American public library. Any library will do. A smartly dressed, clean-shaven man in his mid-40s approaches the reference desk.

“Can I help you find something?” asks the librarian.

“Yes,” says the man, “I’m looking for a copy of Bats and Bones, a Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mystery.”

“Let me see if I can find that for you,” says the young woman behind the desk as she checks FirstSearch.

“Just one thing, please,” asks the man as he waits. “I’m looking for a specific edition.”

Scrolling past titles, the librarian says, “Oh?” without looking up.

“Yes,” says the man. “I’m looking for the edition that will be published in the year 2102.”

[Cue creepy music.]

This library has entered…the Twilight Reference Zone.

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Here comes the sun

Jeff Jacobs

here-come-sun2

Certain things are wonderful because they are unique. Artwork, musical performances, memories, the important people in our lives. In these cases, we treasure differences.

That is not true, however, for software development. While a service or a feature may perform a very specialized task, the background infrastructure isn’t helped by inconsistencies. Every time you add a different piece of hardware, operating system, software platform or process, you multiply the number of ways you’ll need to maintain your code, impacting quality and driving costs up.

In the technology realm, these inconsistencies are referred to as “snowflakes.” I like to refer to the process of eliminating these inconsistencies as melting snowflakes. Because, just like in real life, snowflakes may be interesting, but they’re not great for software development—they often make you slow down or slip up when you want to move quickly.

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#LibrariesInLife: The Convenience Imperative

Smartphone users

Technology has turned learning outside in

We used to bring all our learning, content and media resources to various “watering holes” where folks would gather to consume it. Classrooms, libraries, newspapers, magazines, TV networks, bookstores and record stores. Why? Because it was the fastest way to distribute a wide variety of materials. It wasn’t wrong. It made sense. But it also left us with embedded cultural and institutional ideas and biases about what learning is, who is involved in our workflows, what counts as “good enough” and even why we learn.

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Moving out in front

Mary Sauer-Games

2016-02-2 moving out in front

We’re at a tipping point

I frequently get to talk to librarians from very different types and sizes of libraries. When I ask about their concerns, there is one refrain I hear consistently: “We’re being asked to do more with less.” When we dig into that sentiment a bit deeper, I usually find that:

  • MORE = More outreach, more hands-on service, more training, more embedded assets, more learning guides, more interaction, more proactive recommendations.
  • LESS = Less money, less staffing, less space, less time.

Doing new things with fewer resources requires a paradigm shift. Why? Well, doing the same things with fewer resources can sometimes be managed through quantitative measures; trimming services, sharing costs, cutting back along the margins. But if you’re being asked to change both your input (funding) and output (services), that’s essentially a recipe for an entirely new way of thinking about how your organization needs to work.

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