Saturday, March 28, 2009

Putting Service Into Library Staff Training A Patron Centered Guide by Joanne M. Bessler

Putting Service Into Library Staff Training A Patron Centered Guide by Joanne M. Lesser is a very short book. It is 72 pages long with an index. The book was written in 1994, but much of what is being said is still relevant.

The reason I read this book was to find out the meaning of the term patron centered library. It starts with finding out what the three main groups which a library serves want, the (FAP) funders, administrators, and patrons. Then turning these wants into ways to serve them.

After finding out wants, the services needed are included in job descriptions, training and staff development, and rules and policies for interacting with patrons. Every level of staff throughout a library is to be made aware of the different services and promote them for the library. It is a philosophy of every staff member serving the patron at some level, very similar to the idea of every person in a company selling the company.

Some of the training suggested is listening and customer service training. I would imagine this might include active listening, knowledge elicitation techniques, patron problem solving, and dealing with complaints.

The next level of the document explains that service is a long term committment and has to be written into the mission statement of the organization as well as given staff rewards and recognition. In the end even things like convenient hours, appropriate material, adequate study space, and friendly staff are part of a service ethic.

There is a strong appeal to this book, Many people go into the library field to help people. It is a helping profession. This book brings together a kind of complete philosophy to bring the patron front and center. It also addreses many problems that are still quite relevant in libraries.

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