On a + note

Breaking down the time barrier. #6: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on March 21, 2011

This is no news flash, but our customers are overwhelmed, overworked, and over-stressed. However, it is a reminder that the time barrier has made it more and more difficult for libraries to attract and engage new customers. One of the primary reasons that folks don’t use the library is simply a lack of time. “I don’t have time to access that software, walk the dog, paint the fence, or look for that book.”

So, it seems evident that our goal should be to “break down the time barrier” and make is quick and easy for folks to use the library. Shouting louder about the library and handing out more bookmarks are not the answers! Libraries need to develop new protocols to save our customers time. For example:

1. Make registration and check out quicker. Have all hands on deck when more that two people are lined up at a desk, and stop asking useless questions on the registration form!
2. If staff members can’t immediately assist a customer, they must at least recognize those waiting with a nod or an acknowledging “I’ll be right with you.”
3. Make the website intuitive and one click away.
4. Market the library as the “time-saving search engine.”
5. Push market library programs to our e-customers.
6. Embrace eBooks as the ultimate time saver. Why? It’s simple; there are no parking problems and no pesky overdue fines!
7. Offer roving reference. Instead of sitting at the desk, staff members with iPads are on the floor helping customers. Answer reference and readers’ advisory questions, download e-resources, and access databases. Email the info directly to the inquiring customer for later reference. How slick is that! Of every three GPL customers we approach, two are taking us up on our offer of immediate help.

There is no doubt that our customers are feeling the time crunch. Simply put, we need to save our customers’ time. Libraries can increase market share by repositioning themselves as a time-saving solution.

Speaking of time, the daffodils finally are up here in south western Ontario, so I am headed to the garden.

Have a great week. Spring has finally sprung!
Kitty Pope
kpope@library.guelph.on.ca #6 March 2011


One Response to 'Breaking down the time barrier. #6: 2011'

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  1. Rebecca said,

    I bought an e book reader after reading on your blog that the library was building up their supply of ebooks. Two reference staff helped me figure it out. I also tried a little digital book that you can pop in your pocket while walking. Really liked those, too. Going to the library has always been part of my life and I can see that over the past few years, at this stage of life, I access it on line more, and visit less. Oh, and I really like the front of the main library now that it is opened up and painted. Looks inviting.

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