On a + note

Reflections on Pike

Posted in on a + note by flickfancy on January 20, 2014

kitty jan20“What we have done for ourselves alone, dies with us; What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”  – A. Pike

I read this quote a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it while shoveling snow!  I keep thinking about what has kept public libraries serving and evolving in North America for over 150 years.

Pike’s quote speaks to how in challenging times there is a tendency to circle the wagons, turn inward and look at ourselves. Institutionally this is not sustainable and in fact results in cannibalizing the library infrastructure which ultimately affects public service and our future.

On the flip side: facing outward, focusing on our customers and embracing innovation are the tactics that will insure the library’s future.

So, how do you practically do this? Consider these options…

►Face outward:

▪The library can’t thrive if you can’t get customers through the door or accessing the website! So honestly, how do your “front of house” and website really look, like your grandma’s library or a 21st century community library?

▪How is the library’s marketing plan really working? Is it just another report or is it making a difference in the libraries ability to push the product and engage the community?

►Focus on customer service:

▪Has the library clearly defined what great customer service actually is? If not here’s a start

▪Great customer service just doesn’t happen. When was the last time the library: actually surveyed customers in a meaningful way? recognized a staff member’s great customer service? organized a customer service workshop for front line staff? recruited circulation staff with positive retail experience?

►Embrace innovation:

▪ When was the last time you tried an idea just to see what would happen, without knowing the end result?

▪ Is testing new ideas a part of the libraries strategic plan and staff performance evaluations?

▪ When was the last time you said YES?

“…what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal

and that’s why I’m a librarian.

Kitty Pope                                                                                                 #3 January 2014


PS  Hope it’s warmer in your neck of the woods….kp


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