October 22, 2006
There is much talk of late about new technologies, new social software, and new tools that can be utilized to expand library services. The discussions that are taking place around these innovative ideas are wonderful – and the fact the people feel free to share their experiences with others in the library world is even better. I spend a great deal of time reading about these ideas and how people incorporate them in their library. However, I often wonder about when it makes sense to adopt some of these technologies. As such, I really connected with a post by
Librarian Kathryn Greenhill on the blog librariesinteract.info – Fostering services for the early adopters.
Librarian Kathryn Greenhill writes “When we find a new web tool that we are pretty sure will benefit our users, when should we launch it? When users request it? When we first hear about it? When no-one else knows about it or has shown any desire to use it? After another library has introduced it and received good feedback?” Ultimately, Kathryn concludes that introducing new tools early would be a good thing. Early adopters would flush out problems, issues etc – and could actually help to educate those who work in the libraries.
Overall, I like Kathryn’s argument. In reality, however, I worry about how much we can actually introduce without impacting services that are already in place. There are only so many library employees with so much time to dedicate to so many duties. I have a sense that many library employees already feel overwhelmed with new technologies and new tools – and absolutely dread talking about introducing new ones. Certain people want to explore new ideas – while certain individuals do not. I’m already concerned about staff burnout – which I think harms the face that we present to our patrons. Unhappy library staff make for very disgruntled customers. I know that this is one reason why we deliberately wait for a new tool to become more established before we implement it in my library. There has to be a happy medium. Hmmmm – food for thought!!!
Update – 10/26/2006 – I have added Kathryn Greenhill’s name as the author of the post that inspired my thoughts. For more, read Kathryn’s post over at Librarians matter.
October 22, 2006
Today, I had a book review assignment due for my ILS565-Library Management class. Ok, it really wasn’t a book review since the assignment was to write a speech using the ideas from the book. This was a tough one. I have never written a speech before – and I really have no clue about the quality of the paper I turned in. Oh well, we will see!!!! Meanwhile, the angst is a killer.
The book that I chose for this assignment is Fundamentals of Customer-Focused Management(Wesport, CT: Praeger, 2006) by Joby John. I liked this book because of its focus on customer service for a successful business – something which I think is incredibly important for libraries. In the book, John elaborate’s on the management techniques discussed by Peter Drucker in the 1954 work, The Practice of Management (New York: Harper Collins). Drucker wrote that “there is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer,” and John builds upon this tenet in his book.
Part of John’s purpose in writing this books seems to be trying to explain why some many dot-com businesses of the 1990s failed so miserably. John thinks it is important to be customer-focused and that companies must utilize new technologies within their customer-focused mission. John asserts that many of the dot-com businesses that failed tried to build businesses around the new technologies – the internet, etc – without having a handle on their purpose or mission, on who their customers actually were or what service they were actually providing to their customers.
One of John’s ideas that I think directly relates to libraries is “Businesses cannot succeed in the long term unless they are focused on its customers so as to provide them with superior service” (p.16). I don’t think libraries will succeed if they do not provide their customers with superior service. Overall, there is a great deal of good stuff in this book – that all comes down to developing a customer-focused environment.
I think one of the reasons that I found it difficult to complete this assignment was that there is so much in the book (despite the fact that it is only about 200 pages). The speech was only supposed to be 2-3 double spaced pages. So much didn’t make it in to the speech – instead it is all running around in my head!!!!