Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do you have a library question today?

Today's guest blogger talking about our recent 2011 Conference at The Oregon Garden is Jay Hadley, an Operations Supervisor at the historic Central Library in Multnomah County, where he supervises the work of support staff. He was also our 2011 Conference Committee Chair.

"That's very interesting and thank you for telling me that.  Do you have a library question today?"

Thus was the refrain of the "What to Say: Customer Service in Difficult Situations" session at the 2011 OLA SSD Conference. The room was electric with energy and laughter, as about 80 support staff from libraries all over Oregon shared tales of their customer service experiences and practiced new techniques. Presenter Jennifer Steward played the role of a staff member trying to help a patron, and Lisa Canavan played the role of a difficult patron who kept interjecting all kinds of distractions.  Jennifer kept coming back to the refrain, of "Do you have a library question?" and the participants nodded in approval as they saw different situations handled.  Jennifer and Lisa, both staff at Multnomah County Library, also covered tips on body language and how to deal with potentially dangerous situations.  Two are better than one, so always work with your teammates for safety.

This was just one of my highlights from this conference.  It was a great day at the Oregon Garden in Silverton, with the weather reaching nearly 80 degrees.  124 attendees enjoyed the day and many had a lunchtime tour of the gardens.

Another highlight was Abigail Elder's keynote address.  As the director of Tualatin Public Library, she has worked very hard to build inroads to her community.  She says her best reference time of the week is the hour she spends washing dishes on Fridays at the nearby senior center.  She gets all kinds of questions and has built great relationships.

That's what working at a library is all about for me, building relationships with the people in our various communities.  That way we get the chance to make someone's day, which just might change someone's life!

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing guest bloggers, and I really enjoyed your comments (and Jay's as well). I also love how different parts of a talk or of a conference resonate differently to people. Great post!