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Buyer Beware Investigating the quality of customer service to young adults in a major urban public library Patrick Jones Connecting Young Adults and Libraries.

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Presentation on theme: "Buyer Beware Investigating the quality of customer service to young adults in a major urban public library Patrick Jones Connecting Young Adults and Libraries."— Presentation transcript:


2 Buyer Beware Investigating the quality of customer service to young adults in a major urban public library Patrick Jones Connecting Young Adults and Libraries

3 BUYER BEWARE PROJECT OBJECTIVES To identify the best practices of quality customer service to young adults in the urban public library setting To identify obstacles to quality customer service to young adults in the urban public library setting Propose a model for quality customer service to young adults in the urban public library setting.

4 BUYER BEWARE PROJECT OBJECTIVES The research question posed by this study is as simple as it is vital: How well do libraries answer reference questions for young adults? The research only speaks to the availability/use (quantity) of reference service, but not to the more important factor of quality. Related, the same research found that most public libraries do not provide a YA librarian, thus generalists offer reference service to young adults. Finally, the research indicates these generalists are poorly trained. The purpose of the study is to identify the traits of successful/ unsuccessful of such service (reference service generalized to customer service) and then propose a "model" of quality service.

5 BUYER BEWARE PROJECT Choose twelve of the reference questions from the attached page. Approach any reference desk at the Main Library of the ***** Public Library (except the childrens room). You can ask the questions all in one visit or during several visits. Try to get helped by different librarians. The questions in bold could also be asked over the phone or via email, but at least three of your questions need to be done in person.

6 BUYER BEWARE PROJECT ANY CIRCUMSTANCES blow your cover and state that you are a secret shopper. For each question, you will need to: do the behavior checklist write a short account answer the questionnaire

7 BEHAVIOR CHECK LIST 1. Greeted you warmly 2. Smiled, acted pleasant toward you 3. Let the desk act as a barrier 4. Demonstrated welcoming body language 5. Got up to show you where to find your info 6. Asked you follow-up questions 7. Answered your question completely 8. Tried to rush you through 9. Offered follow-up help 10. Knew right where to find information 11. Asked you why you needed information 12. Gave you his/her full attention

8 QUESTIONS ASKED 1. I need a biography about a professional wrestler. It cant be a kids book. 2. Do you have any information on how to remove tattoos? 3. Can you recommend a good scary book for an English assignment I have. I need to read a work of contemporary horror fiction but not Stephen King. 4. I heard that Cosmo magazine was going to have a spin-off magazine for teens. Where can I find the name of this magazine and an address? 5. I need to read Kurt Cobains obituary. Where can I find it? 6. I need to know the main event at the first Wrestlemania in 1985. 7. I need to find the pros and cons of cloning. I just need one good book on the subject. Today all I need is the name of the book, not the book itself. 8. I need to find two articles about teaching writing that were published by my English teacher. Her name is Johanna Atwood.

9 QUESTIONS ASKED 9. I need the addresses for TNN, TBS, MTV, VH-1, and BET cable channels. 10. Can I have an email address to write a comment to the library? 11. I need a fiction and a nonfiction book about the subject of self-mutilation. 12. My teacher told us we have to read a classic. Do you have a list of classics or books for the college bound? I dont want a book over 200 pages long. 13. Is there anyplace you know where I could buy a term paper? 14. How do I cite a web page in my term paper? We use MLA format. 15. I need to get driving directions from my school to the state capitol. 16. I need to read the book which won the 2000 Printz award

10 Some choice comments If we went into a library, the librarian would look at us like, why are they here. Like were going to cause trouble or something, like were being watched. Some of the librarians dont even care about you. Libraries at school, the are nice. But outside, they are kind of rude and they dont really care.

11 Some choice comments If I ever go when I need a book, Im scared to ask them where it is, because I dont want them to think Im stupid. When you ask them how to find something, theyll just tell you to go over there. I dont think its so much the age (of the librarian); its the way they speak to you. The point is that a person needs to know how to communicate with people no matter what age they are.

12 Some choice comments Some librarians just dont like you. They pick on you, especially us teens. The library is so very serious. Everyone has very solemn look. Its depressing. Its very, very depressing to walk into a library.

13 To what extent would you say the librarian was friendly or pleasant? Not / Somewhat / Very

14 How helpful was the answer given, in terms of your own needs? Not / Somewhat / Very

15 How satisfactory was your experience as a whole? Not / Somewhat / Very

16 How many answers were wrong?

17 The ideal would be staff that is: Friendly, knowledgeable and helpful Treats everyone with respect Is younger, or at least that the staff is of various ages Has customer service skills

18 Q U I C K

19 Great YA reference service is Quality: We pledge to get the answer right 100% of the time, not 66% percent. Part of that is knowing where to look, but just as important as knowing how to ask the question, and being energetic enough to do the work. Retail establishments use secret shoppers on a regular basis and there is no reason that libraries should not adopt this same proven technique of measuring, and then improving customer service. Remember, quality is cool.

20 Great YA reference service is User focused: we need to rethink everything we do in terms of what is best for user. Not what is easiest for staff, what causes the least amount of headaches, or what makes the clerical staff happy, but what is best for users. The implications of this focus are enormous and run through everything we do: from how we design our buildings, to signage, to how we staff our desk, but mostly how we approach out work.

21 Great YA reference service is Inviting: a vision of reference service for teens must include the idea that staff needs to be inviting to teens. Inviting is more than approachable; it is an attitude that is eager to invite teens to use libraries, have a positive experience, and return. Inviting information service finds users where they are: in the stacks or on the computers or any place in between, and then offers assistance. Remember the quote from the teen about feeling stupid asking for help.

22 Great YA reference service is Convenient: this is a logical extension of a user-centered approach. We offer reference one on one in the library, but also through every other way that technology and cost will allow: e-mail, chat, phone, and consider whatever technology presents itself to become more convenient. A constant complaint from teens about libraries is we are not convenient or easy to use.

23 Great YA reference service is Knowledge sharing: A vision of reference service for teens must also include the idea that we are open to every opportunity to empower teens to work on their own. Any transaction in a public library, for example, should now include an offer for the teen to learn more through classes, tutorials, or through practice. Knowledge sharing is youth development in action.

24 And of course they want it.. Q U I C K

25 For more information: Connecting Young Adults and Libraries: A How-To-Do- It Manual, Third Edition By Patrick Jones, Michele Gorman, and Tricia Suellentrop Neal-Schuman, July 2004 1-55570-508-1. 8 1/2 x 11. 438 pp.

26 Chasing Tail Lights Hardcover ISBN: 0-8027-9628-1 ISBN 13: 978-0-8027-9628-8 Price: $16.95 304 pages August 2007 Reading tomorrow Live in Stage @ 3:30 in convention center, then signing after at Walker Bloomsbury Booth

27 nailed Hardcover ISBN: 0-8027-8077-6 ISBN 13: 978-0-8027-8077-5 Price: $16.95 224 pages Size: 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 April 2006

28 Hardcover ISBN: 0-8027-8901-3 Price: $16.95 224 pages April 2004 Paperback ISBN: 0-8027-7746-5 ISBN 13: 978-0- 8027-7746-1 Price: $7.95 224 pages April 2006

29 Connecting Young Adults and Libraries Patrick Jones Consulting, training, and coaching for providing powerful youth services

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