Friday, 31 October 2014

Budget Time

It's that most wonderful time of the year - budget preparation time! In the public library world, it seems that the CEOs and administration staff are more like alchemists. We mix and move money around so we can get to the municipality's increase target. Find a bit of money here because we have a new staff member at a lower level of the pay grid or there because the cost of a database has gone down. Or we can raise fines by $0.05 a day or initiate a new service that will generate income. We will have both a new council and a new board in 2015. All will be ready to do the right thing by keeping taxes down. It will be a challenge to meet everyone's expectations for quality library service at a low cost. How is your budget preparation going?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Customer Service

I teach a number courses in the SOLS Excel program. This term I am teaching a course in Library Management. A comment by one of my students took me by surprise. She indicated that she didn't think she would need to use her customer service skills in the public library setting until she started working in one. Perhaps this mindset is why there are some public libraries seem unwelcoming and cold. One of my staff visited New Brunswick this summer and went to a small library in the northern part of the province. She was very surprised that the staff did not even look up to acknowledge her presence. Why would a newcomer to a community want to come back if this is the welcome they get! Customer service is the cornerstone of public libraries. As a library manager and recruiter, one of the main qualities that I look for in a new staff member is experience in customer service. You can train an employee in library procedures and routines, but you cannot fully train for good customer service if there isn't any interest in providing it. Certainly additional training in customer service can elevate it, but the core must be there. What do you look for in new recruits?

Friday, 17 October 2014

30 Moments Any Librarian Knows Too Well

With the shorter work week and preparations for next week's Board meeting, I am late posting this week. I just circulated these to my staff. I hope that at least one of these scenarios will relate to you! 1. “I’m looking for this book, I forget the title, but there’s a dog on the cover…?” 2. When a patron wants you to find a book, based only on the vaguest detail. 3.when a patron starts panicking because they can't find a particular book ... 4. When a patron is shocked that you know a bestseller off the top of your head. 5. Conversely, the shame of forgetting the name of a book you KNOW you know. 6. When your maturity is tested by a patron’s name. 7. When you refuse to give up on a search, even if the patron asking is long gone. 8. When you find the perfect source just after a patron has left. 9. When a little surprise falls out of a book you’re shelving. 10. When you see a book returned like this and your soul dies a little. 11. When some prankster pushing the books back on a freshly read and edged shelf. 12. When a patron wants to know how long the wait is for the latest YA hit. 13. When your shift is suddenly a workout. 14. When a patron tries to convince you that she KNOWS she returned that book. 15. When that potty training book comes back in, ah, not so great condition. 16. When you get first dibs on a brand new release. 17. When all of your holds come in at once and it is actually impossible to read them all. 18. When adult patrons ask if there’s any way to keep it down in the children’s room. 19. When you’re genuinely concerned about your health. 20. When you realize you’ve basically become your family and friends’ personal librarian. 21. When someone comes in with a reference question that makes you question everyone’s sanity. 22. When you have to double as IT for the patrons whose windows “just closed for no reason.” 23. When the cart becomes an extension of your overflowing desk. 24. And when all of that overflows to your home. 25. When it’s time to move. 26. When a kid draws you a special picture because you’re her favorite librarian. 27. Patrons. watching. porn. 28. When randos try to explain how you’ll be out of a job when libraries disappear in the not-too-distant future. 29. When a patron comes back to tell you how much he loved your recommendation. 30. And when they start seeking you out specifically because they trust your taste.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


On October 27, Ontario municipalities will be having elections for local councils and school board representatives. Every four years, eligible Ontarians will have the opportunity to make their voice known on local issues that matter to them. Tonight and Thursday night, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce will be hosted 'Meet the Candidates' nights. Tonight will be Ward candidates and Thursday will be mayoral and regional councillor candidates. I plan to be there to listen to the candidate platforms. For those of us who support public libraries, it is important to be seen at these events and, perhaps, to pose a question or two about library service. In Lincoln, our voice was finally heard, and we have a beautiful new facility in Beamsville. Now, if we could get some extra funding for staff for the increased usage! Where ever you are in Ontario, make your voice heard. Vote!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Libraries Inspire! - October is Library Month

Canada’s libraries make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and in our communities. They help to inspire Canadians to celebrate our culture, to advance universal and equitable access to information, to support lifelong learning and to document and preserve our heritage for generations to come. In October, the inspiration created in and by libraries will be celebrated during Canadian Library Month with the theme “Libraries Inspire!”. The products of inspiration take many forms. Libraries are a treasure trove of these creations andtestify to the ingenuity of the human spirit. Scientific discoveries, philosophy, music, business innovation, popular culture and more all find a home within the physical and digital spaces of our collections. But inspiration is also present in more commonplace interactions. A conversation between a librarian and a researcher can take a project in a groundbreaking direction. A library program can ignite the passion of a community to work together and make positive changes. A class visit with school children can encourage an interest in books that will benefit young readers for the rest of their lives. Access to the Internet, and digital literacy training, can open doors to employment opportunities and new career paths. Today, over 23,000 librarians and library clerks serve in over 22,000 libraries in incredibly diverse communities, from major metropolitan areas to towns and rural hamlets, from research‐intensive universities to colleges of art and design. Over 21 million Canadians hold a public library card, making public libraries the most popular cultural institution in the country. Over 97 per cent of Canadians live in communities served by a public library, and the library adds to the vitality of every one of these communities. Academic libraries, school libraries and special libraries add immensely to the creativity and personal, professional and academic growth of Canadians, serving everyone from students and faculty to those in the corporate, government and non‐profit sectors. Libraries have a strong role to play in the present, and they have a great deal to contribute in the future. This October, help us to celebrate not only how Libraries Inspire, but also what they have inspired: a sense of community belonging, the joy of learning, the exhilaration of discovery, a new friendship, or an idea for the next great Canadian novel. Let your community know that inspiration starts here, at the library, in hundreds of ways each day; where it leads has no limits. Check out the Lincoln Public Library's activities for our Library Week - October 20-25: