DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jul 12 2017

Creating Library Memories

by Camille B

LIBRARY MEMORIES 1I happened to be helping a patron at the circulation desk a few weeks ago who had his young son with him. The little boy was about three or four years old and seemed a little overwhelmed, the expression on his face clearly saying, “Where are we and why are we here?”

I figured it was probably his first visit to the Library and so before they walked out the door I reached over and gave him a sticker. The smile that lit up his face was priceless, and I sincerely hoped that that one sticker would be the beginning of fond memories for him associated with the library.

To an adult, a sticker might seem like such a small thing, insignificant really, but ask any children’s librarian or circulation staff member how kids react when they receive even the tiniest one, for them it’s like the cherry on top of the cake.

As library staff we encounter countless patrons everyday from all walks of life. We have seniors who come in with no idea how to use a computer (and are sometimes embarrassed to say so); young mothers in need of resources to help  with anything from potty training to allergies and homeschooling; and many individuals seeking help with finding a place to live, searching for employment, or simply looking for a place where they can relax and read or study. Senior at the Library

The little boy’s experience took almost no effort at all. That one sticker was the only thing needed to create a positive memory for him. But what about the person who walks through the doors already frazzled, their nerves frayed, barely hanging on to their sanity by their fingertips? Truth be told it can rattle the best of us if we’re not prepared. Yet I believe, frazzled patrons also need to walk out the door with the same feeling as that little boy. Their experience should be a positive one, maybe more so because of the day they are having.

Think about some of the best customer service you’ve ever received. Now think about the worst. You probably remember them both vividly. When you get great service you want to tell people about it. The same when you get bad customer service–you want to share that as well. At the library we aim to leave patrons with positive experiences.Librarian and Student

Now I’m not saying it’s always easy. We are only human, and we too have good days, bad days and a whole lot of other stuff going on in between, but our aim should be to give our best.

One thing that has always helped me when I begin to feel a little frayed around the edges is to remember that the person standing in front of me needs my help or they wouldn’t be asking for it. They might really believe they know what they’re asking for but sometimes they  don’t, and with a little help I can get them to where they need to be.

This happened to me a while back with a gentleman who was filling out a job application that had to be submitted by the end of the day. He was just getting back into the workforce and the last time he filled out an application the printed version was still acceptable. He had no idea how to use the computer, and so of course he had no idea how to create an email address. I swear, after twenty minutes, you could almost see the smoke rising from the top of his head. There wasn’t a sticker in the world that was going to fix that.

This case was not an exceptional one but actually one quite common to Library staff, and patience is always needed, even when the patrons themselves seem to be losing it. Sometimes you might even need to engage another staff member if you feel like you’re out of your element, and hopefully at the end of it all, like in the case of that gentleman, they would eventually leave satisfied.

I often have a hard time picturing libraries ever closing their doors to the public. Not when we hear from patrons all the time how much they love the interaction with their library staff, even bypassing the self-check machines in an effort to have that one on one face time with us. A virtual experience, no matter how great, can never take the place of that.

Baby Storytime

There are patrons who are now in their fifties, sixties and even older who have been visiting the library since they were in their teens, some now bringing their own children and grandchildren. They reminisce with us about getting their first library card or bringing in their kids to get theirs.

They walk through our doors every day, to sit in our Story Times, Workshops, Book Clubs and Movies, our Craft and Computer Classes, Poetry Slams, Musical Events, Author Talks and so much more. Each of these a memory to be created by our library patrons.

What are some of your favorite Library memories, now and while growing up?

Here are a few relevant titles to check-out:

ebookfriendly.com/best-quotes-about-libraries-librarians

Uncommon Service

 

 

 

Uncommon Service- Frei Frances

 

Who's Your Gladys

 

 

Who’s Your Gladys: how to turn even the most difficult customer into your biggest fan- Marilyn Suttle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Meridy H July 17, 2017 at 11:28 AM

When we, as patrons, recognise the inherent gift quality of a public library, it behooves us to act accordingly: with each other and with those who provide the context and content of said gift.

The Friends of the Library provide a useful conduit for individuals to “give back”. Funds collected from the sale of donated books are used in many ways and the giving and receiving aspects of gift exchange are enjoyed at many levels.

When service comes from a basis of friendship, it is freely given and easily received. Thank you to all of the people who work with the gifts of a library: literature, learning, entertainment and enlightenment. We appreciate you!

Mirie31 July 19, 2017 at 12:05 PM

I totally identify with this article. I have visited some of the libraries in DeKalb county and I would like to brag about my local library. Stonecrest Library has the best staff in the DeKalb county library system. The librarians are constantly encouraging them and teaching them new and exciting information. So I know they will have many positive memories about their library experience at this branch. Just wanted to say thank you.

Mirie31 July 19, 2017 at 12:08 PM

I totally identify with this article. I enjoy taking my children to our local library and would like to take this opportunity to brag on the staff of Stonecrest Library. The libraries their are always willing to help you. They are constantly encouraging parents and children to participate in their programs. They offer programs that help the community grow more civic minded. I just want to say thank you for taking the time to care.

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