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So I actually got to thinking about this issue before I watched that awesom video that Aaron posted about public spaces. More or less it started when I was listening to Thomas Friedman’s new book in my car on the way to orchestra rehearsal. He too discusses the lack of meaningful spaces in his book. I wish I had a copy of it, but alas, I had to return it to the library! His reasoning differs in that he was examining international travel and discussed that people from other countries don’t visit the US as much as they used to. He feels a part of this is the seeming lack of care we take in our appearances. This relates to Kunstler because no one wants to look at Wal-marts.

While I don’t buy Kunstler’s idea that meaningless spaces creates a feeling of anxiety, I do think it creates a feeling of disassociation. If there is no meaningful PUBLIC space, no one will care what happens. I feel a library can be that public space. A library is not just  a place to house information anymore, it is a community space that can host teen movie nights and wii sports tournaments as well as summer reading program events. I believe that the library should do as much outreach as possible because the more we present our institution to the public as a true service to the community, the more the community will engage with us in return.


Before messing around with the Style Sheet:

From Screen Captures

After playing with the style sheet:

From Screen Captures



(Purple is my favorite color.)

Here is the homepage of the McMinnville public library. I like their homepage when compared to other libraries’ pages. In general I find that library web pages are not very usable. What I like about this page is things are very simple.

For instance: the name of the webpage is at the top left corner of the page; the links to different areas have  ‘>>’ which is a visual cue for movement indicating that clicking there will get you somewhere. Another thing I like is how they present they have a blog. I know that many of the patrons I see at library would give me a look like I was crazy if I suggested they look at a blog for current events. This site on the other hand states: “Looking for a list of new DVDs at the library? Want a book suggestion from a librarian?” This indicates to the reader that this is a place they will find current information, not just some web 2.0 jargon.

From Pictures

I’m going to be honest here, it is very difficult for me to seperate out my customer service experiences from the customer service I provide and that I receive as that is what I do at my full time job. I feel I am pretty good at it and there are a lot of things that I have discovered working in the corporate end that has rubbed off and influenced how I deal with patrons at my part-part-time library job. For instance, the way that I deliver information has changed. “I’m sorry *blah blah* BUT here is what I can do” Making the customer feel like you are their hero I’ve found is the key. Unfortunately you get people who don’t care about that and want to talk you into circles until they get thier way.

Before I get carried away with stories about nasty customers, I suppose I should get to the point of this posting: my good and bad customer service experiences.

I hate it when credit card companies want you to enroll in their credit protection plan. They always call me and want me to join. I’ve heard the same spiel over and over again. But every time they try to convince me and they won’t take no for an answer. I think this is just a way for them to make an extra buck. Part of the reason I believe this is because of a negative experience that my parents had in which they didn’t disclose everything to them and then made it incredibly difficult for them to opt out….

Which leads me to the customer service philosophy that I believe in: people talk, and unfortunately they usually talk mroe about the negative than the good. The attitude that you give to your customer will influence how they speak to others about your organization. For my corporate job this means that a negative customer service experience means that when that person chooses to make the investment in windows in the future, they won’t choose us, and they will tell their friends. (Which is also why I will never buy a gateway computer again) I feel that that rubs off in the public sector as well with public libraries. Bad service could mean one less supporter when the library needs help montarily.

Good customer service is doing what you can to make the customer satisfied. They might not getting everything they want, but they are satisfied with what you have been able to do for them.

What Am I Reading Now?

my currently-reading shelf:
Stephanie's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (currently-reading shelf)

Some genealogy links

Flickr Photos