Category: Administration and Management

You’re Only As Good As Your Last Reference Request

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By , March 7, 2011 12:00 pm

by Kristine Lloyd

I know this will spawn arguments to the contary, but a little sparring is good for the soul. Since I started working as a reference librarian, I have always thought that I am only as good as my last reference request. Yes, perhaps this is extreme, but I have certainly wondered why good old “Of Counsel Bob” never seemed to wander back in the library, or “New Associate Susie” seems to avoid eye contact in the halls. Thankfully, I am not a total nitwit, but I have definitely had my successes and failures, as we all do. Of course, the antidote to a little falter at the reference altar can often be intercepted by some good old-fashioned customer service.  

Even though we’re beaten over the head with customer service mantras like “the customer is always right,” we don’t always emphasize the specifics of providing customer service in our library world. I recently read an article on The Lawyerist, and even though the article is aimed at lawyers providing customer service to their clients, the advice is still apt for us. Here a few highlights from the article: Continue reading 'You’re Only As Good As Your Last Reference Request'»

VIP Treatment

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By , February 7, 2011 4:11 pm

by Karen Helde

Every library-oriented conference I’ve attended seems to include a session with a title that’s some variation on “Dealing with Difficult People.” Although I know it’s because the topic is always relevant, part of me wonders . . . are we not quite getting the hang of it? The sessions are often good, but I tend to leave feeling that to put the suggestions into practice I’ll need either (1) a PhD in psychology or (2) a laminated flow chart which the “difficult person” and I will work through together, step by step.

That’s why I liked this article which was recently referenced by a LinkedIn contact. Entitled “Empathic attitude can score points with customers,” it outlines a simple, three-step approach for dealing with a potentially negative client interaction. The article is almost a decade old, but this stuff doesn’t change much, right? Continue reading 'VIP Treatment'»

Situation, Target, Proposal

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By , November 8, 2010 12:52 pm

by Amy Eaton

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.”

Albert Einstein

Have you ever done the S-T-P? No, I don’t mean the Seattle-to-Portland bike race; I mean the Situation-Target-Proposal method for solving a thorny problem or gaining team alignment. I recently had the opportunity to attend an all day session on Change Management led by Jevon Powell of Scontrino-Powell. The session was offered to our Seattle office management team as a way for us to develop tools to help deal with the upcoming changes related to our office renovation project. One part of the seminar focused on effective problem solving and featured the STP method as a way to work through a problem.

STP is best used by a team working collaboratively. Put up white flip boards in a conference room and gather your group together. Use the flip board to write down your thoughts as you work through the process. Continue reading 'Situation, Target, Proposal'»

Elephant Sightings

By , September 24, 2010 3:40 pm

by Karen Helde

I recently stumbled onto one of the Elephant Posts from 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. I started reading all the posts, in reverse chronological order, remaining oblivious to their original concept until the end. While reading, I decided that the elephant in the title must refer to “the elephant in the room” – the thing everyone knows but no one will discuss. I thought this was a brave and interesting theme for a series of blog posts. When I finally got to the the original post, I learned they were indeed thinking of those studiously ignored elephants parked in law firm hallways, but were also referencing the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Continue reading 'Elephant Sightings'»

What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate

By , April 1, 2010 3:22 pm

by Karen Helde

Some days I think that librarians are really in the communications business. We’re often the conduit between a nugget of information and someone who (a) needs it, or (b) would be better off knowing it, or (c) could help us do our job by knowing it. Technology has expanded our communications toolbox, but it hasn’t necessarily made the whole process work better. Patrick DiDomenico at LawyerKM wrote a post last summer titled The New Communication – 11 Tips to Help covering a number of situations where communication can break down. I like his suggestions for improving our communication habits, and I try to keep them in mind when composing an email, scheduling a meeting or answering a reference question. A lot of what he proposes has to do with trying your best to step into the shoes of the person receiving the information. Smart choices about the medium, structure and content of our communication help ensure that librarian voices are heard and that information finds its way home.

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