We created a community survey using Survey Monkey and also had it available on paper for people who stopped in the library and were willing to fill it out. After about six weeks, we gathered 333 responses, about 1/3 of which were gathered online, while the majority were gathered on paper. We also made the survey available at the Community Center and Senior Center in the hopes of getting more people to fill it out.
The results are in and it’s so interesting what people know and don’t know about our library. Many people are unfamiliar with our online resources, many people don’t know our hours or that our book drop is available 24/7 (even when the library is open) and there are always requests for more – more materials, more programs, more space.
Overall, I’d say that most of the people who filled out our survey are happy with the services we provide, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we have things to work on as well. The first being customer service, one interaction is all people need to form an opinion about an organization and sometimes that opinion isn’t always positive. I’m hoping that through our customer service training that we just covered last month, this will begin to improve. I also hope that by working at the desks along side my staff, I can see for myself what’s happening as well as set an example of what we should be doing.
The question becomes, why don’t people know about (insert resources, programs, materials here)? What can we do to better promote ourselves in the community. We are continuing to work towards a number of goals this year and I’m beginning to line up some ideas for next year as well – projects that take time and funding. I’d like to begin promoting ourselves better, something I’ve known for a long time and something that we are continuing to work towards as we create our strategic plan and new website design.
Finally, I keep reminding myself that we can’t change everything we do and we can’t make everyone happy, but we can continue to listen to our community and provide resources and programs that our community wants and needs.
We have a snow day today! And it’s the perfect timing – I’ve had a rough couple of days and without going into a lot of details, work has been absolutely crazy and stressful, so I’m planning to spend my snow day with a pile of books, a cozy sweatshirt and a warm cup of tea! I’ve got another Black History Month booklist to pull together for tomorrow and some other blog posts I want to work on and since I won’t be at work today, I’ll definitely have some time to spend working on my blog today. See you tomorrow!
I had the coolest experience yesterday, I got the chance to Skype with a graduate leadership class about my leadership experience! Now, if you follow my blog, you know that I’ve been in my current position for a grand total of five months, so although my experience is limited that’s exactly what the class was talking about – how to walk into a leadership position with little to no experience and what to do in the first 90 days.
Now, I’ll caveat this post with the fact that the class is taught by my dad. He’s a professor at a state-system university and asked me to talk with his class this week. I spent some time talking about how I go to where I was, the interview process for my current position and what my experience has been as a director thus far. I’m hoping that I didn’t bore the 25 students too much as I geeked out about my love for my career and I’m hoping they were able to take something from my presentation that will help them in their own work.
The students asked some really great questions at the end of my lecture and after talking with my dad later in the evening, he was happy with how much of what I talked about is exactly what the class has been talking about during this chapter in the text. Overall, it was a completely different experience from anything I’ve done in the past and I really enjoyed it! Am I an expert in the field? Absolutely not, but I’m learning more every day and having fun doing it.
I’ve had plenty of people ask me how I became a librarian (which you can read about here), but no one ever really asks why I became a librarian. I love books and this seemed like a great career to get into if you love books. But as an introvert, it amazes me every day about how much I care about the people I work with and for. Public libraries are spaces that are open to absolutely everyone in the community – not just the privileged and the elite. And in a world where kindness and compassion are not lost, but undermined by the amount of hate we hear about, I believe my job to create a community space is more important than ever.
I love clapping along with toddlers to our favorite storytime song, handing that “my-kid-hates-to-read” kid a book and their eyes light up, helping an adult find the next book in their must-read series, sitting down with a senior and accessing their email that they couldn’t get into for months. Is my job exhausting? Of course it is. Can it be difficult to balance the amount of programming we offer with our staffing hours, choosing what books we purchase and what books we don’t and creating partnerships with organizations that are beneficial to us both? It definitely is and there are days that I’m beaten down and wonder why I do it, but I can honestly tell you that I wouldn’t have it any other way. My job matters to the people in my community for access to information, access to the Internet and a safe place for everyone.
*Thank you to Chris Riddell for illustrating this beautiful quote by Angela Clarke.
Our library is embarking on a massive weeding project over the course of the next few months. Weeding has been done for many years, but without too much of a game plan in place and without specific guidelines written out for each section. That is, until a reference librarian bought a copy of The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-by-Shelf Guide by Rebecca Vnuk, published by ALA in 2015. It’s one of those things that separates the real nerds from the poseurs… many on my staff are so excited about reading the book and are geeking over how easily its arranged and quick to read.
Using the handbook as a guide, we created our own weeding guidelines that work for our library and our community. Space is at a premium right now and without getting rid of out-of-date, unwanted items, we have no space to add to the collection next year. So, it’s been about a month, we’ve gotten our guidelines, I’ve met with our Board to educate them on what’s happening and we’re getting ready to start the whole process! We’re also going to be taking an additional step and having a very large used booksale with many of the weeded items that people may want to purchase. Our township wants our library to have some fundraising done over the course of the next year, so we trying a large booksale as our first fundraiser.
We currently have a shelf or two of books that we sell, but we’ve never done something on a larger scale. Mostly due to space – we have none. No room to store boxes upon boxes of books until our sale. So, I’m giving up much of my office space – the only place in our library where there is actually room to store boxes until the big day. I’m excited for what this means for our library – clean, neat shelves of materials our patrons want and need, removing smelly, tattered, out-of-date information and offering a new home to old favorites in our used booksale. This is a HUGE project, but one that I’m so excited to work on over the next few months. Wish us luck! (I’ll most likely be posting about our experience as we work our way through the entire collection)