ASSOCIATES (2010, November, v. 17, no. 2)


New City Library

Gail Seidenfrau

I’m a long time library user and I’ve worked 17 of 19 years in the Circulation Department at my local library.  I started there, and then spent 2 years in Technical Services, and for the past eleven years I’ve been the Circulation Supervisor.  Change was slow coming to our library; the only eventful memory prior to our new director’s arrival in 2008 was the introduction of computers and the internet.  But then along came ‘Chuck” who is a font of ideas and a person of action.  He’s changed the look and feel of the library, what we do and how we do it and every day I look forward to coming to work.  Change in a library?  You bet!

With staff input he redesigned the circulation desk, added 2 self checkouts and introduced self service holds.  Another innovation is the return slot where customers drop off material directly into the circulation office.  There is a plasma screen running programming and other library events located near the desk so customers entering have an unobstructed view.  The whole lobby was well thought out with staff and customers in mind.

A big part of the change to the department is we now have a staff member in front of the desk meeting and greeting.  The idea is to introduce people to the new layout, offer self-check instructions, and provide help in general.  Staff has embraced this role and just about all excel.  I think they surprised themselves. The ‘greeter’ is an innovation in library customer service, one that helps us achieve our goal of meeting our customer’s needs.  I enjoy the opportunity of speaking to customers without a desk between us.  We are less business like and more customer friendly.  Customers think of us differently and staff has a better understanding of the customer experience.  It’s pleasant, energizing and I know tomorrow will be different to today.

Other departments underwent or will undergo change as well.  A Young Adult room was created to house the teen fiction collection; comfortable seating was added along with a TV for gaming and tables for board games.  It is bustling with teens and the YA Librarian couldn’t be happier.  Separate areas were created for the Mystery collection and Speculative fiction.  A few comfortable chairs were added to give these sections a welcoming feeling.  We are all awaiting the new Audio Visual department. I know we’ll be delighted with the change.  There’s that word again.  No more status quo for the New City Library, we are about change and customer service innovation and a new level of respect for staff.

Recently we had a surprise award ceremony recognizing staff contributions and longevity.  I’m wearing my 15+ years of service pin and next year I’m looking forward to receiving my 20 year pin.  I plan to be here, its great coming to work.