Conference Program Abstracts

Conference Plenary Session
All Conference Speakers moderated by Laura Robinson Hanlan
Our Plenary Session will follow lunch and our annual business meeting, including the ACRL/NEC Awards presentations. The Plenary Session promises to be a lively discussion among our featured presenters, facilitated by Laura Robinson Hanlan, covering customer service solutions and challenges raised in the morning workshops and breakout sessions. The Q&A session will offer an opportunity for a holistic debriefing on the conference theme.
Developing a Mystery Shopping Program to Measure Service Quality, Performance, and the Patron Experience at the Library
In the current atmosphere of high-stakes accountability, how can we most accurately measure the intangible product of public service staff interactions with patrons? One way is through mystery shopping, a business-tested method of measuring customer service. In this workshop particip,ants will learn how to create a mystery shopping study for their library service desks, including:
  • Why this is an effective method
  • How to get staff buy-in
  • How to develop criteria for evaluation
  • How to implement the program
  • How to assess the results
Join us and learn how to identify what you’re doing well, and what you need to retool to improve customer service.
Do the Math: Usage Drives Content Decisions
What types of data can be collected and analyzed to determine the content and format of resources which students and faculty actually use, and how does the Library determine and address unmet needs? This session focuses on employing a variety of tools (some more labor intensive than others) to ensure that the small to medium-sized academic library acquires content that matches up with actual need and use.
Applying Universal Design to Improve Reference and Instruction Services
An increasing number of our customers have AD/HD or learning disabilities. How can academic libraries address the needs of these students while continuing to provide high quality service for their entire community? Universal Design (UD), a concept initially developed to address inaccessibility in built environments, is being adapted for use in academic instruction. At Landmark College we apply UD principles in our information literacy program and reference services. We draw from literature on UD, effective teaching practices for students with learning differences, and our experience to present a multitude of techniques and options for how librarians can apply UD principles in their unique circumstances.
The Personal Librarian Program at Yale University
The Yale University Library has well-established research education programs for undergraduate students at the junior and senior level, but programs for first- and second-year students have been hit-or-miss at best. To reach out to lower-level undergraduates in a systematic way, we developed the Personal Librarian (PL) Program. At the beginning of the fall 2008 semester, all 1,320 incoming students in the Class of 2012 were assigned their own Personal Librarian or “PL” – one of 32 Yale librarians who serves as the students’ primary point of contact in the library. This presentation will describe the Library’s experiences in the first full academic year of the PL program, some of the challenges we face in trying to make sure all Yale undergraduates are served equally, and how we are working to develop assessment tools and generate policy recommendations for this effort.
Reel Them In: How to Get (and Keep) a Line at the Reference Desk
Since many students today do not understand the role of a reference librarian, Bryant University Library markets our value-added brand of librarianship to students to differentiate our services from easy access solutions like Google or Wikipedia. As a result, our reference desk consistently has long lines of eager students waiting to speak with a reference librarian, while instant messaging, text messaging, email and telephone reference continue to grow. This presentation will illustrate how the Douglas and Judith Krupp Library has created its vision or brand, while continually reevaluating services to ensure that we always meet and exceed the needs of our patrons. The presenters will provide tips on how to offer services that students will really use. We will share some key factors that help to create the image of a Bryant reference librarian, how we market our brand, and how we hold ourselves up to the image that we have created.
Gone but Not Forgotten? Are we Adequately Serving our Study Abroad Students?
Based on questionnaire survey research conducted on site with 10 different study abroad programs in Monteverde, Costa Rica in 2007 (article in College and Research Libraries, March 2009), it has been demonstrated that students lack confidence and knowledge about the resources and services available to them from their home institution libraries while studying abroad. Through presentation and discussion of interview data collected as part of this study, this presentation focuses on giving further consideration to ways in which academic libraries can better serve our increasing numbers of students who are engaged in study abroad programs.
Tools for Understanding Your Customers
In this session, Sara Laughlin will provide an overview of six standard customer research strategies, using practical examples from libraries. You will have a chance to practice some market research skills, including content analysis and open-ended question construction, and you will take home a CD with resources, examples, and further reading that will allow you to conduct research with your own customers and potential customers. For 12 years, Sara has been a consultant specializing in planning, evaluation, and process improvement. She has co-authored two books related to continuous improvement – The Library’s Continuous Improvement Fieldbook and The Quality Library. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University, where she occasionally teaches research methods, grant writing, and public library management at the School of Library and Information Science. In September 2007 she became director of the Monroe County Public Library, where she is presently spending her days wrestling with a $10 million budget, 170 employees, two large facilities, and a community of 130,000 customers of all shapes, sizes, interests, and needs.
Contribution, Dedication and Inspiration - A Case Study of Students
This presentation summarizes 12 years of managing students and tells the story of how students are developed into major role players in the success of a complex and challenging stacks operation.The presentation illustrates some successful methods of honing the skills, talents and energies of students through well-developed interview techniques; training students in a wide range of challenging library responsibilities, by conducting daily student huddles that encourage participation and gather student feedback and suggestions for improvements; how students are identified for promotions as work leaders and example setters; and how team building and high morale translates into high productivity and high retention levels of returning students.
Building Community: How Combined Training Improves Customer Service
Student workers often serve as the “face” of the library, providing much of the frontline service for our patrons. To improve customer service, we have increased our focus on training student workers in the Information Commons. In addition to training student workers at individual desks, we hold joint trainings with a focus on improving customer service. These joint trainings have increased the familiarity of students with each other and with the supervisors across different desks. Previously, these areas were more compartmentalized which led to inefficient work flow, duplication of effort and confusion for our patrons. Our presentation will focus on the strategies we have employed in the Information Commons to build community.
From Mid-Century to the Millennium: Transforming Library Space for a New Era
This presentation will discuss Regina Library’s recent expansion and renovation and the effects the project had on customer service. The discussion will focus on changes that impacted students and staff such as a redesigned circulation/reference desk, new group space, and a library café. Suggestions will be offered for other libraries that are managing ongoing space changes or that wish to change their spaces to improve customer service.
Training Staff for Customer Service
The Golden Rules of Customer Service; A wise man once said that Customer Service is "a day-in, day-out, ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate type of activity." In this workshop, you'll learn tips on the easiest ways to improve your daily interactions with the public, discover how to foster a service-oriented culture within your organization, increase your own work satisfaction and decrease your stress levels. We'll talk about strategies for dealing with difficult people, discuss how to juggle the phone and the patron in front of you, and we'll probably even share a few war stories and commiserate over common frustrations. Most importantly, however, we will remind each other about why providing the highest-quality customer interactions is important, and talk about integrating world-class service interactions not into your job, but into your everyday life.