Monthly Archives: September 2007

Summary session: Engaging our customers

Vicki Darling & Sue Fargher

Vicki Referred to Ian Brooks; also mentioned Opinionmeter as useful tool. [I’ll have more to say about this when I’m back too!]

Sue Vye suggested with all the knowledge we have sometimes we can be seen as intimidating. More references to Ian Brooks – had been feeling smug until he said “Lots of you will be thinking ‘but I’m already doing that’ – but you’re not.”

Talking in groups and then sharing what got out of conference.

  • Ian Brooks – customers with conflicting demands but didn’t address the issue
  • Ian Brooks – managers making decisions in office – need to come to frontline and see what things are really like
  • how to find out what customers want – two did focus groups with teens but problems of volunteers who are those who come to library anyway. Tools don’t always work.
  • making ourselves available to customers, listening to what they’re saying. We do much telling of what we know; need to listen more. Paula Ryan pointed out that “one size fits all” actually fits no-one
  • Open Polytech library librarian and customer in same group – fast and easy – book ordered in pm delivered next morning. Different things work in different libraries.
  • listening to customers – spend much money on research but gets put in drawer because think current process is working. Customers want to know when books coming overdue and library has consistently ignored it. So don’t just listen – act!
  • accessibility – first impressions count (both from Ian Brooks and Paula Ryan). Making systems and services accessible.
  • phone problems – […I got lost in what was being said here, but something about thinking laterally in how to serve customers]

Listen. Reflect. Act.

Transformational leadership and its implications for the library profession

Debbie Dawson & Sally Lewis

Transactional leadership – focused on managing the status quo through transactions between leader and staff. Usually delivered by someone in a named leadership role. Focusing on individuals and development so performance contract can be achieved.
Transformational leadership – not necessarily attached to authority role – anyone can provide it. Some do it consistently, others around a particular purpose. Doesn’t deal with status quo but with moving beyond current expectations into new territory. Ability to inspire and stimulate.
Both these styles are essential to a successful library. They’re not the same; only rarely can the same individual excel in both of these. Both leaders must engage people: transformational leaders must engage hearts and minds for purpose of change.

Transformation threatens status quo though we don’t know where we’ll end up. “Change in kind, not just in degree” (Herb Kindler)

Consider incremental change when

  • the present system is adequate to support the desired vision and values
  • a backlog of cost-effective, incremental change options is available
  • the environment in which you operate is relatively stable and predictable (when was the last time this applied?…).

Consider transformational change when

  • the current system no longer yields acceptable progress toward your objectives
  • turbulent conditions require a fundamental change
  • you’re prepared to address staff resistance re job security, maintaining competence in unfamiliar new system.

Not about what you know, it’s about how you think.

Transformational leaders have: vision; courage; role-modelling; thinking-ability and intelligence; sense-making; decision-making; optimistic realism/realistic optimism; political savvy; self-management; patience & perseverance. Have to be alert, quick, sharp, and measured in their approach.

Courageous followers – Followers often see themselves as powerless and helpless, but can be powerful. Not afraid of hard work, taking on tasks to lessen load on team. Don’t just mutely take orders, but challenge leader and contribute to team. Powerful – personal history, faith in self, influencing others, relationships they’ve established, power to leave organisation.

Will libraries nurture their transformational leaders?

Putting things in boxes and seeing things as one right way to do everything (eg literature search, perfect solution) vs requirement for courage to think independently and be assertive (eg courage to raise ideas, risk upsetting the status quo).

The requirement for transformations is unpredictable and ongoing.

Transform! From tourist to treasure hunter

Kate Thompson, Rosemary Kardos & Lynne Knapp
Lynne presenting – works in Dental library at Otago

Library tours/presentation tedious so treasure hunt – so students could take more responsibility for learning.
Induction programme to get them aware of self as beginner registered professional – raise awareness of services etc. Get them out of their comfort zone…

Science librarian had camp/treasure hunt for school students.

Hoped to be fun, breakaway from information overload, develop collegiality, learn library skills and learn why they might use libraries.

Covered a number of library sites and other campus hot-spots.


  • brainstorming
  • develop timeline
  • develop risk assessment matrix

    • risk of ripping books – solution only once open book, otherwise just call numbers and e-resources
    • risk of power failure!
    • main risk – creating sound clues

36 students in teaching lab – presentation, hands-on, then treasure hunt pack (including maps, guides to catalogue etc, keypoints of presentation, first of five cluecards). Grouped in pairs. 1.5 hours.

Cluecards specific to each library/hotspot. Once each card was completed, checked by librarian and given next card.

At end quick-fire quiz to recapitulate what learned; and evaluation where they reflected on it.

Now worthy of treasure. As well as knowledge got Colgate sponsorship with goodies.

Follow-up: two days later went into a class and presented special prizes to three of those who’d successfully completed quiz. Discussed what improvements would make for next year.

A month later, after had handed in assignments – asked how treasure hunt had helped.

  • improvement in written work – accessed more resources
  • greater awareness of uni services and campus
  • got to know each other


  • include Student Job Search, Sports Centre
  • consider competitive nature of some students
  • campus very spread out so need more time to complete and warn them to wear sensible shoes

What questions asked? Kate looked at what had been done. Wanted to learn basics of where things were. Use of books, use of electronic resources. Didn’t want congestion or risk to physical materials.

Treaty 2 U, a touring exhibition: transforming the way our public engage with collections

Huria Robens
Changed way public engage with collections, and way materials have been presented.
Truck transforms into exhibition space – tripling in size. Uses hydraulics to lower floors, etc. Takes 6 people 2 hours to set up. Entrance tent like bouncy castle kept erec by fan feeding air inside. Inside van lights mounted, walls moved into position. Sight, sound, video, cartoons… Offered range of free resources as leaving (brought many of these to this session too).

Huge success so second tour schedured. Third tour July07-08 to secondary schools – schools need to book in. Launched Treaty2U website where can see much of the content. First installment up – more installments to come.

Example of how a theme can drive a product/project.

strategic plans – professional development for staff on te tiriti – what does Treaty2U contribute to this? Tours nation-wide self-guided. Many councils sent all staff through. What staff got through was up to them. (98% of people said “thanks so much for coming – I didn’t know this stuff”. Free resources a big hit. 🙂 Some emotionally affected. Muslim school where had to keep boys and girls separate. With schools break out into activities – this works well for professional development too.)
Understanding Treaty different from implementing it – do you cover this? No, this is intro to Treaty only.

The EPIC LIANZA Training Initiative: transforming online skills training

Craig Cherrie & Fiona Rigby
“Paula Ryan’s upstairs.”

[this wasn’t so full of new ideas, more a report back, so I haven’t taken many notes – my own random thoughts-to-self are in square brackets.]

Have moved from card catalogue to “It’s a jungle out there” (Vye Peronne). Real challenge for librarian at desk. Soothing white space of google – (best friend or false friend?)

Customers often don’t go with best, they go with quickest. [My thoughts: Cf Ian Brooks: we shouldn’t give them bad experience of telling them off, or trying to force them into searching complicated resources: should offer them the options: “You can do this and get quick but poor results, or do that and get good results but take time.” If they have a good experience now they’ll come back for other, more complicated services later.]

Continuing professional development issue. [This definitely accords with Ian Brooks: can’t give users options if staff don’t know what they are!]

EPIC LIANZA training initiative – to train the trainers. [Provide training to all college tutors?] Focus on online skills, not just databases: core strategies that you can use across a range of online resources. [cf Learning 2.0] Set up online forum using Ning.

Launch of trainers sometime in the next few weeks.

online resources only accessible to trainers? Yes because copyrighted and for trainers’ use. But can be adapted for library use. If a district doesn’t have a trainer, best to go through training – resources quite a thick wodge.

if get training, can we get materials to on-train? Yes there’s a part of package designed to be handed out. They feel written material isn’t a substitute for training.

what characterises your training? (as opposed to ‘geek approach’)? Instead of presentation and powerpoints, give a context of information request – series of guided questions – thinking about next step, point of failure, etc. [Adaptible for teaching how to go about assignments?]

thoughts on online vs face-to-face for teaching? Everyone learns differently – some prefer elearning, some prefer face-to-face. Use both to support each other – elearning can’t be only vehicle.

“Unless encouraged [etc], people won’t go to the best sources, they’ll go to what they know.”

LIANZA fellowship presentations

Presented by Glen Walker to

  • Brian Marshall (map librarianship for 34 years; teaching students and staff re map management, esp at Uni of Auckland; founded what became NZ Map Society)
  • Ross Harvey (library academic, teacher, researcher, writer, lecturer in NZ and overseas) (accepted on his behalf by Janet Copsey

(Yesterday I missed the presentations to John Stears and Rowena Cullen)

Keynote Address

Ian Brooks his notes about this session (but such a great talk I took notes anyway)

Reckons we’re passionate about potential of library service; frustrated that users not as passionate about it, so we don’t have the resources. Thinks he has solutions which will require us to think differently about things. Giving checklist against which to evaluate our performance.

Himself is frustrated when people think they’re doing what he’s talking about – but they’re not. He’s talking about a fundamentally different way of running organisations.

Talked about experience coming here (wonderful new building) to talk – no mirror, no water, no coffee; in bathroom mirror, washbasins, urinal universally too low. Experience for user is vital.

Different customers, different needs -> conflict -> our job is to manage these needs. 82% say quality of interaction more important than quality of products/services; both of these more important than price. Bar has been raised — old stuff is important but people won’t notice, they’ll notice their experience interacting with us. If we were surveyed about this room we wouldn’t say “The carpet was a good idea” – but if it wasn’t there we’d notice! Our customers want everything a library should have and good experience.

Suggests inspirational customer experience so:

  • more people want to come – don’t underestimate word-of-mouth. Organisations where people saying good things grow four times as quickly as others. Do we measure word-of-mouth? Do we let people walk out ready to tell people how bad their experience was? (Is at war with Vodaphone – asked to make a complaint – was told to put it in writing. So he writes a column for NZ Busines…) We need people to leave our library in such a frame of mind that they want to tell people how great an experience they had.
  • people are happy to pay fees and charges (or tell city council/registry that they want us to be paid) – the more problems a customer has with you, the less keen they are to pay fees. Quality experience -> willingness to pay.
  • people are happy to come back and use your other services
  • people are inspired to tell others about it all

Not enough to make users happy; have to make users inspired – make them a crashing bore at their next party to tell people about how great we are. People like telling stories – we need to make sure the stories are positive and not negative. Brings in more people, more money – and more job satisfaction.

We live in a world where customers are outraged and managers are delusional. 80% of managers say “We’re doing a great job of looking after our customers.” 8% of their customers agree. Managers mostly don’t have regular meaningful contact with customers.

Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. We intellectualise things. (Story of restaurant where breakfast room freezing, duty manager had just found out, hadn’t gone down to see but reckoned he understood because he’d been told about it by staff.) Customers don’t get unhappy, they get outraged. 73% of customers in NZ say we’ve had a really bad customer experience in the last year. So bad -> headaches, shouting, swearing, chest pains, throw things, break things. (The name Vodafone makes him wince – he wants to quit but is stuck for 18 months unless he pays so will spend the next 18 months hating them and talking about how much he hates them.)

What percentage of our day is spent thinking about internal issues and what percentage about customer experience? When we discuss things, do we think of it from customer pov? Need to put customer first.

  • customers aren’t important to our business, they are our business. (In Ashburton went giftshopping and overhead storeowner and other shopkeeper: first said “Having a customer is a privilege and if you think like that when you’re with a customer you’ll create an experience that makes them want to come back.”)
  • put customers first: Many of our policies put us first – they make things easier for the library, not for the customer. (Eg drinks cart on plane “unable to accept silver coins” -> “our bank won’t allow us to accept silver coins” – he phoned BNZ and they don’t mind!)
  • need to learn about customers (at Chch City Library “hearing what they say” – whenever any customer said anything to any staff, staff would deal with it and write it down; looked at weekly; aggregated up and up and up so every three months head of entire library systems could look at them.) Make it easier for customers to complain! Suggestions even better; questions tell us about needs that aren’t met. (86x “What time does the shuttlebus leave?” gets a bit wearing. That tells you something – “but we’ve got a sign up!” -> Well it ain’t working!) Challenge: every month need to identify at least one thing you’re doing differently based on something learnt from customers.
  • walk in customers’ shoes. His wife listens to bad customer service explanations etc then calmly says “If you were in my shoes, what would you want to see happen?” … “Oh, alright, just don’t tell anyone I did this for you…” Would avoid 50% of problems if we looked at things from customers’ pov. Cf Required fields on webforms vs fields not required: What do we get our customers to do that aren’t necessary?
  • Get staff to be advocates for customer, not for library. Staff shouldn’t offer library excuses to customer, but listen to what customer wants and telling this to managers. And managers should see staff doing this as voice of customer.

How to behave to create this experience?
Don’t sit there and say “Yeah, we do that?”
It’s our job to be proactive, not reactive. Management by walking around. Watch staff, body language, hear tone of voice
Basic level

  • availability

    • have to be physically available when the customer wants you – 6% of customers will walk out and not come back if someone not available. When we have a bad experience we tell 9 other people. If can’t get people available, this is a problem for us to solve
    • have to be psychologically available – give attention to customer, not computer screen.

  • appearance matters – 92% say how staff member looked affected expectation of service. In NZ we’re informal->casual, possible ->disrespectful
  • listen: 49% say problem was staff not listening. If not listening will give wrong answer. (“I’m looking for something–” -> “Oh, it’s over here.” -> “No, I’m looking for something *like* this but different.” -> “Oh, it’s over there.” -> rinse and repeat.) Need to develop listening skills.
  • make it fast and easy – 24% complained that had to wait too long to be served, 36% too long to pay. Get customer groups and find out where it’s slow and where it’s hard.
  • know our stuff – 47% surveyed said quality of service could be improved through better staff training. Not just own business but all stuff that people might ask us. People don’t want to hear ‘no’, they want to hear ‘yes’ or at least ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out.’ Induct *before* people get in front of the customer.

Intermediate level

  • take responsibility – think about what can do, not what can’t do for customer. Customer has taken effort to bring problem to you (demonstration with him hefting chair = problem) and don’t want to be told to go to other side of the building up six flights of stairs
  • make an effort
  • be genuine and honest – admit mistakes, be upfront about what can/can’t do. “The flight is delayed because of engineering requirements” = “We broke the plane and want to fix it before you get on.”
  • be polite and respectful – research in NZ complains people don’t say please/thank you/sorry. “I need your credit card” -> “May I please have your credit card.” If you have to tell customer something they don’t want to hear at least say sorry.
  • be friendly, caring, enthusiastic – 61% want to be greeted. 36% said friendly enthusiastic most important


  • get to know them. Use their name. Regular customers, find out their preferences. Find out how they want to be treated. Ask them what they want.
  • walk in their shoes
  • give them control – give them options.
  • go the extra mile – look for problems which your customers would love you to solve but can’t expect you to solve. They’ll be impressed, tell others all about it and get new people in your door.

Customer service not means to end of library service – library means to end of customer service. Organisation and everything in it needs to become customer driven. Put customers first in everything we do.

Each staff member each minute of each day should treat customers as if our future depends on them – because it does.

Your library virtually everywhere: using what you have to give them what they need where and when they need it

Ruth Ivey & Kay Young
(Room jam-packed – had to bring in extra chairs and close the door on people.)

Tutorials, virtual tour developed

Tours (Ruth)
Online versions of what already offering face to face – wanted it where and when needed. 2 years research and development. First-time users link to download flash. Modules – much scripting. Design encourages interaction. Can work through or go to topics or select a module. Refer to other modules but no live links to avoid people straying and getting lost.

Interactive activities time-consuming to create but very successful. Eg Boolean connector – AND Have had requests from other libraries to use all or part of WISE for themselves.

Virtual tour uses online campus map as recognisable. Tours took 6months to create – not in colour until live. Also interactive with guided tour using ‘next’ or clicking on floor – each floor different colour. Went live beginning A semester for Central, B semester for Education. On tour can choose location or choose resource

Legal Research Skills (Kay)
Time pressure. Couldn’t just deeplink into WISE but gave opportunity to give a legal slant. Could piggyback off research done. List of modules, index of resources covered. Drag-and-drop puzzles, quizzes, polls. Radio-style and songs. 🙂

Podcasting very easy
Microsoft Producer free if Office – but creates ginormous files, slow to download even on campus!
Snagit for capturing and annotating screenshots (not free)
Audacity to record webcast mp3 files. Just recorded in office with phone turned off.
Hot Potatoes for games and quizzes – free for public websites
Picasa for editing photos

Learning experiences (both)

  • Research – looked at lots of other online tutorials.
  • Useful to develop common vision, agreed goals, limits etc at start.
  • Communication – ongoing vital. Much drawing. Timelines essential (never kept to them!) to give way of tracking progress. Any scripting or instructions had to be very clear on communication so all needed to be standardised. Documenting everything absolutely necessary
  • Talent-spotting – enthusiastic amateurs as useful as professionals. Check out free resources. Look at talents of team around you. Used whole team.
  • Funding – having no money restricted options so allowed quick decisions!
  • Learning preferences – catering for different learning methods: audio, visual, puzzles, etc. Varying voices by age/gender/ethnicity for webcasts.
  • Usability – navigation important. Simple. If difficult for you then difficult! Usability testing crucial.
  • Promotion – promoted through academics (some put on course site); postcards in course packs; screensavers in library; newsletters; photos of tour on website which clicked through to tours. Related assignment.
  • Monitor – Poor response to online survey (common for online surveys) so will repeat with face-to-face class. Subject librarians monitor pages to make sure kept up-to-date. Tours need changes regularly; have added to legal research tutorial too.
  • Fun – started without humour but too flat; then put in, usually at end so people had choice whether or not to use them. Work sometimes tedious so needed to be fun for staff too. Often those had most fun creating have had best success on.

other libraries ask if can use – do you allow use? – Linking to it have okayed. Some ask for files – send them to web developer.

Assessment – didn’t have time at the time but looking to do it. Probably quiz-based which not happy with but haven’t had better idea.

(thought to self – maybe don’t call tutorials ‘infolit’, ‘tutorials’, etc but “about the library’ ‘how to use the library’, ‘what the library has’?)

You don’t have to meet everyone’s needs all of the time

Andy Neale
Had handout for 50 people but a couple hundred people there…

Idea of maximising user satisfaction against resources. Really complicated/expensive solutions can be done but not priorities.

Find focus – narrow in on what trying to achieve.
Find key users – make the majority happy first. Eg Papers Past 48% were family historians. If make them happy, that’s half already and probably helps make other users happy too. Could also choose to focus on minority as a growth market – but majority better start.

Ladder of progression: browsers -> searchers -> researchers. Use as model of user motivations etc. Start with user research you already have to understand motivations. Individual interviews with target users to get into head, work out what they’re trying to achieve.

Focus on important features – the fewer features created the more resources to focus on each. Happy User Peak – point at which don’t need to add features, because after this slowly gets too complicated and users start getting confused, etc.

Don’t listen to everyone. If various people say “green”, “blue”, “pink”, “orange” and you try to mix them all – you just get mud.

Nielsen says “Don’t listen to anyone”. If you ask people what they want they’ll say something but it mightn’t be true. Instead observe -> usability testing. Neale very keen on comparative usability studies. Run tests on other peoples’ websites. (cf handout) Lets you narrow down features you want to implement before you’ve even implemented them.

Build capabilities.

  • 37 signals developed Ruby on Rails. Suggest starting with visual design first and programming second. (Book online.)
  • Agile development – over time the cost of implementing changes and fixing bugs increases. Catch them early reduces cost.
  • Use design patterns – documented solutions to known problems. Other people have done anything you’re likely to do – copy them instead of reinventing the wheel. Yahoo has design pattern library released.
  • Use third party aplications – let other people build your applications. Many mega-companies building functions, why should we rebuild them instead of piggybacking/reusing? Many factors but things we should be looking into.

    • flickr – if Matapihi didn’t exist, why not use flickr instead of building and maintaining new services? (Not suggesting getting rid of existing services though.)
    • Google Coop – custom search lets you refine google results to create own search engine. Only works for content already exposed to Google. Neale has played with some NatLib sights to simulate federated search. Particularly interesting now WorldCat’s up. (National Library of NZ collections) Papers Past online 10 days ago, already indexed by Google.

Narrow in on core user needs and what people will be satisfied with. Simple, cheap solution may meet 60-70% of need. Lets you spend other resources on more advanced needs. Not necessarily final goal but good start and worthwhile.

Source urls: (I don’t know what this is as haven’t had time to follow it…)