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Special Interest Group Archive: Library Support Staff 09/19/2017

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

September 19, 2017

The Library Support Staff Special Interest Group met on Tuesday, September 19 at Southeastern, where a dozen dedicated staff from both public and academic libraries in the region met to talk about common problems and potential solutions. The meeting was facilitated by Dawn Jardine of Red Hook Library.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 from 9:30am-12:30pm.

Discussion topics

Topics for the 4 discussion groups:

Staff turnover, supervising, training

- some people have structured training, so they can keep track of what they’ve talked about

- in the case of a painfully shy staff member, solutions include having a script, role playing (practice is always good), give them friendly patrons to ease the tension, have a mentor to help the person do things and get comfortable with it.

- There are scripts for holds and other calls that get repeated.

- Scavenger hunt as part of training or a library skills Olympics

- Cross training so the whole staff knows how to do the jobs so the work can be done even if the backup isn’t there.

- MSMC has a manual so you remember what you’ve learned and are very specific.

- If you have a lot of rules for patrons, it’s worth thinking about how you prioritize them.

Marketing & stats

- free publicity comes with community service (sales, food drives.)

- polite vs. strict vs. boundaries signs – wording is important. Too many “please” and “thank you” is wishy-washy, but “no…” is negative. Humor helps – “if you watch what you flush, we will all breathe easier.”

- Students don’t read flyers (although bathroom flyers work, if you’re allowed to put them.)

- persistence and consistency: keep telling people because they don’t ever know.

- Questionnaires help among different user groups, using each kind of marketing tool (flyer, social media, contests, bulletin boards)

- Saying things in person makes a big impression

- Public schools can help promote things in public libraries.


- Self-defense class

- door alarms and doorbells to call people on other floors so that you can get help within the library. Panic buttons connect directly to the police.

- Make your library more friendly to police officers – offer them your bathroom or do a “coffee with a cop” event.

- share information with other libraries about banned patrons.

- Remind young workers not to give out too many personal details like last names and schedules.

Tech Help

- It helps to have a script ready in case someone says they’ve already tried that: “I need to follow this procedure before calling IT”

- MSMC has training videos on YouTube with QR codes to reserve study room.

- Keep lists of instructions on a LibGuide as well.

- make sure patrons don’t monopolize your time by establishing boundaries. When things get too technical, take a step back or send them to another place. (Sometimes you have to rescue your co-worker.)

- You feel stuck when you know that the patron has no other recourse than you. Sometimes all you can do is listen to them.

Library Skills Academy

NYLA Annual Conference

Meeting Agenda

Library Support Staff Special Interest Group

Tuesday, September 19, 2017



9:30 – 9:45

Welcome & Introductions

9:45 – 10:15

Group Brainstorming

10:15 – 10:35

Round 1 of discussions

10:35 – 10:55

Round 2 of discussions

10:55 – 11:15


11:30 – 11:50

Round 3 of discussions

11:50 – 12:15

Group share and reflection on what we discussed

12:15 – 12:30

Set the next date and possible topics – call for a new convener to volunteer

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065