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Special Interest Group Archive: Library Support Staff 07/07/2020

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

July 7, 2020

The July 7, 2020 meeting was facilitated by Cherylann Lauritano of Newburgh Free Library. We met via Zoom.


Customer Service


Cheryl-Ann writes a blog that goes on the NFL Facebook Page

Past topics include: 

-- Apply CS to working at home

-- Social distancing

-- Curbside pickup

They have been consistent with customer service, it’s part of ALA’s code of ethics - providing the highest level of service to patrons. 


Communication: verbal or written.

Much more is written right now. 

Customer service always applies, even in phone calls and in emails.

-- handling things in a timely fashion

-- giving customers full attention

-- flexibility & patience

-- respect & empathy & teamwork

-- any negativity during a visit might spread after a visit. Try to do what you can to resolve the issue

-- Body Language, show people some kind of normalcy for curbside. 


-- Technical Knowledge

People are coming in to ask for help with their devices, and that’s something new for the kind of work that we have to do. 

-- When you feel a situation is escalating, de-escalating by lowering your tone can be helpful. 


CL: Customer service involves listening to them and finding out what their needs are instead of jumping to conclusions. (Patience is important there.)


D: Treat everyone the same way - follow the rules, it allows you to treat everyone the same way. 

“I can’t do that for you, but I can do this”

    A: definitely, and working at an academic library, sometimes students have a lot to say about their courses. You have to be able to empathize with them and their situation while still representing the school with integrity and respect.

    CA: The positivity is so important in the college setting because a student will spread negative information among their peers like wildfire, and a positive experience will go the distance as well.

    D: same at public libraries :)


B: Customer service is also sending a patron to the correct person to help them when you don't have the authority.


CA: Its always ok to say you don't know BUT will work to find out.  That is better than just giving "any" answer


J: Never say, “no or never,” just “I’ll find out.” It helps to acknowledge, even if it’s non-verbal.


R: At the Circ desk, that’s the first thing patrons see. Eye contact or a smile makes a difference. You might be the only person they talk to that day. Setting the tone for the greeting sets the tone for the entire interaction. 

You can tell when someone doesn’t want to interact or to be bothered.

    DE: I think the masks are modifying customer service. You do have to smile with your eyes.

    D: and use a warm voice


D: Sometimes patrons just want to vent.. So active listening and empathy apply


R: Customer interaction will now be modified because we'll now have to talk to them through a plexiglass window.


CA: So far a lot of people are having us place their curbside pickup in the passenger seat of the car and not in the trunk - people miss face to face contact


D: Is anyone using Princh for remote printing? If yes, are patrons having a difficult time with it?  We will be offering it soon. It will be mobile print, and it could be if the library can open. 

In response to CL: “Love Actually” moment so you can hold a sign and let people know that you’re glad to see them. Now is the time to do corny things to let people know you’re glad to see them. 


CA: We can never stop learning

Each day gives us another example of how to treat others


-- Without a patron, we don't exist. We should never tolerate abuse, but we should put others first in these interactions.


DE: Here is my favorite saying, don't let the last 5 minutes that went wrong ruin your whole day.

Niche Academy videos on de-escalation can be helpful.


Next meeting: Tuesday, August 18 @ 11am

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