Shooting Ourselves in the Foot

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” ~Pogo

A few folks at MPOW were recently looking to book meeting rooms for a recruiting tour of the area. I suggested they contact the local public libraries in the cities they were planning to visit.

Now, I just came from working at the regional consortium, so I’m pretty familiar with the public libraries in the region. I’m also pretty familiar with the library directors. So it came as no real surprise when the person booking the rooms reported that reserving the room at one of the public libraries was “a piece of cake!” The other two libraries in question had hoops through which we were unable to jump: the one required that we hold a library card from their library and the other required that we sign a contract. (As we work for a behemoth organization, anything involving a contract also involves legal council and lots of time.)

I can’t say that any of this is a surprise. The first library in question is one of those places you love to visit. The staff are warm and welcoming, the place is open and colorful, and the director is one of those librarians who is innovative and works very hard to make her library the place that it has become.

The other two can be…..well, prickly.

Now, which library do you suppose my new coworkers have a better feeling about? And how many people are they going to tell about their new swell contact in this particular city? And, once they actually visit the place and see how lovely it is, how many people do you suppose they’re going to refer to that library?

And as for the other two….no amount of marketing will erase cranky and difficult.

Beware of the barriers that you’re erecting to customer service. Are they really necessary? Really?

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Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship

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