|Doing all we can means picking|
up on customers' needs--even if
they haven't figured them out yet.
My question is, do we always do all we can for our customers? Even if we're not feeling like our patience tanks are 100% full? Even if the customer interaction isn't driven by a question or even an address to a staff member? Or do we do just enough for everyone to be superficially satisfied? My questions kind of relate to that Reference 101 scenario: a customer asks if you have a book on x topic; you could say "No" and leave it at that, or you could say "We do not have a book, but let's look in our databases for some good information." Both technically answer the question. But are we doing all we can?
Perhaps this whole post--sorry if it's not that exciting or idea-driven--is a way of reminding myself to always ask myself that question: am I doing everything I can here? Am I trying to respond to unspoken questions or concerns, or am I ignoring them because they aren't formally part of the reference interaction? In particular, am I doing all I can for the children who use my library who may not even know what to ask for, or how to express what they want or what they're feeling?
Doing all we can for our customers can be hard some days, easier on others. But doing all we can does wonders for building a sense of comfort between the library and its customers, a sense that the library is a place they want to spend time and where staff care. I like to think that's the sort of library we all want to work in--one where we'll happily move some items from the children's area when a caregiver has computer work and a kid needs something to do. Next time I'm having a cranky allergy day, that's what I'll be reminding myself.