or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Guidelines for Handling Weekend Emergencies at the Library

   January 23rd, 2013 Brian Herzog

Hello, I'm IN CHARGE badgeThis has been in my "to blog" folder for awhile, but better late than never, I suppose.

In the fall, my library was able to reopen for Sundays for the first time in like five years. This is great news for patrons, but since our seasonal Sunday hours are voluntary (with paid overtime), we sometimes have a shortage of staff willing to work them.

In my library, there needs to be a Department Head in the building at all times. Generally this isn't a problem, but if no Department Head volunteered to work a particular Sunday, other staff (with library degrees) can be acting Department Head.

Since these acting Department Heads would be in charge of the building, we created some "Sunday Department Head Guidelines" for them to refer to if something unusual happened - and also to make sure the library delivered the same level of service on Sundays as we do the rest of the week. The goal was to have all necessary information - procedure, contact information, passwords, etc. - in one place.

I really like lists like this*, so I thought I'd share. Obviously it is primarily applicable to my library, and even then primarily only on Sundays (as other times follow slightly different procedures in certain situations), but perhaps it might inspire other libraries to also document procedures like this. Feel free to download and use these however you like (names, phone numbers, and other vital information removed):

I know the staff here appreciated it, as it can be daunting to be in charge when something goes wrong.

 


*Some people say I have a love of rules, but that's not true - orderliness and answers are what I like. Take that, entropy.



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Hugs Not Shushes

   May 7th, 2009 Brian Herzog

I like this video from Denmark. It shows police officers using hugs to make the point that laws are there to keep people safe. So of course I thought, "could we do this in a library?" I can just imagine a staff person hugging a patron before asking them to speak more softly on their cellphone.

But I do like the point: most rules are in place for a reason, and if patrons know the reason behind the rule - and that we care about our patrons, not just enforcing rules - the patrons' library attitude and behavior might change. Hmm, maybe not. Unless we gave away helmets, too.

via



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