Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Customer Service

Kerry McGeath, the library director at Southlake Public Library presented two workshops on customer service for NTRLS. Kerry has over 20 years of experience in the retail world and is bringing that experience to the public library arena.

One comment that really stood out to me was to remember that your patrons do not know your rules. Even if you have signs posted, know that people often miss the signs. We might get irritated at having to answer the same questions over and over, but just remember the next time you walk into an unfamiliar environment - how do you feel? Do you know who to ask questions, where to go, or what the policies are?

At the end of the day, and I know it sounds cliché, but it all comes down to treating people with respect, professionalism and courtesy. Treat everyone as if they were your mother, child, spouse, etc... - well that is, if you like those people!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

System Funding Formula Under Review

The Texas Library Systems Act Advisory Board(LSSA) met yesterday. This board advises the Texas State Library and Archives Commission(TSLAC) on the Systems and they have been tasked with the responsibility of revising the System funding formula. As a reminder, TSLAC uses the funding formula for the distribution of grant funds to the ten Texas Systems. For additional background information, please check the background document TSLAC provided to the LSAA for yesterday's meeting. The LSAA approved this timeline and is looking for public comments after the new proposed formula is finalized at the February 23rd meeting. TSLAC gave the LSAA some funding formula examples for their consideration. If you look at the examples, the first one given is what our FY2008 budget would be if the formula did not change at all ($619,077). If one of the other examples is adopted, we could receive anywhere from $569K to $631K. I highly encourage anyone interested in how the Systems are funded to look at this process very carefully and take a few minutes to comment on the proposed funding formula. I will post the URL for public comments as soon as TSLAC makes it available.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Two New NTRLS Board of Directors Members

Hi. The NTRLS Board of Directors met last Thursday and appointed two new board members. Carl Campbell will represent Region 6 libraries while Patricia Jefferson will represent Region 2 libraries. You can find their contact information here. Welcome to our new Board members!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Library Round-Up!

Welcome to Tanya Ochoa, the new library director at the Betty Foster Public Library in Ponder Texas! Tanya comes with vast customer service experience.

Yesterday, I met with Tanya and changes are in the air. The library has been rearranged and new furniture highlights the updated design. While this library is small square footage wise, it is outreaching its community well.

I also visited The Colony Public Library and received the grand tour from Joan Sveinsson, the library director. The library was remodeled in 2000 and like so many of our libraries, is growing fast and needs space. While I was there, around lunch time, all of the computers were full, there were many parents with their children, and staff busily helping patrons. I was surprised to learn that The Colony was incorporated in 1977 - so it is a relatively young "official" community. Joan and her staff are busy working on a local history project to coordinate the community's history - including details of original landowners and gifts. Once completed, this will be vital resource for the community.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Second Round of NTRLS HELP Mini-Grants

The NTRLS Services Planning Committee has decided to offer a second round of HELP Mini-Grants to member libraries in the amount of $18,000. Extra funds became available when NTRLS staffing levels fell to six employees. The applications for this second round of grants are due by March 15, 2007. Awards will be given in April 2007. All grant funds must be spent by August 11, 2007. As a reminder, the scope of the grant has been expanded “to fund projects that are enhancements of existing services; however, first priority will be given to projects that request the assistance of paid consultants for specific library development projects (taken from the HELP Mini-Grants Application form found on the NTRLS website).” In the first round of funding, the Services Planning Committee gave awards for a variety of projects including: (1) producing a video to introduce children to library services; (2) hiring a consultant to perform a space needs assessment; and (3) renewing an electronic subscription as well as purchasing equipment to process books. I must stress that Grant applications will be evaluated heavily on the ability to meet the spending deadlines specified above. If you have a summer project needing funds, please do not hesitate to apply. Applications can be found on the NTRLS website under Featured Links. If you have any questions, please call me at 800-856-3050.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bedford City Council Decides to Look into Outsourcing Library

This article explains the situation in Bedford concerning the possible outsourcing of the library operations to a private company. I attended part of the city council meeting last night and was impressed with the support the library received from the Bedford residents. Maria Redburn, director of the Bedford Public Library, did a fantastic job presenting her business plan to the council. I lasted through four of the presentations done by the citizens. All of them were very passionate and logical in their arguments against outsourcing, and it surprised me that the council voted in favor going forward with the RFP process. NTRLS will be watching, and reporting, on developments over the next few months.

Strengthening Library Staff Through Training

The North Texas Regional Library System held the third meeting of the ad hoc Continuing Education Provider's Committee on January 9, 2007. This committee was created for resource sharing and idea brainstorming. With shrinking funds for libraries, it is often difficult for librarians and other staff to develop skills and tools for professional growth. NTRLS strives to provide relevant workshops which are presented throughout our area, and are open to anyone - free of charge.

If you would like to check out what workshops we currently have available, check our CE Portal. If you would like to be involved in the CE Provider's committee, email Carolyn Davidson at cdavidson(at)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Jersey Library Locks Doors After School

I read about this article on Michael Stephen's Tame the Web. It states that the Maplewood Public Library has decided to lock its doors between 2:45 pm and 5 pm to keep rowdy teens out of the library. These teens apparently descend upon the library and cause chaos.

In consultation with a lawyer, the library board came up with behavior guidelines in May 2005 that prohibited activities like “hairdressing or grooming of another person” and “refusal to leave the building.” The policy includes some politely precise language common to those who speak softly from behind a reference desk: “If a patron seems to be placing a staff member in the position of providing a nonlibrary-related function, the staff member may bring the interaction to a prompt conclusion."

But library officials felt that a bigger stick was needed. Last week, the board posted a notice on its Web site and library doors saying it had “struggled with this problem for over 10 years” and voted “with great reluctance” on Dec. 20 to close after school.

When I worked for the Houston Public Library, I worked at a branch located between a elementary school and a middle school. Everyday, we had 50 to 100 children come to our library. At my branch, we worked hard to provide a structured environment for the children so it was just an extension of their school day. We met the children at the door, walked them into the library and gave them assigned seats. We then monitored the stacks assisting children when needed. Did it work all the time? No. We often asked children to leave because of their behavior. I find it hard to believe that a library would be forced to close its doors to avoid dealing with children. There has to be a better solution!!