Thursday, February 28, 2008

Free them from their desks and laptops?


Yale University Science Libraries have implemented the reference service "Txt a Science Librarian", this is offered in conjunction with their IM, Email and web-form reference service!

Michael Stephens' blog, Tame the Web has a post with Joe Murphy the General Science Librarian & Instruction Coordinator at the Kline Science Library describing how the Library offeres this service (they use iPhones) and,
"As instant message reference freed patrons from having to come to the library, text messaging reference frees them from their desks or laptops"

This service has limited hours and the number to text is not on public pages because Yale is only offering the service to students, faculity and staff.

The Microsoft Subsidiary Tell Me allowes you to text or call in your question and they'll text the answer back to you. Or there is the service Ask Me Now.

*Note SCLS will be holding a program Hand Held Libraries, which will be about mobile technologies like phones and PDAs April 22!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Overheard in a hospital

Nurse to Aide: "It doesn't matter what we want. What's important is what the patient wants."
Nurse to me: "Everyone around here complains."
Me to Nurse: "That's true wherever you work."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Negotiating Skills

Last week I attended a workshop sponsored by the Long Island Association on negotiating skills. I thought the program would be about labor negotiations, what the presenter would call a "forced action" negotiation that must end in some achievement or plan. But this was not the case. The workshop was about sales negotiations,where there is no forced action. Someone can try to sell a product, but the buyer may or may not end up buying. At first, I thought the program wouldn't be applicable to me as a librarian. But then as I listened more carefully, I thought about the uses of negotiating skills as a "seller" of library services.

The presenter said that people buy benefits, not features. A feature is what things are; a benefit is what they do. A library has all types of information, a feature. The information can be used to help people answer questions or find something to read, watch a video, gather for a book discussion, all benefits.

People also buy relationships and value. As librarians, we know the "value" and the "benefits" of building relationships with our customers. We know that the values of a library are both tangible and intangible. If we build a library building, they may not come. But if we build relationships through our reference interviews, programs, and ability to give patrons what they want when they want it as opposed to what we think they need, they probably will come again and again.