Magic Mirrors in the Library

November 14, 2016 at 9:57 am | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Professional Development | Leave a comment

mboldtMadge Boldt shows her strength and shares her NAHSL 2016 experiences in our next installment of blog posts by Professional Development award winners.  Thank you Madge and congratulations!


Step right up folks, and allow me to introduce the very engaging Susan Keane Baker, who presented “Speed Stuns & Other Customer Service Tactics to Differentiate your Library.” Yes, that’s right folks… speed stuns! Did you tell someone you would email them? Do it now. Speed stuns! Follow the two-minute rule of productivity. If you can take care of something in two minutes or less, just do it now. You will impress the recipient and you won’t add to your to-do list.

For the next science-defying feat: observe how a mirror makes an elevator arrive quicker. Impossible you say? Consider it sleight of hand, or magic… with mirrors! Hotel managers learned years ago that when mirrors were installed near the elevators, complaints about wait times decreased dramatically. Just like any magic trick, the observer must be distracted. What better way to distract; the waiting person can make sure they are looking snappy, or even better, sneakily check out the other elevator-waiters.

The lesson: if you need to keep someone waiting, give them something to occupy their time. This got me to thinking about the new chat service in my library. We have noticed that some patrons give up on us too quickly. We can’t always get to the chat right away during busy times. Sometimes it takes a minute or two. Would they stay with us if I could change the chat window into a mirror until we answer? Probably not, and I don’t think we have the technology for that. What is the library chat version of the elevator mirror?

I added a friendly auto-response that arrives after a 30-second wait: “Hello, and thanks for contacting us! We will be with you shortly.” But maybe what I need to do is change the auto-response message to:

Hello there! We will be with you just as soon as we can. Meanwhile, here is a rebus for you to solve:  T H H A N G E R E

I can just imagine the responses. Would it be the correct answer, an LOL, anger, or silence? I am open to suggestions if you have any ideas on how to occupy my chat patrons while they wait for us. Meanwhile, we will try to stun them with speedy answers. Speed stuns!

Other wonderful takeaways from this presentation:

  • Speak with your patron on the same physical level. Standing to greet someone is a sign of respect. (Hurray! I now have a sit/stand desk which makes this easier.)
  • When you answer the phone, listen for the caller’s name and use it quickly in the conversation. This has been shown to reduce the length of phone call and increase satisfaction. (I definitely need to do this. I usually don’t remember the caller’s name by the end of the conversation.)
  • When introducing yourself, include your last name. People will have more confidence in your competence. (This surprised me. I always thought it friendlier to just use my first name; as in “Hi Neighbor, I’m Madge!”)
  • Anticipate but don’t assume needs. (Guilty as charged.)
  • If you are going to do something anyway, you may as well be nice about it. (Important note to self: It takes the same amount of time to answer a question nicely, with a smile, than snarkily with an eye roll.)

From brains in jars to circus games and tattoos, NAHSL 2016 was a conference to remember. I sincerely appreciate the Professional Development award that allowed me to attend. In addition to all the good food, there was an abundance of food for thought. And I won the MLA membership!

Thank you NAHSL! I’ll see all of you trailblazers next year in the woods.

Madge Boldt, MLIS, AHIPnahsl-2017

Electronic Resources Librarian

Massasoit Community College




Leave a Comment »

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: