Leadership Cohort Meetings Sept 17 & Oct 1, 2019

The notes below are combined for the meetings on September 17 and October 1.  The meeting on October 1 continued the discussion from the previous meeting.


  • Systems Thinking
    • “Exploring Your Own Story” exercise – The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook by pages 103-108
      • Create picture of system based on responses from previous meeting
    • 5 Year Changes
      • What major changes have we made over the last 5 years?
      • Why did we make the changes?
      • What were the expected outcomes?
      • What were the actual outcomes?

Grouping Exercise

(This grouping exercise used the comments from the previous meeting’s exercise: Problem: Circulation and general use of the library has been decreasing over the past few years.  What are the key factors that seem likely to capture the problem or are critical in telling the story?)

External Competition (Filling Holes)

  • Social agencies and churches building libraries
  • Little Free Libraries
  • Are kids learning to use libraries in schools?
  • Companies leaving out libraries (Macmillan)

Tech Influences

  • CD players no longer in cars (tech trends)
  • Digital downloads
  • Smartphones
  • Can checkout without coming in
  • Just buy on Amazon vs waiting on hold
  • Ease of other services (Netflix / Amazon)

Societal Trends

  • The world is on fire! Why read a book
  • Has divisive society changed willingness to come to communal space
  • People don’t want interaction
  • People want to stay home more
  • Some can pay for convenience
  • Instant gratification
  • So much media no longer one big read (e.g. Oprah)

Societal – Reading Habits

  • Reading less
  • Reading not a priority

Perception of Libraries

  • Negative experience at this or other library
  • Do not understand necessity of using the library
  • General distrust of institutions
  • Staff don’t represent community
  • Don’t know what library has

Individual Barriers

  • Cost of using service (fees and fines)
  • Bus schedule
  • Other personal “fires” people are concerned with
  • Other life issues
  • Work schedule
  • Nomadic culture
  • Physically unable to walk that far
  • Barriers to physically use the library
  • Doesn’t fit in families schedules
  • Large central library
  • Can’t read

Collections (do we have the right stuff)

  • Is what we’re circulating what they need
  • Too many books on shelves

Environmental / Safety

  • Shared materials and allergy concerns
  • Construction
  • Is library safe
  • Bed bugs


5 Year Changes Exercise

Change: Self-service model


  • Too long of lines
  • Free up staff to do other things – outside of the building
  • Similar to ATM
  • Generational – people like to do it themselves
  • Improve customer experience

Intended Outcomes

  • Fewer crying babies (YES)
  • Eliminated wait time for CKO (YES)
  • Fewer staff on floor (YES)
  • Collaboration with community partners (YES)
  • Reducing people congestion (YES)
  • Family convenience (YES)
  • Confidentiality (YES)
  • More meaningful customer interactions (TBD)

Actual / Additional Outcomes

  • Customer anxiety for staff job security
  • Customer anxiety in using self-checks
  • Tech barrier
  • Very few lines
  • No social interaction at CKO
  • Efficiency
  • Less control of library cards
  • New users think it’s magical


Changes: Learn and Play Bus


  • Every child ready for Kindergarten
  • Hire Sherry
  • Reduce barriers for parts of community – bring CIG where people are
  • Work with community partners – experts
  • Introduce concept of learning through play
  • Help parents know how to work with young kids

Intended Outcomes

  • Development of Kindergarten readiness skills, specifically 5 (YES)
  • Form had to follow function to achieve goal – custom design (YES)
  • Target audience – underserved communities (YES and NO)
  • Build trust with community (YES)
  • Drawing on expertise / services of partners (YES)
  • Building relationships between staff and family and between families (YES)
  • Showing library cares about you and your kids (YES)

Actual / Additional Outcomes

  • Steps could have been shorter for kids
  • Size of bus can’t park everywhere we want
  • Can’t store bus at library
  • CDL requirement is a barrier
  • Have done a number interventions and screenings (e.g. hearing test)
  • TARC is a great partner – provide therapeutic play (piece of mind)
  • Staff experience on bus improves services in the building


Changes: Remove desk / roving model


  • To go to the people
  • Desk was a stop sign
  • Improve customer experience
  • Better manage space
  • To move from passive to proactive
  • More opportunities for customer training and self-service
  • Best practices for staff (walking to collections) a reality in the space

Intended Outcomes

  • Public utilize the catalog (YES)
  • Customer empowerment (TBD)
  • Less staff on the floor
    • Deployed in different ways
  • Higher visibility of staff (Librarians vs. shelvers)
    • No – not in one spot – difficult to find – staff walking by aren’t easily identifiable as staff
  • Engage with customers who wouldn’t want to approach the desk
    • Depends – Types of interactions have changed
    • What do we mean by engaging?
  • Increase staff approachability
    • Varies – More about customer service training
  • Answer question where it is asked / occurred
    • Sometimes – Have to take person to computer (sometimes) – dispersed computers make it difficult to do this for computer questions (not in one area)
    • Pro tip – staff can use public computers for a lot of staff side work
  • Spread out the help
    • Yes in media / spread thinner in wings – configuration of wings makes this difficult

Actual / Additional Outcomes

  • Do you work here?
  • More customers and staff in media because fewer / low visibility staff in wings
  • Did we alert customers enough to the change?
    • Gap in how new people came into new model
  • Needed better staff customer service training for new model
  • Many different tasks in media make it difficult to be proactive
  • What is TSCPL customer service model – what are expectations?
    • No desk – what do I do?
  • Different model with kids vs. new model creates confusion
  • Many of us have change they way we interact with customers
    • Everyone is doing it differently which creates confusion
  • Increased staff knowledge of collections
  • Helping with more systems thinking and seeing where systems are breaking down throughout the library
  • Define what it means to be a competent librarian
    • Provide additional training
    • Stay up with changes and still use reference interview
  • Harder for staff to communicate with each other
    • More difficult to consult with colleagues
  • Phone calls don’t occur on floor
  • Customers are catching on – holds pick up room / kiosks
  • What is our goal for each customer?
    • “Turn no’s into yeses” – Ruth Rodden c. 2013
  • Safety concerns – how to handle?
  • Privacy concerns with staff computers
  • Difficult to manage a “line”
  • The way we help customers is less compartmentalized – don’t have to send to other desks


Other Changes

  • Remove desk from media / rover model
  • Facilitation training
  • New lobby
  • Library of the Year
  • No fees for kids items
  • Claire’s Courtyard
  • Community Impact Goals and Core Values
  • No video games
  • Make-It Lab
  • Learning Center
  • RFID
  • New phone system
  • Team rooms
  • Donor digital display
  • After school snack
  • Reduction in ready reference
  • New bookmobiles
  • Facilities Master Plan

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