Sunday, January 21, 2007

Vu, Deja

Practice makes perfect. Isn't that what Mother always says? If this cliché is true, that would make all librarians nearly perfect.

A librarian who is listening will notice that we get asked the same question over and over again.

"Where are the tax forms?"
"I am writing a paper on a biography, can you help me?"
"Do you have books with legal forms?"
"Where are the law books?"
"Will you marry me?"

While it would be easy to respond in a jaded tone, roll our eyes, or point rather than move - we should ALWAYS abstain from this behavior. At all costs. Really, I feel foolish even mentioning it - but the propriety I take for granted sometimes needs to be iterated.

Each time we are asked a question, it is our chance to polish our skills one more time. How many chances in life do we have to perfect an experience? Rarely, if ever. We can do a better job each time we are approached. In fact, we should embrace each chance. They are leaving with a product we have provided them with.

Who would go back to a dentist that gave you cavities?
Who would go back to an electrician who shorted your wiring?
Who would go back to a brothel where... well, you get the idea.

We can not assure the customers that our co-workers will not respond this way, but we can assure them with our actions that we will not respond this way.

They are all original questions, with original voices. Minus the guy who mutters himself over and over again, and smells like wet baby diapers. Professionally we can not afford to marginalize the importance of our customers questions.

We'd all be out of work if it wasn't for their questions and information needs- even if your customers are college students, business men, or the general public. If you work for a library, yet never have to look for an answer - are you in the right field? Really! Imagine a gardener without a garden or plants. Wouldn't be much of a gardener. More of an armchair hobbyist - and certainly, none of us would want to be described that way.

I admit, I haven't always had nice things to say about customers, but it hasn't stopped me from providing them with the best librarianship I could muster. Each time it really does get better.

Soon, I shall be able to clairvoy the needs of the customers.

Moral of this blog: Repeat performances make us stronger

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