Friday, March 4, 2016

Empathy and a Bill of Rights for Patrons and Staff

At our March 2016 cluster meeting, we had a very nice presentation by the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University.  The staff at Ramonita G de Rogriguez library have developed an active collaboration with the health center, and wanted to be sure all of the cluster staff were familiar with their services in order to be able to refer patrons as appropriate.  Also, there are several other health centers in North Philadelphia who offer similar types of services. It is helpful that all of the staff are aware of them.

After the presentation, and a break, we were FINALLY able to get back to the work of creating a bill of rights (for lack of a better term right now) for patrons and a separate one for staff.  In other words, what can a patron expect when they walk into one of our libraries.
This process started in September and October  with exercises to begin to think about our patrons.  These are described here.  In November we talked about walking in each other's shoes and about the perceptions each person has about the other's jobs.  That is described here

At this meeting, after yet another soapbox speech by me about the importance of good customer service, staff self-selected whether they wanted to work on patron rights, or staff rights.  I was very pleased that the majority wanted to work on patron rights.  They were divided into groups of 3 - 4 and with newsprint and markers went to work.

Step two of the process involved them "voting" for the points they felt were most important to them using stickers.  Photos of the "voting" process and the completed sheets are at the bottom.

After the meeting, I and a colleague carefully reviewed all of the sheets and boiled down all of the information to the statements below.  This does not complete the process.  This information will be shared back with all of the staff for them to review for anything that is missing, or items they feel should not be there. Additionally, I imagine some wordsmithing will happen.

When completed, these documents will be made into posters for display in the staff workrooms as a reminder.  They are not meant to become public documents.

Patron Bill of Rights

  • Courteous, friendly staff with a willingness to listen
  • Clean, safe, and comfortable building
  • Expect all staff to give accurate information and/or appropriate referrals 

Quality of Work life Expectations
  • Mutual respect and common courtesy
  • Work as a team – support each other beyond job class
  • Communication at all levels
    • Updates on policies, events, patrons, potential problems, etc.
    • Expectation that email will be read on a daily basis
  • Adequate and timely training
  • Tidy, clean, and safe facilities
  • Adequate staff
  • Adequate supplies