It's not about ME - - it's about YOU
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It's not about ME - - it's about YOU



Presentation to Durham County Library staff on their staff day, May 10, 2007

Presentation to Durham County Library staff on their staff day, May 10, 2007



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  • Begin by querying the staff: Length of time at Durham County Library: 1 year or less, 1-5 years, 5-10 years, 10- 20 years, more than 20 years. How do you feel about the changes that are happening with Durham County Library? : ecstatically happy, relatively interested and hopeful, mildly skeptical, sinking feeling in your stomach, you’re searching the classified ads? (you can raise your hand multiple times) Explanation of the talk title: Anyone ever been in a relationship that has ended? In the attempt to make the “breakee” feel better, the “breaker” that’s “It’s not you – it’s me”. However, instead of ending a relationship, Durham County Library is about to begin a new relationship with it’s community where “It’s not about ME (individual Library employees/more of the same without questioning why, etc.) – it’s about YOU (anyone/everyone who has an opinion on the future of Durham County Library).

It's not about ME - - it's about YOU It's not about ME - - it's about YOU Presentation Transcript

  • “ It’s not about ME -- it’s about YOU” Durham County Library Staff Day 2007 Theresa E. Cummings Manager, Libraries IT Department Wake County Libraries [email_address]
  • So who am I?
    • Manager of Libraries IT Department at Wake County Public Libraries
      • In current position since January 2000.
      • Arrived full of energy and naiveté.
      • Quickly realized the department was growing, and growing and growing…
      • Am living proof that you can become a different librarian than you dreamed you’d be in Library School.
  • The way we were…
    • In January 2000:
      • Our system had 17 branches, with approximately 250 PCs being used by library staff and our public.
      • The majority of “technology” in our library branches was dumb terminals.
      • A majority of our “electronic resources” were in CD-ROM format – requiring customers to visit a library branch to use.
      • Our annual book circulation was between 5-6 million.
      • Our customer base was approximately 600,000 citizens. The number of library card holders was approximately 225,000.
  • Growing and growing…
    • In January 2007:
      • We reopened our North Regional Library, capping off four major library constructions/renovations in one year, bringing the total number of branches to 19 – and the number of PCs supported to nearly 1,200.
      • Technology is found in many forms throughout the library – WiFi, public Internet access, electronic management of PC usage and public printing, and more!
      • All of our “electronic resources” are online, and thanks to NC LIVE, are numerous in breadth and depth.
      • Our annual book circulation will surpass 8.5 million.
      • Our customer base is approximately 786,000 citizens. The number of library card holders is over 374,000.
  • WCPL Culture
    • Build libraries where people live and give them access to everything they’ll need from their local library
    • A popular collection is what our customers want
    • Requesting books should be easy and unrestricted
    • Services to children is our #1 priority
    • Give employees the information they need to make free, informed decisions.
    • Less rules, more guidelines
    • Volunteers – our clean little secret
    • Self service makes sense
  • How do we encourage this culture?
    • Facilitative Leadership model
    • Customer Service model
    • The Power of Nice
  • Facilitative Leadership Model
    • Created by Roger Schwarz ( )
    • The Skilled Facilitator Approach
    • Ground Rules for Effective Groups
      • Core values of: Valid information, free and informed choice, internal commitment, and compassion
      • All library employees are exposed to these ground rules, and we use them in all meetings and committees.
    • It’s hard work requiring constant practice!
  • Customer Service Model
    • Superior customer service is a mindset, not an activity…
    • We hold regular Customer Service Workshops for all library employees, covering areas including:
      • Avoiding Library Lingo
      • Customer service via phone or email
      • Serving external AND internal customers
      • Highlighting the differences in perceptions and motivations based upon personality types.
      • Dealing with challenging customers – use the L.A.S.T. formula:
        • L isten to the customer
        • A cknowledge the customer’s concern
        • S olve the concern (if possible) and sympathize
        • T hank the customer
  • A Culture of Nice
    • We minimize punitive responses
    • We empower each employee to break the “rules” when necessary to meet a customer’s needs and ensure a positive experience
    • It’s not necessary (or possible) to treat everyone the same. Strive to treat each customer as they wish to be treated. This requires good communication skills to find out hidden meanings…
    • Customers don’t care what you know, until they know that you care
  • IT Culture @ WCPL
    • We are Library employees who happen to be in the IT Department.
    • YES is the answer
    • “ There’s no I in IT”, err, well, you know what I mean…
    • Partnerships make it happen
    • Transparency is essential
    • Take advantage of all opportunities to learn
    • Be proactive in making sure your customers are happy
    • Keep your mouth OPEN
  • Our Challenges for the Future
    • Continuing to keep up with the demand for library services in Wake County (bond referendums, capital building projects)
    • Continuing to attract and retain the best library employees who love their jobs and are committed to providing excellent customer service.
    • Constantly evaluating our services by asking the question: “Is this what our customers want?”
    • Increase the visibility of Libraries as the #1 asset of Wake County.
    • Not resting on our laurels, thinking we have it all figured out.
  • Top 10 ideas to help you make the leap:
  • #10 Talk to the right people, oh and listen too.
  • #9 Take the blinders off – and throw them away
  • #8 Don’t think you have to build it yourself
  • #7 Throw “perfection” out the window
  • #6 – Keep telling yourself: “This is my job”
  • #5 – Whine with purpose
  • #4 – Find new ways to do your job
  • #3 – Never underestimate willingness to engage in meaningful work
  • #2 – READ, READ, READ
  • #1 – Remember it’s ALWAYS about the customer
  • Leaping People and Ideas
    • Helene Blowers ( )
    • David Lee King ( )
    • Patricia Martin – ( )
    • Google Alerts ( ), Google Reader ( )
    • Wikipedia ( )
    • Facilitative Leadership Model – Roger Schwarz and Associates ( )
    • Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die – Chip and Dan Heath ( )
    • Delivering knock your socks off service – Kristen Anderson
    • This entire slide presentation can be viewed and commented on in my blog:
    • You can email me at:
    • [email_address]