I knew when I agreed to try writing a blog that there would be times when the mind would not want to cooperate in this endeavor. This is one of them. I have been searching for the topic for my next post and coming up short, very short in fact.
Maybe part of the difficulty is that it is August and I am here while some library staff have left for Austria, Texas and other points of the compass. O well, my time will come and I am looking forward to a trip to see our grandson the end of the month. It will be nice to see the terrific and terrible two’s from a non-responsible position!
So, why nomenclature?
In recent years, as we ponder the changing world around us, librarians have had discussions on what should we call those who use our facilities.The most common term for those who enter our establishments is library patron.
As libraries and librarians are made aware of the newest operational trends, many of which speak of the library in business based terms and encourage adoption of the business related model of the moment, the question arises as to what is the proper term for those who enter our premises or find us through our on-line or virtual presence? Are they now users, customers, members, or something else? I have been to presentations in recent years where all of the above have been suggested. It has also been suggested that individuals who do not have library cards should be referred to as guests.
What is more important to me than how we refer to those who use us, is how we treat those who enter our doors or find us through other means. Are we giving the best possible service? Are we treating each individual as a person and not a number? Is our facility clean, well maintained and projecting a welcoming presence to all? Can individuals easily locate what they came for? Can they easily access us (are we on public transit routes or have adequate on-site parking)? Is our web presence easy to navigate and does it contain access to needed information? Do they leave us happy with their library experience or do they find us lacking?
If we can provide positive answers to these questions we will be a success! Most individuals do not care how they are referred to if they are receiving excellent personalized service from pleasant knowledgeable library staff.
I will grant you though that the term library patron does not sit well with me. I prefer the term user or customer, but that is only my preference. What is yours?
So long for now!