When I started this blog on April 1, 2008 I set as my goal to have two or three posts per month. As you can see I am falling short of that goal. My intent now is one post a month and I am now a little behind that at this time.
This post is expanding on comments made in my post of May 23, 2008.
I have been a library director of five public libraries and one multi-type library system since 1975. In my previous positions, my office was accessible by the public but my phone contact was filtered by office staff unless I gave someone my direct phone line. Here, my office is not accessible by the public as I am hidden behind the circulation workroom in a non-public area, but my direct phone line is listed in the phone directory.
From my large office windows, I can view the public entering the library from a main entrance and they can observe what I am doing, but they can not meet with me unless they ask staff to see if I am available. I would like an office with more public accessibility but our building design will not allow it.
Having your direct office line listed in the phone directory leads to some interesting conversations. Sometimes, upon hearing that they actually have contact with the “Library Director” individuals will sputter and hang up. I get a lot of apologies for bothering me. To these individuals, I ask how I may be of assistance and then we continue our discussion. I have learned much from these callers and hopefully have left them with a better feeling about their public library and its accessibility.
I will admit that at times of the year, such as AARP Tax Preparation Season (which in now underway), when I have answered the 10th phone call of the day for the schedule for our tax preparers a direct phone line becomes less than desirable. But again, each caller needs information, that is part of my responsibilities as library director, and I do have a tax preparer schedule on my desk.
One of my first actions when I became library director at WRL was to end the punch a number phone system confronting library callers. As mentioned in my May 23, 2008 post, library callers during daytime hours reach a live voice that assists them in getting to the individual staff member who can answer their question. Having my direct phone line listed in the phone directory is but an extension of my belief that in this technological age, the accessibility of a live human being is a vital part of good library service.
So long for now!