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Saturday, October 15, 2016
FCPLEA President's Statement to Library Board of Trustees, October 12, 2016
Like you, staff have been trying to understand the Community
Engagement Findings and Recommendations.I decided to look most closely at the surprises, because they are where
Here are some of the surprises
·Lack of need and lack of
time were the strongest arguments for non-use:However much we want to succeed at our traditional role, we must respond
to that reality.We need to fill needs not
satisfied by other sources and deliver services in a time-saving way.Reinstatement of virtual reference services
and options for out-of-branch holds pickup and return are needed.
·While it is often a truism
that everyone wants more of everything, when our respondents had specific
requests it was for both more self-service options and more personal interactions.
“High tech and high touch” is clearly not dead.
·It is comforting -- when an
adverse policy or budget constraints or training deficits threaten our
performance -- to blame others around us, either above or below in the org
chart.But, leadership skills must be
robust and diffused throughout the organization.We all need to be more skilled and
empowered at the point of service.We
need to own the outcomes we create.
·We do not speak with one
voice.We haven’t found that voice and
so we contradict and undermine our message.It is critical to find that one voice and commit to a unified
message.We can’t do that without
hearing the needs, fears, and hopes that we and our patrons share -- and then
creating a strategic service model.
·IF our near-term reality is
a budget much the same as the current one, how do we shift its application to
respond most effectively to the changes this community engagement report
requires?All of us need to look for
dramatic (not trivial) efficiencies in non-customer facing processes to
optimize customer-facing impact.We
cannot evade that challenge.
Just yesterday, FCPLEA Delegates from each branch and
department had the chance for a long, wide-ranging conversation with Jessica
Hudson at Kings Park Library.
·We learned more about the various
systems, branches, and service experiences Jessica has had.
·We shared concerns and
hopes for maximizing our technology and collection impacts.
·We exchanged dreams for
more children’s space and programming, options for customizing service
exceptions, and warnings about impending cold and snow (which Jessica cannot
At Staff Day I attended a session facilitated by
a moderator from the Harwood Institute.He walked us through one brief exercise for building community
understanding of local needs.Deep
conversations that help us discover our common concerns and aspirations is
freeing and inspiring.More of that
experience is what we hope for from our Strategic Planning process.
Deb Smith-Cohen President, Fairfax County Public Library Employees Association