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Babcock Library Customer Service Policy

The Babcock Library strives to offer excellent library services to all.  In addition to the quality of collection and services, it is equally important that the library staff provides accurate, efficient, and friendly service at all times.  Staff must be aware that patrons are more than just “customers”.  As voters and taxpayers they have a vested interest in the Babcock Library.

The Customer Service Policy of the Babcock Library is the foundation for all staff interactions with the general public.  All other library policies should be interpreted in light of the principles outlined below:

  • The Babcock Library should offer the same quality of service to all regardless of age, sex, nationality, educational background, physical limitations, or any other criteria which may be the source of discrimination.
  • Patrons should be treated as if they are the most important people in the world.
  • Judgment calls should always be made in the patron’s favor.  If you make a mistake, it should always be to the patron’s advantage.
  • Patrons should never be left without an alternative if a staff member is unable to comply with their request.
  • Staff members should be familiar with and able to articulate library policies as well as explain the rationale behind them.

Demeanor is defined as: the way a person looks speaks and acts; one’s manner of behavior towards others; a personal mode of expressing attitude.  Non-verbal demeanor conveys attitude via the facial expression and posture just as the tone of voice and choice of words affect a message.

In public service institutions such as the library, it is imperative that every staff/patron interaction is a positive one for the patron.  A friendly helpful demeanor can often ensure a positive experience.

Staff members are expected to act in a friendly, helpful manner which will ensure that the patron will walk away feeling that their experience with the library is a positive one.

Each staff member, while at work, acts as a representative of the town of Ashford and the Babcock Library to each person or group with whom s/he comes in contact.  The impression made on the patron profoundly affects the library’s image and on-going support.

Positive Operating Procedures

  • Be punctual.  Service commences at the advertised hour the library opens and ends at the hour the library closes.  Phones should be answered and all work stations manned promptly at 10:00 AM.
  • Answer the phone in a pleasant manner.  A “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon” or “May I help you” goes a long way.
  • Greet the patron.  Acknowledge a patron’s entrance or presence by looking up and making eye contact or greeting verbally.
  • Look up and around periodically.  Being helpful to patrons takes precedence over desk work; patrons should not be led to think otherwise.  Try not to sit facing away from the public.  Walk around to notice if patrons need help in the stacks.
  • When a patron is searching for a specific item in the library, every attempt should be made to escort the patron to the appropriate area unless there is a line of patrons waiting for service.  Pointing to the general area is never acceptable.
  • Conduct transactions in a helpful pleasant tone of voice.  Keep any impatience, annoyance or implication of ignorance from your voice.  Pretend it is the patron’s first visit to the library.
  • If staff or volunteers are unsure of handling a question, they should always respond to the patron with, “Just one moment, please. I’ll get someone who can help you find the information you’re looking for.”
  • Be jargon free when talking to library users.  For example, avoid library and computer jargon or the use of acronyms that would be meaningless or intimidating to the public. (i.e. circulation, ILL, Lion, reserves, etc.)  Explain to the patron the procedure you will be following if it is not readily apparent. (i.e. “I will be contacting another library for the book you want; it may take 10 days.  When it comes in, we will call you to notify you to come and pick it up.”)

Approved by the Babcock Library Board of Directors
April 2002.