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SWON News: The Low Down

Can You Guess What Library Patrons Said Next?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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The Pew Research Center released a new study about libraries two weeks ago. Their findings might surprise you.

The age group that visited the library the most is those between 16 and 29 years old. In 2015, 52% of them reported they had used the library last year. Adults aged 30-49 (50%) and adults aged 50-64 (42%) followed them.

What do library patrons say they want? Early literacy programs and coordination with local schools. Programs that teach people how to use digital tools and how to protect their privacy and security online. Over 75% of those surveyed said these are things that libraries should definitely do.

True, a national survey won't perfectly reflect your local demographics. But there's reason to suspect that some of the doom and gloom that librarians report—"Millennials don't come to the library," "Teens just don't read any more"—isn't accurate.

That list of things that libraries should definitely do? All of them require relationships. We have to build relationships with parents of young children and schools to make an impact in education. We need to hear from patrons so that we can design the technology and security training that meets their needs.

Before we get to the programs, we need to connect with the people. And where you have relationships, people know your value.

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator

Last call for the Customer Service Circus

Customer service doesn't often get a lot of fanfare. But then, great customer service interactions aren't often big and showy. Having someone who really listens to your issue, figures out the root problem and takes care of it for you without a big struggle is what you want, right?

A positive experience like that is built on real customer service skills. If you want to improve your skills with a range of patrons, you want to be at SWON's Customer Service Circus, October 14 at Boone County Public Library's Main Branch. Registration closes next week, so reserve your place now.


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