A Better Experience Begins with Staff

From the MSN Money site (via Steven M. Cohen’s Shared Items in Google): “This unique in-store education event signals the company’s focus on transforming the Starbucks Experience for both customers and partners. Starbucks hopes any customers inconvenienced by the early closures will see this as an investment that will have long term benefits. For their part, Starbucks partners will have an opportunity to connect and deepen their passion for coffee with the ultimate goal of transforming the customer experience.”

What’s going on? Every Starbucks is closing from 5:30pm-8:30pm on February 26 in order to “truly enjoy the art of espresso as Starbucks baristas demonstrate their passion to pull the perfect shot, steam milk to order, and customize their favorite beverage.”

OK – get past the silly corporate schnozz and focus on what Starbucks just said:

  1. Their goal? transforming the Starbucks Experience.
  2. Where did they start? Their employees.

Starbucks gave their in-store experience some thought, and realized the “main thing” is their expresso drinks. So … why not train staff to make the best expressos?

Now – what’s your library’s “expresso” or “main thing” that everyone needs to know about? Here’s an example: A “Big Thing” at my library is our new website (which I’ll be posting about soon!). This afternoon, our Digital Services Supervisor and myself are holding the first of many training sessions on how to post to it (much bloggy goodness) and how to write for the web.

What are the things everyone working at your library needs to know? And … what are you doing about it?

The Web Is Not Virtual

At some point in my talks, I usually mention how websites are changing from a virtual brochure with lists of services to something a bit more “real” – but it can be difficult to explain that concept! I usually show an active library blog with comments, and discuss the website as a form of digital community.

But check this out – from The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus blog. It’s a comic strip that usually focuses on “Church 2.0″ issues (think Library 2.0, but replace “patron” with “parishioner,” and you’ll get the idea).

Here’s the text of this comic strip (the graphic is much better, but the actual strip is too wide for my blog!):

“I no longer believe in ‘virtual reality’.
Real people, real opinions, real emotions,
real shopping, real relationships,
real junk mail, real joy, real sadness,
real empathy, real crime, real porn,
real info, real poetry, real art, real cruelty,
real goodness, real truth, real lies,
and so it goes on…
There is nothing ‘virtual’ about it at all.”

The web is much more than information and databases – we’re no longer traveling down an “information superhighway,” are we?

Library Camp Kansas – our first UnConference

What are us wacky Kansans up to? Check this out:

Ready to participate in a new type of conference? Think some of the most valuable and most productive sessions at conferences are the hallway and dinner conversations?

Want to get to know some of your forward-thinking Kansas library colleagues better?

Join us at Library Camp Kansas: the first Un-conference for people interested in customer-friendly libraries, library 2.0 and thinking about how we can all improve our services and organizations to meet the needs of our communities.

This is not a conference with experts behind a podium. It is an opportunity for dialogue and conversation. Sound good to you? Join us on Wednesday, March 19, at K-State’s Hale Library!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Registration starts at 9 a.m.)
Hale Library, Hemisphere Room
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

A complete agenda and links to lunch options, directions and parking information are available on the unconference wiki at:http://librarycampks.wetpaint.com/page/Unconference+Details.

The participants of Library Camp Kansas choose the topics to be discussed the day of the conference. Potential topics can be posted ahead of time to the wiki: http://librarycampks.wetpaint.com/page/Discussion+Topics.

Registration is free. Visit the “Invitation to Participate page” to register online:

If you need a parking permit, you must register by Friday, March 7.

Due to space limitations, overall registration is capped at 100 participants.

What’s provided:
Free wi-fi. Some laptops are available for those who can’t bring their own. Flip charts and meeting supplies will be provided as well. Snacks and drinks thanks to K-LIRT. Parking permits thanks to NEKLS.

What you should bring:
Great ideas, great questions, an interest in collaboration, laptop with wi-fi (if possible), and money for lunch.

For more information, check out the Kansas Library Camp wiki: http://librarycampks.wetpaint.com/

To see how other library camps and unconferences have worked out in other states, see http://www.blyberg.net/?s=unconference&submit=GO and http://librarycampnyc.wikispaces.com/Program.

Questions? Please contact:
Brenda Hough
Technology Consultant, NEKLS
[email protected] ~ (785) 838-4090

Hope to see you there!