Discovery and Delivery
October 17, 2008 1 Comment
This phrase has been bantered about a lot over the last several months at MPOW (always thought that should be MPOE – employment- but far be it from me to break from Internet tradition). It got me thinking – is that what we really do at the library? It certainly isn’t the only thing we do (our classes [or programs] as well as outreach via our booktalks, etc are very important) but it is a great deal of what we do.
Does it matter whether we discover an answer from a reference book, database, or web site? Does it matter whether we deliver that “must watch now” DVD into the hands of an anixous customer, recommend a great fiction book, or find the last copy of “Romeo and Juliet” for a last minute high school student? More importantly should it?
If the job of a library boils down to discovering things for customers and delivering it to them why should it matter how we discover it or what we deliver? To me it shouldn’t. So if we say that it doesn’t matter where we get the answer (assuming that whatever the source is it is reliable) and it doesn’t matter what type of material we delivery to the customer – should it matter how the request for discovery or delivery reaches us?
For some staff it does seem to matter. In this day and age why would a phone call be seen as having more value than an IM or a hold request through the catalog? A request is a request no matter what form it takes. Are they not all ways our customers are asking us to discover and deliver something to them? What makes you busier – 20 phone calls or a pull list of 150-200 items? If you have a holds pull lists that ranges 150-200 items why can’t you see that as 150-200 customers asking for help? If I IM you is that better or worse than a phone call?
What if I walk into your library and ask for “Of Mice and Men” is my request of more value (therefore given more attention) than a request for “Dumb and Dumber” on DVD? If you asked some staff they might not admit it but they certainly give weight to book type requests vs. audio-visual type requests. Content is content – it shouldn’t matter what the packaging looks like. Remember the old adage don’t judge a book by it’s cover….. well it’s about time it’s been updated. Don’t judge content by it’s packaging.