Have Passport, Will Travel

passportAnd now from the “If only this had happened just a bit sooner” file….

MPOW will officially become a Passport Office on Monday August 10th.  Ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate will take place at our East Columbia Branch at 11:00 am that Monday.

Oh, how I wish either my trip to Spain had been a bit later this year or that the Passport Office had been ready a bit earlier.  Having to take the MARC train and Metro to the Regional Passport Office in Washington D.C. was not fun.  I had to go there once myself and my husband went the next day for me to actually pickup the passport (name change and it had expired).

The residents of Columbia, Howard County and Central Maryland don’t know how lucky they are.  They won’t have to fight commuter traffic to go to D.C. or stand in line at the post office bored out of their mind.  Instead if they do have to wait they have the whole library at their disposal to keep them occupied – books galore, plenty of computers with access to the Internet, periodicals, newspapers, books on CD, Playaways and lots more.

This is just another in a great line of services that we offer our community.  Makes me proud.

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

Reading a post at The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian’s Blog well actually watching the video got me thinking.  I loved David Lankes’s idea that what is at the core of libraries is conversation.  All the books, cds, dvds, databases, etc. can help with that conversation but it really boils down to a conversation.   Please say this means the days of “SHH!” are gone.

Conversation is important but it has 2 key components – talking and listening.    I’d say most people don’t truly listen actively but instead are busy trying to form a response.  If we learned to listen better would our conversations and interactions with our customers/patrons/clients/users get better?  Would we in turn give better customer service?  Are we teaching active communication (talking and listening)  in our library schools?  Some might point to the reference interview.   I have yet to witness a true proper reference interview (or customer service interview) be conducted.   Are we really listening?

For some this might scare them as we’ve all experienced the lonely retiree or awkward teen who just latches on and doesn’t let go.  I’m not saying to let these people cross boundaries but I am encouraging real, true conversations/give-and-take to happen in our libraries.   What learning moments for ourselves as well as our customers might happen if we did?  I’m sure a shift like this won’t happen overnight but I’d love to see this happen and see the change it could have on people.