I found this in a pile of old items in my library’s basement. It was not in use, and probably hadn’t seen the light of day since the 1950s, thankfully.
The illustrations are adorable, and much of the advice is sound:
- Letting the customer be right (even when they are clearly wrong)
- Smiling when you speak to soften your tone
- Acknowledging patrons when you are busy
- Calling patrons back rather than keeping them on hold on the phone
- Relating to teenagers
Advice I’m not as crazy about is not answering certain questions over the phone. Of course I’m not doing a student’s homework for them, but the communication method usually doesn’t change how I answer a question. I ask if they are working on a homework assignment and then suggest online sources, offer to set aside books on their topic, and suggest keywords for searches. You can tell if an adult wants a quick answer to a “ready reference” question (What time was sunset last Tuesday? What’s the gross national product of Peru?) or if a student wants you to do their homework for them. That’s called a reference interview.
I like the title, too. Patrons are people. They are your neighbors, your family, and the people who work in the restaurants, stores, post office, doctor’s office, gas station, and auto repair shop you patronize. You are a patron, and you are a person, so there’s good advice here to treat people like…people. Too bad the examples talk about bobby socks, Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, and card catalogs.