return on investment

Real Cost of Short Term Thinking

Anyone who has worked with me for more than a few minutes has heard my rants on costs and ROI (Return on Investment). Everything I purchase or do for my library has me spinning into mini ROI calculations. Sample obsessive calculations:

-Program cost over number of participants (Watch my blood pressure if I have to attempt to divide by zero!)

-Item cost + Cost of processing + Cost of selection time over number of circulations.

-Number of circs I can squeeze before a board book is completely disgusting.

-Item cost vs how much work it is to order said item (I am defining work in this context to the following: bad website, poor invoicing detail, annoying sales/customer service, etc.)

caution sign

Customer Service Starts in Circulation

One of the few job hazards of being a public librarian is that everyone asks you why a library has a certain policy or rule. Often it is in areas I can readily explain like Internet filtering, privacy, weeding, etc. However, there have been a few times, I am absolutely flabbergasted on a policy or rule.

A civilian friend of mine shared this story about a recent trip to a local library in her new town. Her child was all excited that this new library had Dora the Explorer videos. The video was checked out for three days per the circulation policy. As my friend was headed out of town, they renewed a second time over the phone. No big deal. Upon returning, they went to the library and returned the items, save for the Dora video which they wanted to renew again. No dice. The circulation policy is limited to 1 renewal. My friend suggested that they simply return it and then recheck it out. Again the library said no. (“That wouldn’t be fair.”) My friend pressed on. Was someone waiting to check it out? No. That is just the rule. Too bad for you. Friend left with screaming child that was denied a Dora movie and friend left with a bad taste for libraries. Frankly, I don’t blame her.