Over the past year, Debbie and I have aimed to make our services as member oriented as possible. In graduate school, I had been inspired by the ethos of “extreme customer service” espoused by institutions like the Darien Public Library.
While we cannot (yet!) fulfill every member request (Someday, ebooks. Someday.), we aim to fill every request we can, from trying to have library-friendly candy and flowers on the reference desk to making sure that there are both “cool” rooms and “warm” rooms in the library to suit different temperature preferences (and avoid the nasty mold growth that comes with shifting library temperatures frequently).
Books, though, are still our main stock-in-trade here at The Yale Club. Club Library staff has long worked to collect current and popular titles for its member, in order to develop a collection that could serve the members. Under the previous librarians, titles were ordered monthly and each month the staff produced a pamphlet announcing the newest titles. While this service was valuable, Debbie and I had felt that we were not able to get books to members as efficiently as we wanted to. When ordering on a monthly schedule, if a member happens to ask for a book the day after we submit a monthly order, she will have to wait nearly a month to have the book in hand.
Extreme service this is not.
I had been toying with the idea of increasing the frequency of book orders for a while – and had been “special” ordering books from Amazon when there was a particular need. I held off increasing the frequency because it seemed to add challenges to both budgeting and managing the booklist (would it make any sense to produce weekly book lists?), even though I knew my colleagues at other Club libraries managed with weekly orders just fine. As I head into my first month of weekly orders, I’m excited by the increased freedom and steady stream of options it will offer both to my patrons and to me.