So, the other day, while I was writing about technology and heart, David Lee King took a number of libraries to task for “discriminat[ing] against a certain type of customer,” namely digital natives.
My library was one of them.
I showed Richard, and he joined the discussion on David’s blog (I defer to management in such matters as speaking for the library on the blogs of prominent library bloggers). I have to say, I am not exactly thrilled with the delivery of the message – the word “discriminate” implies, to my mind, a deliberate malice which decidedly does not exist. Everybody in this organization works their behinds off to deliver the best possible service to all patrons.
Here’s the thing, though: he kind of has a point about the language as it currently exists on our website. It’s been up there for eons, and it’s easy to let those sorts of things go in the “boots on the ground,” helter-skelter atmosphere of a normal day at an urban public library.
So I volunteered to rewrite the web copy. Richard and I have been passing drafts back and forth most of the day, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to get a more user-friendly version up there soon. The goal is to be inviting and welcoming while still pointing out the special circumstances that might affect service levels.
So, the moral here is that sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. There are still going to be times when longer turnaround times are needed on an e-mail reference question…but I think we can say it better than that.
ETA, 4:27 p.m. Edits are up. Constructive criticism appreciated.
ETA 1/12, 5:58 PM Thanks to everyone who has visited, commented, or otherwise participated in this blog in the last few days. Much to think about! A very busy day of reference service has prevented me from writing a full update, but I hope to be back with more thoughts and questions soon.