CSL News

Library Learning & Creation Center…Refreshed!

The Library Learning & Creation Center website has a new look! As we work to expand this website to become a portal for your library continuing education needs, we decided to start with a face-lift.

Don’t worry, we still offer wonderful, self-paced learning modules on Customer Service and Technology Training, as well as curriculum you can use to train both staff and the public on a variety of technology topics.

In addition, we have updated the Makerspace content and added a brand new area called Library 101. Here you will find information and resources related to core library topics and values including professional ethics, intellectual freedom, privacy, and copyright.

Over the next several months, we will be adding new content areas to the site based on our latest continuing education needs assessment results and direct feedback from library staff. Future content areas will include collection management, community engagement, programs, and services—to name a few!

So if you have not visited the Library Creation and Learning Center, or it has been a while, we invite you to stop by. Don’t forget to check out the Continuing Education Calendar to see which learning events are on the horizon.


Christine Kreger
Professional Development Consultant



Customer Service, Policy, and Technology: The Library Trifecta

We talk a lot about technology and libraries, and rightfully so. For decades, technology has been one of the most significant changes in libraries. We have gone from Library 1.0 to 2.0, with no plans on stopping there. Adding technology to our tool belts has certainly helped us serve our patrons and communities better—in fact, thinking of technology as a customer service tool helps us stay focused on our fundamental mission: inspiring lifelong learning, advancing knowledge, and strengthening our communities with our resources and our service.

Sometime this service is knowledge based, like using boolean search terms to get the best results, or using your ninja skills to navigate a database. Our skills get users the information they need. But even greater than the service we provide as researchers is the customer service that we provide. Good customer service makes the moment and creates lifelong users. The key to good customer service is building good relationships.

Keep Your Policies & Technology in Sync

That’s why it’s important to consider whether any of your policies or procedures get in the way of building relationships with customers. For instance, are you giving your customers conflicting messages about technology? Do you tell them not to download anything on a public access computer, then offer downloadable ebooks? Do you tell patrons that you encourage their formal education and encourage them to take tests on public access computers, only to frustrate them when the computer times out every 30 minutes and loses their progress?

It can be difficult to imagine the entire impact our policies and technology infrastructure will have on customer service; we can’t always predict every scenario our patrons will bring forth.

A Logbook of Nos

One idea I recently came across to address conflict between policy and customer service was to create logbook of no’s. Every time a staff member says “No” to a patron for whatever reason, they write down the request and why they said no. At a weekly staff meeting the log is reviewed, and if it seems like a certain procedure or policy is keeping a benign event or service from happening, the policy is changed.

What are some ways your library has worked on aligning technology, policies, and customer service?


Cataloging as Value-Added Library Service

Guest post from Melissa M. Powell, MLIS, Independent Librarian, library trainer and consultant, and proprietor of

I have been working on automating a library at a private school in the mountains. They are SO excited that their students can not only find everything in the library now, they can get items from other libraries as well. The major portion of this project is the cataloging. The non-library folks helping out are amazed at the process of creating metadata for each item and coding it so that it is searchable and therefore findable.

I have always understood and preached the gospel of cataloging however this reminded me how truly important GOOD cataloging is!

The first thing people often see of a library is its webpage. One of the major portions of that webpage is the catalog of books, DVDs, ebooks, etc. The coding in each record is used to make virtual displays, bestseller lists, and promotions. Without proper cataloging the web interface would be like a library with locked doors. You know there are things inside you just can’t get to them.

Everyone on staff uses the results of cataloging, and even cataloging itself, to assist customers. Every piece of descriptive metadata added about the informational item is one more lock opened in searching for that item. The more you understand subjects, authors, editors, form, and titles the better you are at finding and “selling” your product (information).

In this age of budget cuts we often think of the frontline as the most important and last cut. That’s what the public sees. We can outsource the rest. True. I am an advocate of outsourcing cataloging, especially for smaller libraries that lack the expertise and staff. However, someone must always understand how cataloging works at your library. Someone must determine how they are to be classified for YOUR library. Someone must understand cataloging so they catch the errors and communicate with the catalogers you are working with. Someone must understand cataloging to catalog donations and correct problems in the ILS. You MUST have a cataloger on staff to ensure you are getting what you are paying for either from a vendor or from the items you purchase. They are key to a successful and “open” library.

I haven’t even mentioned all the work happening with linked data, the semantic web, and bibliographic framework. Things are changing fast in the cataloging tech world. Don’t get left behind.

Without GOOD cataloging you can offer all the wonderful information you like and be open numerous hours but it will all be trapped behind locked doors. Don’t frustrate staff and customers.

Cataloging is customer service.