Regent University Library joined other members of the Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education (VTC) to ask and answer that question July 26. Forty-eight faculty, staff, and students converged on Christopher Newport University’s Trible Library to discuss the topic “Can We All Get Along? Communication & Customer Service 4 Libraries 2 Day.” The training was sponsored by the VTC Library Director’s Committee in response to a library employee training needs survey, which ranked both communication and customer service high in requests. To meet those needs, VTC utilized existing employees with expertise in both areas.
Regent University Library Access Services Supervisor Dorothy Hargett led the way with practical tips for effective customer service, focusing on presentation, respect and the value of each patron. Hargett has presented nationally at an INNOVATIVE User’s Group. Christopher Newport University librarians Amy Boykin and Alicia Willson-Metzger were up second, offering a guide to navigating the waters of professional communication and the importance of a positive attitude in the work environment. Boykin and Willson-Metzger have also presented their findings at the Virginia Library Association conference.
An evaluation conducted following the session revealed that the third and final portion was the most highly rated. A student panel comprised of six students from Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, and Regent University (Tanya Brooks and Kathryn Swanson), rounded out the training with a very informative discussion of their expectations regarding library customer service. Students spoke of their individual experiences and fielded questions about emerging technologies and the importance of existing resources. RUL student worker Kathryn Swanson noted that attendees, “were very interested in my opinion. You could tell that everyone there was looking for the best and most up-to-date ways to meet the needs of their students.” Indeed, hearing student voices is instrumental in moving forward with programs and services offered by academic libraries.