Friday 12 April 2013

Library Safari anyone?

The first time i heard about a 'Library Safari' i thought it was linked with Under 5 sessions, someone with a guitar singing "we're all going to the zoo tomorrow" but oh no!
A 'Library Safari' is a package offered by Red Quadrant and their partners Konvergence to Library Authorities in order that they can supposedly;

  • Evaluate the current customer experience
  • Assess this against experiences in other environments, specifically retail

  • Delegates will participate in an active practical “safari”, visiting local retail premises to explore the environment, map customer journeys, measure activities etc. They will then apply the same principles within the host library before developing a “plan of action” for their application in their own authority.
    They offer an introduction to the concept of "decoding the customer journey", rediscovering and improving libraries using insights gained from a retail perspective.

    Now in principle this is a great idea, of course library staff should be familiar with their local environment and community, this should be done automatically as part of the staff induction process and staff should as a part of their day to day work be actively involved in promoting, to use two management terms, 'embedding' and 'engagement'. But, and it's a big but, not with a view to introducing retail models into their libraries.

    The other thing that strikes me about this is how do small businesses in the catchment area of a library feel when that library tries to compete in their market place, renting dvds, faxing, scanning, selling books, selling coffee etc etc? I'm sure that they are not very happy about it and i wouldn't blame them after all business is bad enough without a public service trying to muscle in. Not that I'm in any way extolling the virtues of SME's, but you know what I'm getting at.

    And why are we trying to muscle in? Well that's something I've discussed many a time, see;


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