Friday, October 20, 2006

Thuringowa and Manukau Libraries: Building a model for a new customer experience

Our fleeting moment of fame and glory! This is the paper that I wrote and presented with Kim Taunga, Botany Library Manager at Manukau Libraries, on Monday afternoon.

We had about a hundred people turn up to the Lion Harbourview Lounge which was pretty exciting!

Our paper and presentation was about how our libraries are moving from customer service to a customer experience. Kim talked about the how Manukau Libraries used Botany library to model a new way of offering a customer experience in a public library. They have innovative architecture and design, specially recruited staff, and have made good use of technology (RFID). I talked about how Thuringowa Library has used some of the features of the Botany Library model in the planned refurbishment of our existing library space, and how changes are being made using our existing library workforce.

Our library managers first heard about Botany Library at the 2005 QPLA conference in Toowoomba, where Manukau Libraries Manager Chris Szekely spoke about Botany Library. At the 2005 LIANZA conference I heard Kim speak about Botany Library, and since then Kim and I have kept in touch by email - mainly me asking her things about Botany Library. Our current library refurbishment has been influenced (in a good way!) by many of the innovative and creative things I saw at Christchurch City Libraries and Botany Library.

Somewhere in the last 12 months one of us suggested that we should do a joint paper at a library conference in NZ or Australia, and before we knew it, we had an accepted abstract for LIANZA 06!

Many emails flew back and forth across the Tasman, and a paper made it in by the deadline. Some more emails got a presentation started, and then I took two weeks holiday to explore the south island before the conference, so Kim and I met and finalised the presentation an hour and a half before a practice presentation to Manukau Library staff, and only three days before the conference. It was great fun, and it all came together wonderfully in the end.

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