February 22, 2007

Things that make you go ewwww

Posted in Humor at 10:32 am by Alexia

This article makes me want to run out and get an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator lead… 

Daccarett M. Alexander P. Machado C. Large vegetation associated with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator lead. [Case Reports. Journal Article] Acute Cardiac Care. 8(2):109, 2006.

I wonder why am I picturing a tree growing out of someone’s chest?

February 20, 2007

Efficiency and Service

Posted in Articles of Interest at 10:55 am by Alexia

Yesterday afternoon the network went down.  I never realize just how much work I do on the computer until I’m not able.  I digress…

In an effort to find something work related to do until the network came back up I shuffled through my “to read” pile and picked up an article I’d copied from the November 2006 issue of the Harvard Business Review (you can take the librarian out of business school but you can’t take business school out of the librarian).  The article, titled Breaking the Trade-off Between Efficiency and Service turned out to be an article not written specifically for a library but extremely applicable nonetheless.

The article, written by Frances X. Frei, stressed that a service company will never by as “efficient” as a manufacturing company because of the human variable called the customer.  He goes on to talk about the five types of variabilities and the option of accommodating or reducing the variabilities along with the benefits and pitfalls of both options.

This article has given me pause to think on many levels.  First of all, the article reminded me that even though we work in libraries and often times feel that this busines mumbo-jumbo doesn’t fit in our department business principles can work for us and help us improve.  I often think that if hospital libraries embraced business principles more that we’d have less of a problem justifying ourselves to administration.  We, as a profession, have made strides in this area but have a ways to go.  I’ve always felt that a business course or two should be required for an MLS, especially if the student is on a special library track.  I degress yet again…

The article also got me thinking about our customers (patrons).  When it comes down to it, our patrons are the reason we exist.  We try to market our hospital library to bring in more patrons, often times without putting in place mechanisms to help us deal with the increase in library use so that quality does not suffer.  We shouldn’t hide ourselves to keep from becoming overwhelmed but, as the article points out, we need to think ahead and plan before making changes.

Our hospital is on a customer service and customer satisfaction kick, which is why this article caught me attention.  We often think we know best when it comes to our patrons but in reality we don’t.  If we did we would embrace the fact that many of them want to do their own searches and help them do searches better.  We would embrace alternative methods of access, within budgetary constraints.  We would even let down our guard, as we did at my place of work, and allow coffee (in a mug with a lid) in the library, realizing that our major patron base – residents and medical students – work awful hours and appreciate having access to caffeine while studying or doing research.

Obviously the computer network is back up and running and the world is safe from a librarian with too much time on her hands…

February 16, 2007

The library as a place

Posted in Library promotion at 12:42 pm by Alexia

If the library as a place is soon to be a thing of the past someone forgot to tell the patrons of our library.  Since the beginning of the year the number of people daily visiting the library has gone up, as has our interactions with them.  Not only are they coming into our library but they are utilizing the library staff.  We have online forms they can fill out to request literature searches and ILLs but a majority of our requests come in person or over the phone.

And while Web 2.0 might encourage electronic collaboration there are still plenty of folk around here who like to meet face to face.  There are very few places to meet in the hospital at the last minute.  There are plenty of meeting rooms but they must be reserved.  We’ve opened up our AV room and Staff Lounge to people who wish to meet in a place more private than the cafeteria or lobby and this has met with tremendous success.  It’s a small gesture that has seemed to reap much good will and customer satisfaction.  It has made the librarians more visible because they must pass the reference desk to get to the rooms.  They see us interacting with other patrons.  In my opinion, the  more people exposed to the library in any way shape or form becomes one more person who is a library supporter.  An additional library supporter never hurts, does it?

February 12, 2007

Not such a bad idea after all?

Posted in Humor at 12:46 pm by Alexia

Overdue comic for 2/12/07