It’s hard not to be wowed by the facilities at Anythink Libraries in Adams County, Colorado — but make no mistake — this would be a great library system even if it was located in a set of original Carnegie buildings.
Prompted by this month’s Library Journal cover story, I phoned Director Pam Sandlian Smith to better understand what makes this library exceptional. A key is her emphasis on the competencies and people needed to deliver outstanding service. When creating Anythink, a priority for Ms. Smith was to build a high-caliber management team and she recruited talent from within and outside the library world. Their priority was to analyze library work and then structure roles to support it. The team listed all the work and then organized it into buckets, she explained. Next, inspired by policies at Apple Computer, they crafted job descriptions that included competencies to reflect “the how as well as the what”. The competencies are vitally important, Smith said, for “they provide a language to discuss performance” whether it’s high or when it needs improvement.
Take a look at the job descriptions below; they’ll quickly convey what Anythink is about. Then consider your library. What are the focus and priorities of your work?
Library Assistant (Concierge)
You’re the essence of the customer’s experience at the library. You greet people with a smile and welcome them into our library. You enrich people’s lives through meaningful dialogue about our products and services. You earn trust by being knowledgeable about our products and making recommendations that connect with the customer. You help our library customers find the fuel and the spark to unlimited ideas and opportunities.
- You warmly welcome customers into our library and ensure a great experience and a fond farewell.
- Out on the floor and in the stacks, you provide an amazing library experience to each and every customer by helping them find the book they want or assisting them with self-checkout services.
- You are an explorer of great conversations, talking to our library customers about the promotions, programs and services available at the library.
- You take pride in our library, ensuring it is clean and tidy and the displays are refreshed and looking beautiful. View the full Concierge job description.
You create amazing experiences for our library customers. You are the person who connects the customer with information they seek. You develop and implement outstanding experience zone programs. You are a trainer and program coordinator at the branch. You are a natural leader, knowledgeable on all library operations and respected for your ability to have the customer leaving thrilled about the library.
- You conduct presentations and workshops for our experience zones whether they be technology training, a children’s story time, a teen library program or a creative writing workshop.
- You are a wizard at teaching our library customers how to use our online databases.
- You make connections that enrich our library customer experience through developing online/paper bibliographies, adding content to the wikis, displays and creating transformational programming.
- You do the right thing. Every decision you make and action you take is an opportunity to demonstrate our collective integrity. View the full Guide job description.
1Images from Anythink’s You Say You Want A Revolution presentation.