MHLS Home Trustee Resources: Across the Board
Quality Library Service
2007 - 2011 Plan of Service
Winter/End 2006

Across the Board | Winter/End 2006| Topic: Quality Library Service 2007 - 2011 Plan of Service
The Mid-Hudson Library System's Quarterly Newsletter for Public Library Trustees

This past year MHLS staff met with over 200 member library stakeholders-directors, staff, Trustees and Friends. We asked what people thought were the strengths and weaknesses of MHLS, what challenges they were facing in their roles at the library and how they defined "Quality Service." What we heard forms the basis of our new Plan of Service.

Quality Library Service 2007-2011 Plan of Service
The focus of the 2007-2011 Plan of Service is to assist member libraries in providing quality library service that meets the needs of their changing communities. Quality Service has been defined as ensuring that patrons have a positive experience at the library: they are treated with respect and can obtain the information they request in a timely manner. Operationally this falls into three areas:

VALUE: The ability to fill all requests for information or materials. Value is created by connecting a patron with the right information, in the right format in a timely manner.

Resource sharing is a critical component in library success. The sharing of materials in all sixty-six member libraries through our online catalog and the ability to request items from all libraries, including those beyond the boarders of the MHLS mission and service area-academic, hospital, and school libraries as well as other public libraries in Orange, Rockland and Sullivan counties, through the SEAL catalog-are mainstays of our success.

Even the smallest library can now answer reference queries through HOMEACCESS, the thousands of magazine, newspaper and journal articles and full-text reference books available in our online databases both in the library and from home.

Libraries also have become increasingly valuable to their communities in terms of social interaction, through programming and by offering meeting space.

Over the next five years, MHLS will work with libraries to increase their value by ensuring that:

VISIBILITY: Being recognized as an essential community institution. Few people understand all the resources libraries offer. As we found out from our work this past year, many people do not realize that libraries have DVDs, audio books, Internet access and adult programming. Libraries need to raise their profiles by becoming partners in the growth and development of their communities by identifying the needs of target groups within the community; developing service responses in information provision, programs, or collaboration; and by promoting those services throughout the community. Over the next five years MHLS will work to help libraries increase their visibility:

SERVICE: Insuring patrons consistently receive friendly and efficient service. From the focus groups we conducted for member libraries this year we found that people considered staff one of the greatest assets of our libraries. By providing patrons with a satisfactory visit, a library builds support in its' community every day.

This can only be achieved by insuring that staff has the skills, resources, and infrastructure they need to provide high-quality customer service.

Over the next five years, MHLS will continue to work with member libraries to help them improve the level of service staff can provide. Ideally, we want to see:

 

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