I had my first experience of sitting behind a readers' advisary counter to serve our customers this afternoon. Customer service is really a very different experience from office work. When you are facing the public, you must be at your very best! You must be perceived to be fair and know the operations at finger tips. In addition, you must also be able to understand the needs of your customers; especially when they are not able to articulate what they really need help on!
Thanks to Norlizah, my colleague-cum-experienced librarian, for showing me the ropes the whole afternoon. Her gentle and patient manner definitely had a calming effect on me. I was able to stay calm, observe her in action and even attend to two customers.
What really caught my attention today was teenagers do not mind hanging out at the children section of the library! In fact, quite a number of secondary school students were occupying the kiddie chairs and tables. This is contrary to booksellers' report about teens not wanting to be seen at the children books section at the bookstores. The only reason i can think of is that Singapore teens do not have enough space to hang out together after school.
This brings to mind what Patrick Jones said about library services to teenagers when he was in Singapore recently. One important element is to provide them with their own space. Hope that when it is time to upgrade the existing libraries, we can look into re-designing and creating these spaces for them to form learning communities.
What do you think? Do you have other reason(s) on why the secondary school students are at the children section instead of the AYP section? Is this an issue or opportunity for us?