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Maintaining a Safe and Respectful Library: A Customized Plan
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
Course Instructor: Catherine Hakala-Ausperk
Library staff face the challenge of providing good customer service, even in the face of difficult interactions. However, feeling - and being - safe at work takes much more than just customer service training. A truly safe workplace is a welcoming workplace that reflects "kindness, mercy, tact, compassion, a desire to understand—and a generosity of spirit" for both customers and staff.1
In this four-week course, participants will complete a Workplace Audit and Action Plan that will help them explore how their library can develop a safe and respectful service environment for visitors and staff. From policies and procedures to job descriptions, performance expectations, behavior and discipline rules and safety guidelines, we can build and maintain workplaces that make everyone feel welcome. During this course participants will examine current conditions in their own libraries – including everything from signage and bathrooms to parking lots, policies, and job descriptions with the goal to honestly assess them and develop practical plans for improvement.
1Hughes, P. M., & Grace, B. (2010). Foreward. In Gracious space: Working better together (p. 42).
Course Description: At the completion of this course learners will be more aware of, and accountable for, what it takes to create a safe, welcoming workplace. By completing the assignments, learners will develop a "Workplace Audit and Action Plan," for their own edification or to share with library leadership to encourage change. By the conclusion of this course, Catherine Hakala-Ausperk will help learners to consider their own contribution towards this goal from four different perspectives: themselves, their team, their facility, and their customers.
Course Outline: When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:
- Yourself (Week One)
- Understand the value of a welcoming workspace, including the need for civil and respectful policies that support library operations and problem solving.
- Commit to contributing in any way possible to the creation of such policies.
- Identify and adopt behavior and procedures that support safe policies.
- Your Team (Week Two)
- Analyze, update, and enhance job descriptions effectively
- Understand the importance of clear performance expectations
- Appreciatively affect discipline
- Encourage individual accountability
- Your Facility (Week Three)
- Analyze existing conditions, both inside and outside the library, that reflect a welcoming, safe environment.
- Review signage and re-create, when appropriate, messages that are both civil and courteous.
- Your Customers (Week Four)
- Send a clear message of your commitment to safety through what all staff say and do.
- Exceed customer expectations for treatment by consistently offering outstanding customer service.
- Seeking, collecting, and then listening to customer suggestions for ongoing improvement.
Pre-course Assignment: No pre-work is required.
Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2 ½ hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains readings and a weekly assignment. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Library staff in any position, who desire to contribute to, and enjoy a respectful, safe workplace environment.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at: infopeople.org/training/online_learning_details.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
Keywords: Customer service, Library facilities and construction, Library policies