I recently learned that the Mount Laurel Library (NJ) has had staff positions called “Greeter” since 2005 or so. If I heard about this at the time, I’d forgotten until Retiring Guy drew my attention to it.
How great is that? To hire people whose job is to greet the public! And, it looks like from the Greeter Guidelines they also do what I call “ready reference”: assist customers with finding items, help with photocopiers, refer reference questions to other staff, etc.
Upon further exploration, I find that Mount Laurel has undertaken a project they call “Trading Spaces: Reinventing the Library Environment,” and the Greeters initiative seems to be a part of that. The original Trading Spaces project was a creation of the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative (SJRLC) and the New Jersey State Library. The goal of the project was to “reinvent a library environment through use of retail merchandising practices. The project was a three-way split from the State Library, SJRLC, and the Mount Laurel Library. In addition, the Mount Laurel Library redirected local funds for new collections and services to support the project.” (from “Trading Spaces: Anatomy of a Successful Project“)
So the greeters are part of a larger plan to incorporate retail merchandising practices into their library operations. From a customer service standpoint, this makes great sense to me. After all, the customers (or patrons, or library users, or whatever you want to call them) are, or should be, the main focus of a library. Do you ever walk into a library (or another type of business, for that matter), and walk around trying to be noticed in order to get the service you need? Not at Mount Laurel, apparently. Good for you, Mount Laurel!
More about Mount Laurel, New Jersey:
More About Trading Spaces:
- Trading Spaces Resources
- Trading Spaces Toolkit (see “Greeter Training” for info specific to Greeters)