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Lizzy Baus and I had the extreme pleasure of both attending and presenting at the 2016 South Dakota Library Association Annual Conference "Libraries...Rooted in our Communities." J. Jeff Kober presented a compelling and thought-provoking presentation titled "Things I Wish I Could Tell My Librarian." Jeff's session was fun, engaging, participatory, and he did an excellent job of weaving the themes and thoughts together into a meaningful presentation with some excellent takeaways.  

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Lizzy Baus and I had the extreme pleasure of both attending and presenting (our session was titled "Deep Roots and New Growth: Minitex Cataloging Update; Lizzy also presented "Library Linked Data for the Uninitiated" as a pre-conference session) at this year's SDLA Conference 2016 "Libraries...Rooted in our Communities." The conference kickoff included the typical but informative State Librarian's Report and Address, however it was the opening keynote presentation that caught our attention Thursday morning. J. Jeff Kober presented a compelling and thought-provoking presentation titled "Things I Wish I Could Tell My Librarian." The crux of the presentation was about explicitly saying "thank you" and providing "excellent customer service."Jeff's session was fun, engaging, participatory (yes, even in the keynote auditorium, Jeff was able to elicit audience participation) and he did an excellent job of weaving the themes and thoughts together into a meaningful presentation with some excellent takeaways. Overall, he shared meaningful stories that illustrated his points and supported his questions for the audience.

Some of the takeaways I found most relevant include his question of "What is the difference between a Library Service and a Library Experience?" Too often, we focus on the library services and all those related details, when really what we should be focusing on is the "library experience" for each patron regardless of the "library service". Jeff also reminded us of the "Golden Rule" using audience participation to share the rule. And just like jewelry stores today touting platinum rings as the step above gold -- Jeff shared his Platinum Rule of "Do unto others as they would want to have done unto themselves" and illustrated how that assists in developing an excellent library experience. Lastly, Jeff asked us what V.I.P stood for -- and of course the standard "very important person" was thrown out by several audience members. In this core example, and to support his other presentation points, Jeff made a case that V.I.P. stood for "Very Individual Person" and how that relates to developing a library experience with off-the-charts customer service. This is a frame of mind that each of us can easily implement without constraints of any kind, and we can immediately see the results of our efforts.

Jeff's keynote was titled "Things I Wish I Could Tell My Librarian" -- and what he wished he had told his elementary school librarian was simply "thank you," something people don't do often enough. His school librarian allowed Jeff to take a National Geographic issue that was being weeded. The entire issue was on Walt Disney and all of his work. The issue had a monumental effect on Jeff's life and his professional career. Something that might not have transpired if his school librarian had said no to his initial request.

Written by

Dr. Jolie Graybill
Assistant Director