The Daily Evergreen

Library to implement new systems

Programs aim to help patrons find books easier, aid employees

Joanna+Bailey%2C+director+of+Neill+Public+Library%2C+explains+a+chart+showing+the+process+of+ordering+a+book+based+off+of+public+feedback.
Joanna Bailey, director of Neill Public Library, explains a chart showing the process of ordering a book based off of public feedback.

Joanna Bailey, director of Neill Public Library, explains a chart showing the process of ordering a book based off of public feedback.

ANA MARIA ALANIZ MENDOZA | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

ANA MARIA ALANIZ MENDOZA | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Joanna Bailey, director of Neill Public Library, explains a chart showing the process of ordering a book based off of public feedback.

EVELYN BOND, Evergreen reporter

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Neill Public Library has implemented two different programs over the past year to work on improving the library for its patrons.

The first program is called User Experience and the second is titled Lean, said Joanna Bailey, the director of Neill Public Library.

The User Experience program was paid for by the Friends of the Library and cost $10,000, Bailey said.

“User Experience looks at what can we do in the library world to make it better for our patrons,” she said. “We’re focusing on very outward changes.”

Instead of taking surveys and asking patrons how they use the library, Bailey said she and her team decided to use a behavioral approach, as opposed to theoretical.

“That’s a very marked departure from anything we’ve ever done,” Bailey said.

One study conducted under User Experience sent out non-public service staff to sit and observe library patrons throughout the day. The objective of the study was to see how patrons utilized library space, Bailey said.

“We got a lot of questions about where the restroom was,” she said.

The library has worked to change spacing throughout, as well as move and take down signs based on their observations of patron behavior in the library, Bailey said.

“User Experience is all about taking away what you don’t need and focusing exclusively on what is helpful to the user,” she said.

The other program, Lean, had what Bailey described as an internal benefit in helping library staff with their work, and an external benefit in assisting users in having an easier visit. The program was free and was provided by facilitators from the Washington State Auditor’s Office, she said.

Bailey said the library was told to choose a goal that was “core to your everyday operations, and one that touches as many departments as possible.”

The library decided that their goal would be to focus on shortening the amount of time it takes for orders to arrive.  A team was put together of frontline staff to organize the project, Bailey said.

The team mapped out a large board displaying all the steps it took from when an order was placed, to when it arrived. Seeing all the steps laid out helped employees comprehend how all departments in the library functioned, library employee Suzie Schad said.

“It was very helpful for all of us to understand what everyone’s job description was,” Schad said.

After mapping out the steps for ordering, Bailey said members of the team were able to see clearly where the problems existed.

“Once you’ve got it down then you can start looking at where the redundancies are,” said Bailey.

Although the Lean project is projected to finish by the end of fall, the library has already accomplished their goal. Bailey said they have been able to shorten the time it takes patrons to get orders from a few months down to two weeks.

Bailey said that both programs have greatly improved the library for both patrons and employees.

“We’ve had some fantastic changes that have come as a result,” she said.

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Library to implement new systems