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>>> 10% discount on Customer Service Skills: a Blueprint for Customer Satisfaction workshop

ASLIB Training - book before Friday 22nd May and get 10% discount by quoting ASLIBNews on booking form.

Appreciating and meeting the expectations of users is at the heart of providing a high quality library service and staff who understand what customers want are an organization's biggest asset. Good customer service inspires customer loyalty and enhances the reputation of the organization. It can help with staff motivation and improve staff morale. Fewer complaints mean less stress and a happier team.

This workshop provides participants with an introduction to customer service skills and is a mixture of presentation, group discussion and activities. It will provide a basic introduction to a range of techniques to help enhance customer service practice.


>>> Public libraries should emulate coffee shops, says report

It suggests they need to emulate coffee shops, by offering free wifi, sofas, toilets and hot drinks.

It also calls for a library taskforce and a national digital library network to boost library standards in England.

Report author William Sieghart said libraries were a "vital lifeline" for people, but are in a state of crisis.

The government said it was committed to taking forward the report's recommendations.

"We are setting up a taskforce in partnership with local government to consider the recommendations in the report and lead on any future actions," it said.

'Civilised society'

The report, published on Thursday, was jointly commissioned by the departments for culture, and communities and local government in February.

The panel visited libraries across the country, considered more than 200 submissions of written evidence and heard oral evidence from bodies such as Arts Council England.

It found that the quality of library services was patchy across the country, and underlined the need to develop and extend best-practices all round.

Speaking to the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme, publisher and philanthropist Mr Sieghart warned of the impact of future spending cuts on the provision and quality of services.

"We're at a critical moment now are we're facing a few more years of austerity ahead of us, and many library services across the country have been whittled down as far as they can probably go," he said.

He underlined the importance of libraries in communities, saying 35% of the population use them regularly, rising to 50% in the poorest areas.

"It's a mark of a civilised society that we have a safe and trusted place to mine the knowledge of the world for free, with some helpful navigation from the library service," he said.

His report calls for a "re-invigoration" of the public library network, beginning with digital technology improvements, including the roll-out of wifi out to every library.

This should be delivered "in a comfortable, retail-standard environment with the usual amenities of coffee, sofas and toilets", the report states.

Failure to provided free internet and quality computer services paints libraries as old fashioned places with little relevance in today's society, it warns.

The three key recommendations are:

  • a national digital resource for libraries, delivered in partnership with local councils
  • a taskforce led by local government in partnership with other bodies to boost national standards in England's libraries
  • for that taskforce to help local councils to improve and revitalise local library services while encouraging increased community involvement.

The report also says libraries should be playing a major role in improving literacy standards, suggesting partnerships with schools and providing courses in literacy and adult education.

Other suggestions include more consistent branding and signage in libraries, better sharing of digital networks and more use of E-lending.

Mr Sieghart told the BBC it was not just a question of pumping new resources in to the public library network, but using existing resources "in a more sensible way".

The report author cited Suffolk council as a leading example, saying it had entered into a co-operative with library support groups resulting in a better, localised service.

'Extremely difficult'

Mark Taylor, from the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals, welcomed the report and endorsed its proposals as a "step forward".

But he highlighted the "challenge" in delivering the recommendations, noting that 340 libraries had closed over the past five years, with 6,000 job losses.

Visiting figures and the number of books being borrowed had also declined, he added.

"If you don't have a network which is staffed, run and developed by professional staff with the right skills and expertise then I think it is going to be extremely difficult."

He added: "It's not quite last chance saloon for libraries if we just remain viewing them as book lending places only but this is our chance to really go beyond that and take libraries firmly in to this century."

The library taskforce will meet in February next year, and bring together national organisations "who believe they can help England's public library network, Mr Sieghart said.

taken from


>>> ASLIB Open Training courses for the rest of 2014 now available.

The remainder of 2014 open training courses are now live on the website, the Training Directory has also been updated.  

Go to  for scheduled dates.

There are new courses introduced for 2014:
  • 'Learning to Manage'
  • 'Knowledge Harvesting, Transfer and Retention'
  • 'Practical Knowledge Management for Information Professionals'
  • 'Social Media Governance: Achieving Best Practice'
  • and 
  • 'Effective Communication Skills for Library and Information Managers'

  • If there are a few people in your organization who require training, we can bring the trainer to you. Visit 
    On-site training or contact for more information.

    Alternatively if your budget doesn't stretch to an Onsite or the travel and accommodation of an open course then our One-to-one training could be the answer.  The course is conducted with the trainer by phone, e-mail and video conferencing.  Visit One-to-one training for more information or contact

    >>> Barack Obama Presidential Library

    Barack Obama Presidential Library - qualification applications all in A statement has been issued about the responses to the request for qualifications to host the Barack Obama Presidential Library.

    Martin Nesbitt, Chair of The Barack Obama Foundation said: "We appreciate the time, effort, and planning that have gone into the 13 responses we've received to the Foundation's Request for Qualifications. These ideas will ultimately help us build a library that reflects President Obama's priorities and values throughout his life and career, and makes our whole nation proud. We will run a level and fair process to evaluate how well each response captures the vision and goals of the future Obama Presidential Library, and based on what we see, the Foundation will identify a short-list of potential partners to receive a Request for Proposal later this summer."

    The request for qualifications was issued in March. This request was intended primarily to solicit a response from an institution of higher learning, not-for-profit organization, private developer, or municipality that wishes to sponsor, develop, and maintain a multi-unit facility to be known as the Barack Obama Presidential Library.

    The document included a set of guiding principles consistent with the president's legacy and the future aspirations of the Barack Obama Foundation.

    The National Archives was established in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt, and the presidential library system formally began in 1939 when he donated his personal and presidential papers to the Federal Government.

    At the same time, Roosevelt pledged part of his estate at Hyde Park to the United States, and friends of the President formed a non-profit corporation to raise funds for the construction of the library and museum building.

    In 1950, Harry S. Truman decided that he too would build a library to house his presidential papers and helped to galvanize congressional action. In 1955, Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act, establishing a system of privately erected and federally maintained libraries.

    The Act encouraged other presidents to donate their historical materials to the government and ensured the preservation of presidential papers and their availability to the American people. Under this and subsequent acts, more libraries have been established.

    In each case, funds from private and non-federal public sources provided the funds to build the library. Once completed, the private organization turned over the libraries to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to operate and maintain.

    Until 1978, presidents, scholars, and legal professionals held the view dating back to George Washington that the records created by the president or his staff while in office remained the personal property of the president and were his to take with him when he left office. The first presidential libraries were built on this concept.

    NARA successfully persuaded presidents to donate their historical materials to the government for housing in a presidential library managed by NARA.

    The Presidential Records Act of 1978 established that the presidential records that document the constitutional, statutory, and ceremonial duties of the president are the property of the United States Government. After the President leaves office, the archivist of the United States assumes custody of the records. The Act allowed for the continuation of presidential libraries as the repository for presidential records.

    The Presidential Libraries Act of 1986 also made significant changes to Presidential Libraries, requiring private endowments linked to the size of the facility. NARA uses these endowments to offset a portion of the maintenance costs of the library.

    To read the criteria in the Foundation's Request for Qualifications and see the site selection timeline, go to: For up-to-date information about the Foundation and President Obama's future library, visit, or follow @44Foundation on Twitter.

    • Story compiled with files from the Obama Foundation