How Much is a Smile Worth?

For a lot of librarians (and especially RIPS members) customer service is a major focus of the job. Even so, sometimes you see something that illustrates how important that is. Recently, I visited a law school in another city for the first time. That morning I was reminded of the most important interaction any service professional has with a patron – the first one. In the briefest of encounters, the entire culture of an institution can be seen in a microcosm, and the impressions made can be lasting ones.

That morning, as I awaited my meeting, I watched the students as they entered the building to start their day. For security purposes, students had to wear badges and walk past a reception area. The weather was gray and windy, the hour early, it was Friday the 13th, and the stage was set for student moods to match. However, that wasn’t the case, and the reason was the person sitting at that reception area. She smiled, greeted the students with genuine enthusiasm, and moods visibly lifted in the scant seconds that transaction took. It was inspiring to see, and, in a time when it’s increasingly important to show the value of personnel, I can’t imagine an electronic alternative to that human element.

Robb Farmer, RIPS-SIS Chair
Faulkner University Law Library

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