Monday, February 28, 2005

D-Day +1: Sunday 27th Feb 2005

The second day came and went with no major problems. The most serious was just the aircon breaking down, making the 1st and 2nd levels very stuffy. Luckily it was restored by 2.30pm and it definitely made things less hot (in all sense of the word) for the next 3 hours before we closed for the day.

Of course there's the usual lot of customers who gripe about this and that. Like the guy who complained about the keyboard of the Transaction Kiosk being too reflective and saying it was a stupid design etc. OK mister, your point has been made without making all that gestures. The poor Cyberguide was quite flustered. I told her to listen to the Message, not the Man.

The critical first-weekend is over. The team (with the help of all the support personnel on duty -- IT, customer-assistance, vendors and contractors etc) passed the test. I'm proudest of the Library Assistants. From just doing plain shelving and shelfreading (which was their typical job scope), they are now competent in performing circulation duties and in customer service assistance. Ask them if this was possible 8 months ago and they'd tell you "very difficult". Give them a few more weeks and I'd trust them to run the library alone without the Library Officers or Librarians around.

See, nothing is impossible if we have the right attitudes, coupled with systematic planning and quality improvements. It's the attitude, not the job title, that counts.

Ok, reality check: Following the re-opening, there's a whole list of issues and areas (IT equipment, work processes, physical infrastructure, collections) for corrections and improvements. No upgrading project is totally problem-free. That'll keep us busy for the next 6 months at least, on top of the outreach activities, programmes, class visits etc. that we have to do. As a library manager, one of the challenges is that with a major objective completed (i.e. the reopening), I have to ensure that staff don't get bored by routine work and inadvertently settle into a rut.

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