From the Director: How Are We Doing, Really?

Maybe you’ve heard about KDL’s new quality standards achievement project. I want to tell you what this “multi-year effort to document performance strengths and gaps against national indicators of excellence” means to you.

First, it means simply that we want to always be doing better. Our patrons and the library industry have told us we do a great job, and now we’re asking a third-party organization, the Michigan Quality Council — a 19-year-old organization that helps businesses and organizations improve their products and services — to weigh in.

KDL is the first public library in Michigan to engage their review process. Why? Ultimately, the process will address whether we’re giving you, the taxpayer, the most for your dollars.

The effort will help us answer questions such as, are the materials we’re buying and circulating truly what our patrons want? Which of our programs reach the greatest audiences and do they align with our strategic plan — for instance, to promote early childhood literacy? Are we buying enough eBooks to meet the growing demand?

It will also measure whether we are doing all we can to build and maintain an effective team, and that we’re training our employees in the areas they need to best be able to serve the public. One recent example was the training of our branch staff to help patrons use and troubleshoot eReader devices. That’s a value-added effort to put us ahead of the technology curve, something libraries have done so well for so long.

KDL is not the same organization we were 10 years ago, and we won’t be the same organization 10 years from now that we are today. In a nutshell, this voluntary effort will let us know whether we’re truly, measurably, meeting our goals.

These are questions we have always asked, but the MQC effort is a concentrated way to ensure we’re always asking the right questions. Having an outside group measure that is a way for us — and you — to really, truly know.

 

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Written by Lance Werner

Lance Werner

Lance Werner is the director of Kent District Library, the state’s second largest public library system. Before coming to KDL, he served as director of the Capital Area District Library in Lansing, and as Library Law Specialist at the Library of Michigan. He lives in Rockford, Michigan with his wife and four children.



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10 Responses to “From the Director: How Are We Doing, Really?”

  1. Nessa McCasey Says:

    Hi, just a quick note to say that consistently lately, your online payment system for paying library fines does not work. It takes me to the point of adding in my credit card, but then doesn’t ever finish processing. Makes me wonder where my credit card number really goes. You should probably check into this.

    Thanks!
    Nessa

  2. Lance Werner Says:

    Greetings,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns. I am extremely sorry about the difficulties that you have experienced with making payments on KDL’s website.

    We will look into this issue and try to fix the problem as soon as possible. Thank you again for bringing this issue to our attention and for using KDL.

    Best regards,

    Lance Werner

  3. Sara Says:

    I love the programs offered, as well as the e-book lending system. I also use the inter-library request system on a weekly basis and I’m impressed at how fast my requests arrive at my local KDL Walker branch. KDL is doing a great job!

  4. Sheri Says:

    Hi Nessa,

    I’m sorry for the delay in responding to you — I was waiting to hear back from the tech support team at the Lakeland Library Cooperative, as they are the ones that provide the online fine payment system.

    They have had a similar report to yours just one time before, and in that case, it was a very specific issue with a particular internet browser. The credit card charge did go through successfully, but the browser did not properly display the confirmation screen, instead showing a blank page. If you could please send the name and version of your internet browser to me at webmaster@kdl.org, I will pass this on to them so they can look further into this issue to see if this is the case for your specific situation as well.

    Also, please feel free to give us a call at any time if you have concerns about your fine payments or would like confirmation that the charge did go through successfully. You can reach our Patron Services Department at 616-784-2007.

    Thanks,
    Sheri
    KDL Webmaster
    webmaster@kdl.org

  5. Sheri Says:

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks so much for your comment! We appreciate hearing how much you enjoy our services :)

    Sheri
    KDL Webmaster

  6. Sheri Says:

    Hi Nessa,

    I did get a bit more information from Lakeland’s tech support team about some places on the online payment form that have tripped people up in the past:

    (1) All fields (including address) must be completed when prompted for credit card information. This information cannot be automatically pulled up from the patron account.

    (2) The credit card expiration date must be entered in the mm/yyyy format.
    (All 4 digits must be in the year field.)

    (3) Additionally, the “billing information” should be the name, address, zip code, etc. on the credit card that should be entered. This may be different than the information associated with the account on which they are making a payment (as in the case of a minor child).

    Again, just some things to check if you ever encounter issues in the future.

    Thanks,
    Sheri
    KDL Webmaster

  7. Melissa Says:

    Keep the E-books coming! But please do something about the search function; it doesn’t work for me so much.

  8. Sheri Says:

    Hi Melissa,

    We’re glad to hear that you enjoy our eBooks! I’m sorry that you’ve had problems with the search function. If you have any suggestions for how it could be improved, please fill out our Support Request form or email me at webmaster@kdl.org and we will pass them on to OverDrive, the provider of our eBook site.

    Thanks,
    Sheri
    KDL Webmaster
    webmaster@kdl.org

  9. Rebecca Says:

    I’m glad to see KDL is always seeking to improve. I also enjoy browsing the eBook selection, and I look forward to using that service more. Mostly I enjoy watching my children interact with librarians (well, usually), and come to share my devout love of books. Thank you for making KDL a wonderful (usually) experience.

  10. Lance Werner Says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for your comments and for using KDL! We are committed to providing you the best service possible.

    Thanks again,

    Lance