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Libraries are safe spaces where everyone is welcome.

They play an important role in local communities by:

  • Providing access to information and resources
  • Promoting education and learning

Many libraries are experiencing unprecedented challenges that are impacting the ability to achieve their purpose.


Here are 6 major challenges for libraries.


1. Dealing With Difficult Customers

A difficult or ‘angry’ customer can range from being mildly disappointed to completely outraged.

Situations with a difficult customer typically become worse when the Library does not have an effective issue handling process.

Staff should keep in mind that an angry patron is most likely not angry with you.


2. Lack Of Staff Motivation

A widespread issue that libraries are facing is keeping staff motivated.

Some factors that can contribute to lack of motivation in staff are:

  • Poor management
  • Unclear objectives
  • Workplace conflict

Statistics show us that offering staff regular training can increase morale and enthusiasm in the workplace.


3. Responding To Changing Technology & Increasing Customer Expectations

Many of today’s library users want tools that will allow them to access the right information to facilitate their research or education. And they count on that information being timely and up-to-date.

Customers expect libraries and library staff to be knowledgeable about modern resources.

This isn’t always the case, which can cause frustration for library users.


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4. Staff Lacking Awareness Of Information

Appropriate Information Management can help libraries to:

  • Manage their information
  • Realise its potential in a way that the intended users can understand
  • Make information easily accessible

Not having an adequate information management system in place, means that library users seeking information from staff find that their requirements are not being met.


5. Retention Of Librarians

The need to attract and retain quality leaders for libraries is a core issue.

Factors contributing to this issue are:

  • Increasing retirements
  • Less librarians entering the profession


6. The importance of Mental Health

The pandemic pressures placed on Australian customer facing workers include increased abuse and job insecurity.

Young women, casual and linguistically diverse workers being the hardest hit.

Smiling Mind’s 2021 State of Mind report found these groups are also experiencing higher levels of psychological distress compared to other Australians.

As a result, these groups – who make up over half of the retail workforce – have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic induced recession, with 56% of retail workers reporting an increase in customer abuse since 2020.

  • Focus on one task at a time

By trying to focus on one task at a time, you can allow yourself to mindfully complete that task to the best of your ability, which can create a sense of calm and even make simple duties meditative.

  •  Practice gratitude

Make a mental note of the little things that make you genuinely smile throughout the day – a colleague buying you a coffee, or a nice moment of connection with a stranger.

The little moments that bring us joy are actually what keep us going, like fuel to a car. 

  • Rest up

Practising mindfulness at work and outside of work is the easiest, and most helpful habit, that you can put in place to support your mental health and prevent mental injury. 


With the right training and processes in place, these challenges can be overcome, and Libraries can continue to deliver exceptional service to the community.


Contact the team at SPARKLE TRAINING today and find out how we can help you with a tailored Library Training program.


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