Saturday, May 15, 2004

Grooming Squirrel

Have just been thinking that as a librarian with a techie sort of title (Virtual Reference Librarian), I am really swinging towards the non-techie/human relationships/touchy-feely side of librarianship.

Motherhood will do that for you. I recently read a great book called The Tending Instinct by Shelley Taylor. Taylor talks about nurturing as a powerful instinctual force, and backs up all her theories with biological studies, mostly ones done with animals - did you know that a rat with a genetic tendency toward having hypertension can overcome that tendency if its mother licks and grooms it a lot in the early developmental stages? Now that's powerful. Came away from reading this book with the determination to be a licking, grooming rat. Or squirrel, as the case may be.

I also recently went to a workshop on effective teams, where the facilitator recommended a book called Fierce Conversations. I haven't read it yet, but she said it posits that every relationship succeeds or fails one conversation at a time. This has a lot to say if you apply it to customer service in libraries. We win or lose our patrons one conversation at a time, whether it be an argument over fines, a discussion over computer bookings, or a chat about a great book.


Blogger liz said...

I tend to agree with that one-conversation business. (At least as I understand it second-hand from your description!) I have always thought that we have a subconscious tally-sheet of a given relationship, and also a level of tolerance for being "in the red." When the relationship stays in the red longer than we can tolerate, we end up disliking it, no matter how wonderful some of those pluses were...

1:59 pm  

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