Kings County Library Changes Needed Essay

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Kings County Library system is one of the more impressive and expansive library systems in the United States. It boasts dozens of locations and thousands upon thousands of books, magazines, journals and other resources. However, it has become clear in recent months and years that the basic form and function of the library is not what it could or should be and the modernity and selection of the facilities is starting to falter. The patrons of the library system have made notice of issues that they see and the same is true of the people that work for the library themselves. Meetings and other operational activities are handled in a haphazard and inefficient way and this has led to work not being completed in a manner that is consistent with what is possible and perhaps required and demanded given the public funds used to keep the system going. Throwing good money after bad, to use an expression, is certainly not a solution but it is has become clear that some measures need to be taken to make operations the best for the most people and conducted in a way that is amicable for as many guests and employees alike. Given all of this, it is important to plan improvements and refinements that will emerge over the next decade and restore Kings County to the upper echelons of customer service and knowledge, such as should always be the case.



One aspect of all of this that has become clear is that the problems are not hidden or hard to see. Indeed, when it takes an inordinate amount of time to get a new microfiche machine approved when one is clearly needed, that is a red flag. When requests and feedback rendered to the management of the library system can either be heeded or just get ignored with no feedback in the long run and it is a crapshoot as to which will happen, that is a red flag. There are just a few examples of the issue that have arisen and that need to be addressed. The larger goal and plan for the library is to prepare and move forward in a concerted and proper way for the year 2020. There are already a decent number of things that have been identified and there will surely be more as processes are corrected, tested, perfected and refined. Among the ones that are clearly on the itinerary, they are as follows:



• Inefficiency -- Since the Kings County Library system is in large part funded by the donations of the wealthy and the largesse of the public coffers, it is important that operations be handled in a way that balances utility and avoiding waste. There is a modest amount of money that could and should be spent to ensure that the proper expenditures are covered. It will be discussed what the proper balance and way of doing things should be when it comes to wasted motion and avoiding the same (Bartel & Harrison, 2016).



• Customer Satisfaction -- This has rendered in a number of ways. A good example is the video checkout system that exists. People like the facets of the system including the mail return option and the service in general. However, there is more than one title that is commonly in demand yet never available and the overall selection offered at this point is rather poor. In addition, there are other ways, mostly digital, that the library could offer that would allow for more consumption on demand, satisfaction for library patrons and perhaps even new and strong revenue streams for the library system. The customers and taxpayers are one and the same and they deserve to have a library system that is representative of the substantial investments that have been made (Miller, 2011).



• Reception of Feedback -- As noted earlier in this executive summary, the way in which feedback is received, considered and responded to is not done very well right now within the Kings system. Indeed, there are requests that get handled but that take a long time. Additionally, there are requests that are put forth and then eventually get forgotten about. This sort of inconsistency and lack of accountability needs to completely stop. Even if an idea is not financial reasonable or possible at a given time, all feedback should be given consideration with a straight "yes," "no" or at least a "we'll discuss further." If it comes to the latter, a firm date should be set as to when that discussion will take place.
It should not simply be forgotten about or swept aside. Defining how that paradigm should work and function is important (OGG, 2016).



• Consistency & Uniformity -- To state the obvious, it is simply not possible for all of the library locations to operate precisely the same. However, unless there is an overarching reason why similar situations should not be handled the same, then that is precisely what should happen. This relates to a number of important topics including how shelves are restocked, the opening and closing procedures for each location, the procedures used for administration tasks and beyond. This and more will be covered in more depth in this report (Mole, 2002).



• Media Selection -- As is noted throughout the material and feedback submitted for this project, the selection of videos that are available from the library is a good idea in theory but it has been underwhelming in its execution. There is certainly demand for the video library system in place but the selection is rather bad, per the customers, and the popular videos are always checked out. Rather than wait-listing people or otherwise allowing the status quo to take hold, things need to change. Additionally, the mediums and methods that are used can be expanded and in a way that benefits the bottom line of the library system itself (TAI, 2016).



• Accountability -- This one is related to the fact that some suggestions, ideas and discussions are falling by the wayside. Generally speaking, all ideas should be assigned to a discussing body or manager and full updates should be given as to when it will be discussed and what final decisions have been made.



• Transparency -- Because of the presence of taxpayer dollars and city/county governance within the paradigm that the Kings County library exists and operates in, it is important that everything that the client does is "above aboard" rather than being shrouded in secrecy. As such, it important that the proper announcements, information dissemination and money trail for the taxpayer dollars that are allotted are revealed in a timely and complete fashion. There are multiple methods and pathways to get this done and those shall be explained in this report's analysis section (TAI, 2016).
 

A Move Towards 2020

Inefficiency



Indeed, cutting corners will show in the product that is being presented. However, this can be done to excess. Conversely, it is important to not spend too much and have too much wasted motion going on. The arduous and wholly inefficient way in which meetings and conferences are done within the system is a sterling example of this. As with most things, there can and should be a balance between spending enough to do things well and right while at the same time not being wasteful when the money could be trimmed from the budget or at least better spent on other expenditures and endeavors. In looking at the recitation of what is currently going on, one of the big things that stands out is the way in which meetings are done. It would seem that people make a pilgrimage to the central office or whatever the designated meeting place happens to be whenever there is such a meeting. This is wholly inefficient and unnecessary. While there might be situations where an in-person meeting is the best way to go, it is simply not necessary to do it all of the time in the age of conference calls, Skype, webcams, Lync and so forth. As such, there should be a major shift towards doing either simple phone conference calls or using Skype/Lync to do meetings. Indeed, the latter allows for sharing of documents and presentations to anyone that can connect to the internet and thus connect to the meeting. Of course, there would be a cost associated with getting that software bought and installed. However, the money that stands to be saved, both by the library system and the people that are shuttling back and forth, would be substantial. It would also be wise to have a knowledge base and reposipority that people can share and contribute to. Thus, using Microsoft Onenote and Sharepoint (or a similar suite of programs) would greatly facilitate sharing and collaborating and would cut down on the amount of paper, physical handling of the same….....

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References


Bartel, A. & Harrison, A. (2016). Ownership vs. Environment: Why are Public Sector Firms Inefficient?. NBER. Retrieved 8 December 2016, from http://www.nber.org/papers/w7043

Miller, K. (2016). What Do We Mean By 'Customer Service,' Anyway?. Governing.com. Retrieved 8 December 2016, from http://www.governing.com/blogs/public-great/What-Do-We-Mean-By-Customer-Service-Anyway.html

Mole, G. (2002). Managing performance in the public sector (1st ed.). London: Routledge.

OGG. (2016). Establish easy feedback mechanisms for public services - Open Government Guide. Open Government Guide. Retrieved 8 December 2016, from http://www.opengovguide.com/commitments/establish-easy-feedback-mechanisms-for-public-services/

TAI. (2016). Definitions - Transparency & Accountability Initiative. Transparency & Accountability Initiative. Retrieved 8 December 2016, from http://www.transparency-initiative.org/about/definitions

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