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“Counting Opinions” (CO) is an instantaneous, continuous customer feedback system designed specifically for libraries. It provides libraries with innovative, comprehensive, cost-effective ways to measure and manage their customer satisfaction and performance data, including open-ended customer feedback, trends, benchmarks, outcomes and peer comparisons. ZSR Library has just become a beta partner for the product. Susan, Lauren P. and Kevin are soon to be in product install mode. To learn more about the product, I attended the CO Users group meeting held during ALA this past June. I must admit they had me when the discussion began comparing feedback forms and how they are distributed or left lying on the counter and how we hope someone will take one complete and return it. Mounted on our website, the CO survey lets the patron know continuously how interested you are in hearing their opinions. Patrons are prompted at random times to take a survey or offer input on a particular topic. You can create categories such as staff, services, facility and collections. The categories are created by each individual library. Feedback reports are available and searchable by categories. You have the ability to create notes, clarify comments, or track what you did in response to a comment or suggestion. You can tag comments by categories and rank them as positive, neutral etc. The feedback can be ranked as either high or low priority. However you can’t deliver a response to an individual because the survey is anonymous. I think CO will be good for us!

With all the focus lately on ergonomic assessment, the LAMA sponsored session entitled “Ergonomics in Libraries: Human –Centered Design for library Facilities” was of particular interest to me. Ergonomists seek to apply the knowledge about human capabilities and limitations to the design of facilities, workstations, equipment, tools and job. The design of our work space and the furniture we use affects our health, our safety and our productivity. How can we best manage all of these factors? Is it possible for workers and planners to speak the same language? Then, how can we afford to implement and redesign our workspaces? These are questions that all of participants in the audience seemed to be seeking answers for. The primary goal of human-centered design is to develop a workspace that “fits” the worker. Conducting a task analysis to understand current process and risks is essential to the evaluation. Here at ZSR, I think we would benefit from a refreshers course on ergonomic do’s and don’ts. I also believe it a good idea to incorporate some ergonomic training within our student orientation. Here’s a summary of some of the known activities that increase pain and the likelihood of injury:

•Handling heavy books 32%
•High repetitions 25%
•Using computers 18%
•Shelving books 18%
•Handling books co tenuously for more than 2 hours 15%

In June I was appointed for a two year commitment to the ALA Advocacy Committee. We held our first inaugural meeting during ALA even though our committee didn’t become official until the close of the 2008 conference. During our first meeting we spent much of the day deciding on a definition for advocacy. Here’s what surfaced: “turning passive support into educated action” or in other words, empowering people to take action on behalf of their libraries. Our committee’s charge is to support the efforts of advocates for all types of libraries; to develop resources, networks and training materials. I just may come looking for ideas so feel free to share any thoughts you may have on advocacy initiatives for today’s libraries. — Wanda