Monday, August 01, 2005

Outside the Book - W.O.W.!

Here's your terminology fix of the week: price - "The formal ratio that indicates the quantities of money goods or services needed to acquire a given quantity of goods or services." In other words, price is an exchange of something for something else (usually money in exchange for a good or service).

In library land, we may not think about how much our services cost since patrons don't often hand over cash to receive our services, but this doesn't mean that our services are "free" for them. Sure, there are indirect costs that students pay for with tuition and community members pay for with taxes, but there are other direct costs too. A major cost that stands out to me is time. Patrons have to give up valuable chunks of their busy schedules to make the extra effort to consult a librarian. Consider too that there may be psychological costs involved. It's not always easy to aks a question and admit you don't know something. Sometimes patrons have to step out of their comfort zones to approach us. Any other prices come to mind?

As you think about your service offerings, try thinking about whether your services are at the right "price" for patrons. Are they getting their time's worth? Can you think of ways to lower your prices by delivering your services in a more timely manner at the place of need, or make your services more welcoming so that patrons get more "bang for their buck"?

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