Readers of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram may have noticed our little library has gotten quite a bit of press lately. We haven’t been making front page headlines or anything, but we’ve been blowing up the popular “Cheers and Jeers” section, which for the unfamiliar is a dedicated print space for Metroplex residents to either shower praise on or throw shade at businesses, organizations, individuals, and any other tangible entities capable of receiving evaluation.
They say any press is good press, but I have my doubts. This man would likely disagree, and along the same lines, it was hard to see any good in our first appearance in “Cheers and Jeers,” a jeer that claimed BPL staff members never smile or seem happy to see visitors at the library. For an institution that exists to serve the public, that’s a pretty grave and upsetting grievance. While we feel we’re a collectively smiley, welcoming bunch, we regret that we came off as anything less to someone. As I’ve expounded on before in this space, nobody bats 1.000, but that doesn’t mean the whiffs don’t hurt you, our patrons, and they hurt us for hurting you (we don’t really want to hurt you).
Our public jeering had us lower than a rattlesnake in a lowrider (is that how that goes?), but just a couple of weeks later, redemption came when we landed on the right side of “Cheers and Jeers.” The cheer, which was clearly written in direct response to the jeer, came from longtime library visitors who claimed BPL staff “serve professionally with friendly smiles for everyone” and always make them feel “warmly welcome.” A few days ago, we scored another cheer from a man who visited the library regularly over the summer with his grandchildren. He lauded the staff for being friendly, courteous, helpful, and patient. These public pronouncements of satisfaction made us feel warmer than a rattlesnake who couldn’t be wearing any more clothes, and we are very much appreciative of the kind words.
With our cheers doubling up our jeers two to one in recent history, do we point to the scoreboard, walk away, and forget any of this ever happened? Goodness, no. This flurry of press the library has received has served as a reminder that we’re subject to scrutiny with every action we take and every interaction we have, and it’s on us to make sure that the people we serve are affected positively by those actions and interactions as close to all the time, eight days a week as reasonably possible. Whether we’re living up to that goal or not, we want to hear about it, which is why we make comment cards and a suggestion box available in our entryway. Every single suggestion/comment placed in the box is read by our director, and select suggestions, from library users ranging from very satisfied to anything but, are posted on our website for all to see, complete with responses from library staff members. We encourage you drop us a suggestion anytime.
Whether you’d like to take to the newspaper to publicly play Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator, make a submission to our suggestion box, or talk to us directly either face to face, by phone at 817-249-6632, or by e-mail, if you’ve got something to say to or about us, we want to hear it. After all, this whole operation is about you, so don’t let us forget it.