On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 8:01 PM, Andreas Orphanides <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> The right implementation is important for adoption, of course, but for a
> backup system to be helpful it needs to encourage compliance -- including
> things like having the backup folks available for monitoring, remembering
> to sign in / turn on walkie talkie / charge batteries, etc. This is
> definitely the place where we struggle. We have BOTH an IM-based
> beckon-help system AND walkie talkies for intra- and inter-departmental
> help requests. But it's very easy to not log into pidgin, to forget that
> there's a chat widget on the staff dashboard where you can page help, to
> not pick up the radio at the beginning of a shift. Does anyone have any
> ideas about how to make this stuff more natural and automatic? Are there
> lessons we can learn from the retail world that will help us monitor
> service points better?

Sure. If staff need a tool to perform an essential function (word
processor, email, web browser, calendar, telephone, in/out board,
whatever), communicate what is needed, provide training, expect them to be
responsible, and follow up when issues appear. Most retail outlets use
intercoms or walkie talkies to call people to service points. People who
consistently don't perform are released.

<rant>One thing that drives me batty about library culture is that it
encourages learned helplessness and accepts nonperformance. People have
different strengths, weakness, learning methods/curves, and preferences.
But staff should still be expected to master basic skills and procedures
that it takes to do a job on a daily basis.

If you treat people like responsible professionals, you'll find that they
are. However, if you set out the expectation that they're dumb and
incapable, they'll also oblige. Society at large figured out long ago that
it doesn't do anyone any favors to tell girls they're too helpless and
bubbleheaded to do math, anything mechanical, or anything technical so
don't worry about getting anything useful done. When will libraries quit
perpetrating attitudes that everyone else abandoned in the last century?
Nonsense like that holds us all back.</rant>

> Also, on some level, the most low-tech solutions can be effective. Right
> now the paging system that's had the best track records is this: one of
> those hardware store doorbells with a battery-operated button that signals
> a remote chime.

In the case at hand, we're talking about a building with 50-60 staff
members, 50+ student employees, and 3 service points. Wiring in different
chimes (RF doorbells are unlikely to work in a building of this size) from
each of the service points to reach all areas on different floors where
staff might be is going to an involved process that costs plenty. Besides,
they already have an intercom system but patrons complained when they
played a tone over it.