Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Call Is Coming From... INSIDE THE LIBRARY!


I'm a brand new library director. That means I'm learning and doing and seeing lots and lots of new things. Even though these are, indeed, "new" things, most aren't really surprising. I'm making budget projections and writing policies and visioning... par for the course. Of all the things that have come up in my just-over-a-month of being a director, though, the one that surprised me most (but probably should have surprised me at all) is this: the seemingly never-ending stream of cold calls from vendors.
*ring ring* 
Me: "Parker Library, this is Jessica speaking. How may I help you?" 
Them: "Hi, Jessica, this is Joe Shmoe from XYZ Database Company, and I'm calling to tell you about our fantabulous products. In fact, Fantabulous Database A is especially suited to schools like yours..."
No matter how quickly I can get a word in edgewise to let them know I'm not interested at the moment, I still lose at least 10 minutes as a result because it takes time to bring my focus back on line. Irritating to say the least.

Here are two things I know about these interactions: A) These salespeople are really just doing their jobs; and B) I need to save my energy for more immediate concerns and am not even vaguely interested in adding new products right now.

It took me about a week to figure this out, but here's a math formula that has helped: A + B = I don't answer my office phone if I don't recognize the number.

If it's important, I know they'll leave a voice mail (and personal friends will follow up with a call to my cell if they really need me). Heck, with vendors, most times they'll leave a message AND send me an email. I do read these emails and/or save them for later. I know I'm going to want to expand this library's electronic holdings to better support the curricular and research needs of the community and, despite 10 years in the industry, I know I don't know all the possibilities that exist.

So that's my "learn from my experiences" share for the week: you are not required to answer your office phone. Voice mail is a lovely, lovely thing. Now if I can just figure out how to avoid the calls that are transferred to me from other parts of the campus and disguise themselves as internal calls...


  1. I'm interrupted constantly anyways, so that doesn't bother me, but I find pushy salespeople annoying. I say "we're not interested" and hang up. Not surprisingly, I have gotten our library crossed off quite a few sales lists apparently as we no longer get calls from people who have been transferred to me...

  2. Hilarious! I have the same problem. Worse still, half our campus is on voip while the other half is not. Caller ID rarely works.

    My solution: At the end of my phone message I have a statement that's directed at vendors. Something to the effect that I do not consider proposals over the phone and that they need to e-mail them to me.

    Solves 90% of the vendor calls.

  3. This happens to me as well at my elementary library. I've asked our school secretary to not let these calls through but she says sometimes they use my name and mislead her. There is nothing better than rushing for the phone (which I do answer because it can be important like the school nurse calling for a student) only to find out a vendor on the other end of the line!