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Library Policies Menu: Confidentiality of Library Records | Customer Service Policy | Display Cases and exhibits | Gifts of Materials Other Than Books | Gifts to Library | Internet Access Policy | Library Grounds Use | Library Use Policy | Lobby Use Policy | Meeting Rooms and Application Form | Patron Policy | Sales Policy | Security System | Unattended Children

Customer Service Policy

The Falmouth Public Library strives to offer excellent library services, which includes a quality facility and collection. The staff strives to provide accurate, efficient and courteous library service to all customers in light of the principles outlined below. The Customer Service Policy of the Falmouth Public Library is the foundation for all staff interactions with the general public. All library policies are interpreted in light of the principles outlined below:

  1. The Library offers the same quality of service to all regardless of age, race, sex, nationality, educational background, physical limitations, or any other criteria, which may be the source of discrimination.
  2. Customers are treated politely and with respect.
  3. Judgment calls are made in the customer's favor.
  4. When a staff member is unable to comply with a request, the customer will be offered a n alternative.
  5. Staff members are familiar with library policies and are able to inform patrons about them.


Each staff member is a representative of the Falmouth Public Library and is expected to act in a friendly, helpful manner, which ensures that the customer will walk away felling that his/her experience at the library was a positive one. A friendly, helpful attitude ensures a positive experience even when the message conveyed is not a pleasant one.


The needs and requests of library patrons will be taken seriously and treated with respect. Equal consideration and treatment will be given to users in a non-judgmental environment.

All interactions and transactions with the customer or groups of customers will be considered confidential and will be discussed only in a professional context. Such matters include, but are not limited to, registration information, materials selection, loan transaction records, reference questions, and requests for materials. Discussion of confidential patron issues will be handled discretely, preferably in non-public areas.

Staff members will not offer personal opinions or advice in answers to customer queries.

Positive Operating Procedures

  1. Be punctual. Service commences at the advertised time the library opens and full service is available until the time the library closes. Phones are answered and all work stations manned promptly at opening.
  2. Answer the phone in a pleasant manner, identifying the library and department. A "Good morning, Good afternoon" or "May I help you," is an appropriate greeting.
  3. Smile and greet the patron. If you are busy with another patron, acknowledge the patron who is waiting and explain that you will help the new patron as soon as you can.
  4. Look up and around periodically. Being helpful to the customer is the highest priority. Customers may be unfamiliar with the library and its systems, so be aware if someone needs help.
  5. Keep annoyance and impatience from you voice. Conduct transactions in a helpful, pleasant manner.
  6. If any staff members or volunteer is unsure of handling a questions, he/she should respond to the patron with "Just a moment, please. I will get someone who can help you find the information you are look for." If possible, when referring a patron to another staff member, ask the staff member to help the patron instead of leaving the patron to fend for her/himself.
  7. Be jargon-free when talking to library users. Avoid using library and computer jargon or acronyms, which would be meaningless or intimidating to the public.
  8. In some cultures pointing is considered a capital offense. Try not to point with your finger. Unless there is a line of customers waiting for service, escort the patron to the appropriate area or find an aide or other staff member to do so. Do not leave a patron to fend for her/himself. If you cannot leave your post, rather than point, try to describe the area where you are sending the patron.
  9. Keep conversations with other staff members to a minimum in public areas. Even though you may be discussing library business, to the public it appears you are socializing.
  10. Although the temptation to discuss or share difficult transactions at the public desk is great, such discussions will be limited to the staff area or private offices. Remember that the details of such transactions are confidential.
  11. When a customer has a complaint, listen in a courteous and non-judgmental manner. Refer to the appropriate library policy, and when necessary refer the customer to your department supervisor, the assistant director or the director.
  12. When a customer voices concern or disapproval of any library resource, hand them the form titled "Falmouth Public Library Statement of Concern About Library Resources," Located on the last page of the "Library Materials Selection Policy." (See attached).
  13. When a customer has a suggestion, or information to share, listen courteously and ask if he/she would like to fill out a comment care for the suggestion box.
  14. Serving the customer at the desk takes precedence over responding to an incoming phone request. Ask the caller to hold, or take the number and call back when you are through serving the patron standing in front of you.
  15. Respond to telephone message as soon as possible.
  16. If there will be a lapse of time before you can obtain information for a telephone customer, ask the patron if you can call back.
  17. When possible, accept personal phone calls away from public areas.
  18. Parking in the library lot and in front of the main entrance on Katharine Lee Bates Road is for library customer use only. A few spaces along the street, beside and across from the staff entrance, are available for staff parking. Staff parking is provided in the town parking lot and a limited number of reserved spaces are available beside the staff entrance.
  19. In the event of an accident involving a customer or an employee on the job, staff will obtain the person's name, address and telephone number as well as a description of the accident. If possible obtain the same information from witnesses. Accident forms are found in the money drawer at the various circulation desks. (See attached)
  20. Staff members passing through or working in public areas are available for customer services. If you do not have time to assist the customer, find another staff members who can help.
  21. Keep your voice low when in public areas and talking on the telephone. Discussions with patrons are confidential.