It is never easy to lose a print resource and some of our patrons can take it pretty hard. Additionally, telling them that it is available online often only adds to their frustration.
As librarians, we understand all factors involved:
- The online version is available at all our branches and in most cases at home for our patrons.
- Being good stewards of the public funds we don’t want to pay for a print AND online version.
- Some publishers are ceasing to publish in print so we have to purchase the online product.
- Online products are updated more frequently, which means better information than the print version.
- The online version can’t be stolen or vandalized
If you are helping a customer who is frustrated with the loss of a print resource turn the exchange into a sales pitch for library services. If you sense that the customer is not ready to learn to use the online resource, offer to do it for them.
Turn this into an opportunity to build a connection with your customer. Tell them that you would be happy to print out whatever they need for them. Give them your business card. Tell them about the Book A Librarian service. Make it a regular date!
Don’t be too quick to slip into Library Literacy mode and “enable” them with User Education. Let that come with time. Start off by offering to do it for them.
In my experience library customers like to have a point of contact, someone they know and who knows them. Once you have that familiarity with a customer, once they have seen you do it for them a few times, they might just be ready to learn to help themselves.