NLS on the Move

July 29, 2021

The latest on our new initiatives


Great customer service starts with our network librarians

Earlier this month, a patron asked Anne Mandel of the Macomb Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (MI1M) for help finding a digital audio copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. But not just any copy: he was searching for the one narrated by British-born actor George Rose in 1949. The patron had enjoyed Rose’s recording years ago, when it was available from NLS on disc and cassette. But the recording hadn’t been digitized and wasn’t available on BARD.

So Mandel emailed NLS. “He says no one can compare to George Rose, who [he] says gives life to Treasure Island, and he would dearly love to have this version,” she wrote. “Is there any advice on how our patron can get a digitized copy?”

Alice O’Reilly, chief of the Collections Division, asked the Multistate Center East for a copy of the decades-old disc or cassette. “I just expected them to send it to us, but they did even better and converted it to digital themselves,” she says.

George Rose’s version of Treasure Island is now available on BARD as DB18121. And NLS has a very happy patron in Michigan.

“It all started with this excellent customer service by Anne, who listened to a patron request and said, ‘I’m going to take the next step and see if NLS can help,’” O’Reilly says. “She forwarded it to us, which allowed us to find out about this easily fulfilled wish and meet it quickly.”

Another recent example: Julieta Fox, a librarian at the San Francisco Public Library’s Talking Books and Braille Center (CA1C), asked NLS for help finding a Spanish-language version of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Kelsey Corlett-Rivera, NLS’s Foreign Language Librarian, found a copy of Así habló Zaratustra through one of our Marrakesh Treaty partners, WIPO’s Accessible Books Consortium, and within two weeks it was up on BARD (DBG16733).

It’s that kind of customer service that leads to satisfied patrons who stick with NLS.

“Since we don’t have direct contract with patrons, our network librarians are the first step in the process,” O’Reilly says. “Every phone call the network libraries get, they have that opportunity to create an amazing experience for patrons. They can be the difference-makers—not just for the patrons but for the capacity of NLS to serve people.”

If you have trouble finding a book or hit a wall in fulfilling a patron request, email [log in to unmask] to get in touch with O’Reilly, Corlett-Rivera and our other collection librarians. They’re eager to help. “We want to support the network libraries in their effort to provide the best possible service to patrons,” O’Reilly says. “If we can help, we absolutely will.”

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Reminder:  If you haven’t already, please be sure to send the names, titles, and contact email for one or two staff members at your library who work on outreach and public engagement to participate in our upcoming small group discussions about outreach resources and strategies. We’re planning our first meetings for later this summer on the topic of print and collateral resources. Email Kristen Fernekes at [log in to unmask].


Watch for the next issue of On the Move in your inbox on August 26!