Customer Service Standards

Duluth Public Library Customer Service Standards

The Duluth Public Library places a high priority on ensuring that all people have access to library services and resources, and are treated with courtesy, fairness, and efficiency.

All library staff will uphold the following standards to provide excellent customer service. These standards are based on adherence to the Duluth Public Library’s mission and values, the Data Privacy Act, the Appropriate Library Behavior policy, and the ALA Bill of Rights.

Take responsibility for knowing, understanding, and consistently implementing library policies and procedures.

  • Know, follow, and enforce current library policies including emergency procedures and the Appropriate Library Behavior Policy.
  • Have a general understanding of all work areas in the Library.
  • Know how to use the City’s scheduler, Microsoft Outlook, and the library’s website; read minutes of meetings or emails in a consistent and timely manner; attend staff and work area meetings.

Take responsibility for upholding the confidentiality of records and intellectual freedom rights of all patrons.

  • Help patrons find what they are looking for without judgment and with respect for their privacy.
  • Attempt to select materials representing all sides of controversial issues.
  • Enhance your or others' understanding of intellectual freedom issues by attending workshops, reading articles, and sharing information gathered.
  • Maintain customer confidentiality regarding personal information requests or borrowing information.

Take responsibility for patron and co-worker interactions.

Acknowledge and serve patrons and co-workers equally, without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nation of origin, disability, age, literacy, culture, technical skills, personal hygiene, or any other characteristics.


  • Greet patrons and co-workers promptly and politely.
  • Present an approachable demeanor indicating the patron is the priority.
  • Assist patrons in the following order: patrons at the desk, phone calls, and then staff.
  • Acknowledge patrons or co-workers waiting for assistance.
  • Handle complaints with dignity, poise, and an open mind. Notify the supervisor when appropriate.
  • Rely on policy but give the patron the benefit of the doubt. Document exceptions and speak with supervisor as needed.
  • Whenever possible, lead person asking for directions to the area. If others are waiting, offer to check back with the person to whom you gave directions.

Take responsibility for customer and co-worker communications.

Make each interaction a high quality experience for the patron or co-worker by being knowledgeable, courteous, and responsive. 


  • If you feel an interaction will take longer than anticipated and lines are forming, you may summon staff who are not on desk to help.
  • Promptly and politely answer phone calls and direct callers to appropriate work areas.
  • When responding to a patron's call that is taking longer than anticipated, offer to return the call, getting patron’s name and phone number. If the patron prefers to be placed on hold, check back frequently.
  • Summarize the situation for a co-worker when transferring a call to another work area and give the patron the transfer number.
  • Read/listen and respond to patron and co-worker questions within three working days. If answering a question will take longer than three days, respond by acknowledging that you received the message and giving an estimate of when you will reply with an answer.
  • Sign (or initial) and date all correspondence.

Take responsibility to verify with the patron or co-worker that his or her needs have been met.

Follow through with patrons or co-workers to determine whether the assistance you provided was useful.


  • Check with the patron or co-worker and ask "Has your question been fully answered?" or "Have you found what you were looking for?" or "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
  • Rephrase a request or question back to the patron or co-worker so that both of you are in agreement as to what is needed.
  • If the answers you provided a patron or co-worker were not useful, offer alternative solutions.

Take responsibility for creating a cooperative work environment.

Work actively to blend differing work styles of staff for fair and courteous treatment, cooperative problem solving, and conflict resolution. Ask for clarification if needed.

Whenever possible, be flexible in adapting to scheduling, workloads, and work flow.

Seek and provide assistance to co-workers as the situation warrants.


The Duluth Public Library's policies are subject to change without notice.

Back to Policies

 Adopted May 2016
Duluth Public Library Board