Daily Archives: August 30, 2012

Engage Your Millennials

Recently my wife and I have been frequenting some new establishments, as well as some old ones we haven’t frequented in quite a while. The reason I mention this is because it struck us that we are experiencing more Millennials in these retail establishments and they are very friendly. They are gregarious, open, engaging, articulate and sincerely interested in being helpful. I could even say they seem enthused about their jobs. Overall this makes the establishment more inviting, someplace that one enjoys going to get their services, and the level of service is noticeably better in these places. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with every establishment and all Millennials, but the good ones seriously shine.

Still not getting my point? It’s more perspective about The Perception of Your Library. A few months ago I visited a library for a conversation with the director, and I was greeted by the person behind the front desk as if I was a relative she hadn’t seen in a long time. The greeting was so sincere and enthusiastic, it made me quickly question whether I knew her, or she knew me. I was pretty sure not. The feeling that kind of greeting gives a library customer is one that makes them want to be there, and want to come back. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t a Millennial, but the Millennials I’ve run into lately have given us the same feeling – they are sincerely happy that we are in their establishment.

One place we recently ‘discovered’ was an Italian deli, because someone recently exposed us to the less familiar but more delectable elements of Italian cuisine. Our exploration has led us to be more adventuresome in trying new dishes and ingredients. The most recently impressive Millennial we encountered was extremely helpful in answering our questions, offering us samples, explaining the uses of the ingredients, and even interested in our ‘story.’ She told us her name and proudly announced that she was “The Cheese Monger.” She asked our names and expressed how pleased she was that we had ‘discovered’ them, asking us to come back soon. It was a very pleasant and beneficial experience, and we definitely will return – soon.

In my Post of February 17, 2010, “21st Century Library Customers – Generation Y, the Millennials“, I reported – among other characteristics – that;

Millennials are typified by their use of instant communication technologies, are also somewhat peer-oriented (which means they prefer the opinions of anonymous peers to that of ‘experts’), are into expression and acceptance, are more culturally tolerant than previous generations, … They like to work collaboratively, and prefer to shape their jobs to fit their lives rather than adapt their lives to the workplace. … They also believe in “doing” as opposed to “learning to do”.

In light of my recent personal interactions with Millennials, I think I can interpret those observations as meaning they are very good at engaging with customers, creating that welcoming atmosphere, promoting teamwork in the workplace, and showing a dedication for their work and organization that inspires their customers with the desire to return.

They are the perfect people to create a perception of your library as;
“The Place”

Thank you Steve,
It is easy enough to forget the positive aspects of working with Millenials, and your observations are apt reminders of that. We have an ongoing collaboration with a city-wide summer youth employment program, and begin an internship program for aspiring librarians in collaboration with our community high school in the fall. Both exemplify the possibilities of engaging with young adults in positive ways and moving beyond stereotypes. I’d be happy to share the details. Anyone who would like the proposed curriculum for our collaboration can e-mail me at bfarwell@otis.lioninc.org


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