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The Fox Den Library


The Fox Den Library is an imaginary future library. The Fox Den is known in the entire city for its friendly service, and its personnel is asked to help in solving many kinds of problems. Tubs of recommendation materials, barrels of digital data, yards of travelling exhibitions, pounds of reading, and dozens of events – that’s what libraries are made of. Many things happen in the library during the day, too much for one person to handle. Therefore, there is a clear distribution of work in the library.


In a quandary, a friend is asked to help

The employees have different kinds of skills. Paul Pi works as a problem-solver and information service guru, George Organ-Grinder serves as a customer magnet and community master and Dorothy Dreamy is the queen of literature and a phenomenal story-teller. The employees are experts in many fields, they are not without resources – whether it be literature tips, finding out bus schedules or threading the top thread on a sewing machine. If they are faced with a more complex quandary, they ask each other to help.


Oulunkylä Library.

The secret of the teams is excellent customer service

In order to divide the work equally and maintain a high quality level of services, various teams have been established for the employees. As the Fox Den is quite large in size, there are several teams and they have their dedicated team leaders according to their speciality:

  • This is Leo Letterhead. He is the leader of the “Letter” literature team.
  • This is Bea Buns. She is the leader of the “Rascal” children’s team.
  • This is Brian Shiny-Buttons. He is the leader of the “Charisma” marketing and event team.
  • This is Marvin MacNice. He is the leader of the “Windows open to customers” team.
  • This is Rachel Remedy. She is the leader of the “Information service offers remedies for all troubles” team.
  • This is Mark Youthman. He is the leader of the “Misses and Misters” youth team.

Some of the teams are long-lived. Others are formed by analysing user communities and they transform to suit the current needs of the users. In addition to their other tasks, the teams do detective work: they gather clues and “shadow” customers, deduce users’ wishes and change them into functional services.


The whole in their minds

It is agreed in the meeting that team members must be familiar with the tasks of the other teams besides their own area of expertise. This way everybody has an overall view of the library’s services and they can easily cover for each other when necessary. Luckily there are fearless employees working in the library, who are ready to learn new skills and ways of working. It is a matter of honour in the Fox Den Library.

At the end of the meeting, the team leaders report the week’s events to Greg, Sofia and Walter. Together they make the next week a little bit better and make the troubles go away. Marvin and Bea say after the meeting that in their opinion all employees are involved in developing their own team, the Fox Den Library and the library network of the entire city. Others nod in agreement. All feel as if they are part of something bigger.

The Helsinki City Library will renew its organisation model – a new organisation model will be implemented in larger libraries in 2011-12.


Virve Miettinen

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