Lessons from Disney

I’ve spent the last two weeks in Orlando, Florida and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have been across to the States before but it was a few years ago now and I visited Washington DC, Boston, and New York City. Visiting Orlando was very different, everywhere was very flat and things were definitely a lot more tourist oriented.

As this was purely a personal holiday, you may think its unlikely that I can relate my experiences at Disney to my work in an academic library. However, something which really stood out to both myself and my partner was the excellent service we received in most places, but particularly in Disney. All staff (or “cast” as they’re referred to at Disney) were attentive and they were all working to the same objective – to ensure everyone enjoys their experience.

We also visited the Kennedy Space Centre. Apparently, if you ask any member of NASA staff there what their job is they will respond with “My job is to put a man on the moon”. I don’t know how true that is but I really like the concept. Whether a member of staff is a director or a cleaner, they ultimately help work towards the same goal and I think that’s great. It’s something which I think we can all learn from – in libraries, our main role is to satisfy our customers and help ensure they receive the information they need to. That’s a shared goal for all staff, wouldn’t it be great if we were all working towards that goal as a big picture rather than focussing on tiny details of our job roles which can sometimes take over our focus?

At Disney it’s all about the customers and I think that’s something that I will take back to work with me, to try to ensure that our users needs are considered and try to make their experience of the library, whether it is physical or virtual, the best it can be.

Something else which I love in America is how staff say “You’re welcome” after you thank them, I’m going to bear that in mind next time a student thanks me for helping them. It’s such a minor thing but as long as it is genuinely meant, it’s a nice thing to hear.

All in all, I was very impressed with America, and I think my partner would emigrate in a second if he could take all our family and friends with us!

If anyone is interested, there are loads of photos of Florida in my Flickr account.