You hold community nights for customers to talk to you and go out to where they are and try to hold conversations where it is most convenient for them. From all of this, you try to steer your library on the right course, paying heed to and responding to input.
But what are you not hearing? As with any healthy relationship, personal or public, you need to hear what’s not being said. What about the silence? What are people not telling you and why? How do you measure the silence?
First, recognize that there are two types of silence, actual and perceived. Actual silence is easy to understand—no one is communicating even though you’re listening and paying attention.
Perceived silence can be more insidious. That’s when your staff or customers are saying or doing something and you’re not hearing it because either you haven’t put the proper mechanisms in place for them to talk to you, or, more likely, because you’re ignoring the conversation.