Lecture to explore the moral development of library service

Sometimes it’s good to bend the rules, says Karen Pillon.

Head of the access service department at the Leddy Library, she will discuss that principle in her free public lecture “No student turned away: Using Kohlberg’s six stages of moral development to inform a customer service model,” at 11 a.m. Friday, April 27, in room 302, West Leddy.

She draws on the theories of psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg, which trace how humans make decisions – progressing from a reliance on obedience to avoid punishment to a principled adherence to universal ethics. In her talk, part of the Librarian Research Series, Pillon will focus on stage five reasoning, which balances a social contract and individual rights.

“In essence, we want to say that the student is more important than the library rules,” she says.

“The idea is to look at every interaction and ensure that when students walk away from us, they are going to be happy.”

She says library staff may occasionally need to bend the rules in order to meet the needs of individual clients.

“We will explore how to make that culture change, so that staff are empowered to make decisions for the good of the student,” says Pillon. “We are knowledgeable about our library, but also about community resources. In the end, we want to get from answering no to being able to find a yes in every instance.”