Recipient – Elizabeth Hunt, Clear Lake City-County Freeman

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Recipient – Elizabeth Hunt, Clear Lake City-County Freeman
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Elizabeth demonstrated her commitment to teamwork within weeks of starting at Freeman. She volunteered to assist with a Friday evening program that the Friends of the Library hosted to thank the library s larger donors. She went from casual Friday garb to evening wear in a matter of minutes and she helped greet donors and tell them about how their donations are used in the Children s Department.

Elizabeth also shows her team spirit in her active participation in planning for toddler programs. She regularly meets with other Children s staff to
plan toddler program themes and crafts months in advance. Within weeks of
signing on as a children s librarian, Elizabeth began planning monthly afterschool programs in art and assisting with choosing a selection of appropriate movies to be shown on a monthly basis.

Not content to work only on her own projects, Elizabeth offers to help other staff with their work. Recently, Elizabeth volunteered to assist with a weeding project for the whole picture book section. She also regularly pitches in by helping process new books when the staff members assigned to do the books are out.

Each of the Children s staff puts up monthly displays of children s books and other materials. Most of the displays consist of a variety of books
related to a theme targeting pre-school age children. Elizabeth s first
book display featured the series Time Warp Trio, which appealed to an older reading audience. Since that display, many other staff members have
designed displays targeting this age group.
Elizabeth also has added a sense of humor to displays by featuring an oversized boy doll dressed in costumes to illustrate her book display.
Recently, she dressed the doll as a construction worker to go with her display of books featuring big trucks.

Freeman tries to have special Friday toddler programs every few months.
Usually these programs involve booking a performer for several back-to-back performances. Within months of being on the job, Elizabeth recommended and implemented a successful gym day that brought in over ninety toddlers and parents. The gym day featured a series of fun athletic activities for the toddlers.

Another innovative feature that Elizabeth has added to the toddler programs is to use poems as well as easy picture books for the story portion of the program. She would like to see even the youngest children exposed to poetry.

Job Performance:
Elizabeth s performance as a librarian is top-notch she has a strong
knowledge of children s literature, she keeps up with the newest books and audiovisual items and programming trends and she routinely finds ways to improve the appearance of the Children s section.

When she s not answering a question from a patron, handing out a pair of headphones, or assisting with a copy machine problem, Elizabeth frequently is catching up on reader s advisory sites or looking for a craft idea for an upcoming program.

Almost every staff member who works with Elizabeth on the reference desk notices how she constantly finds ways to improve the appearance of the children s section by straightening up the audiovisual collection, adding more books to a book display or just clearing off some of the clutter that mounts up on any reference desk.

Elizabeth showed her tenacity as a leader when she agreed to serve as the representative of the Children s staff on the Library s Books Alive!
Carnival Committee. She began attending meetings in earnest in October 2006. She kept the Children s staff informed and solicited their input in the planning of the week of programs held during the week of March 12th 20007. Several committee members expressed how impressed they were with her professionalism and her organizational skills in coming up with agendas and putting together a chart that volunteers could use to sign up for duties for carnival day.

Elizabeth also shows leadership by assisting other staff, whether new or veteran, in using some of the technology of the library. She patiently showed a fellow librarian how to use a P-Touch machine several times in one day and she assisted new staff members in joining a library list serve.

Within a couple of months of starting in Children s, Elizabeth took on a monumental project of weeding the audiovisual collection, repairing items, ordering new items and coordinating a physical move of that collection.
Her diligence in this project has enabled the staff and public to find items easier and use the collection more often.

Elizabeth has served as a role model for several staff members in how to
approach difficult children. She tells them that she likes them and
wants them to stay in the Children s area, but lets them know that they need to change their behavior. This method has worked well for the library and the children.

Customer Service:
Elizabeth has a ready smile and a cheerful hello for every one she sees in the Children s Area whether she s sitting at the reference desk, fixing a book display or taking tickets for programs. Her friendly and enthusiastic
personality is always appreciated by our customers of any age.

Elizabeth goes the extra mile to assist customers. One time a grandmother came in looking for books to read to a 6 month old. Instead of just recommending a board book, Elizabeth went to a site specializing in resources for young children and found a list of books for that age. She
printed out the list and gave it to the grandmother for future use.

In conclusion, Elizabeth impresses library staff and the public with her professionalism, humor and enthusiasm. She just received a Master of Library Science from LSU last August and immediately started working at
Freeman Library one of the largest branches in the Harris County Public
Library system in circulation and children s programs. Even though Freeman has a dedicated Children s staff, including some who have received systemwide recognition, Elizabeth s work on this team shines out.

Blinking with fiery rage.
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On Saturday, October 13, approximately one year and one month after I received it as a gift, the moment I had been waiting for arrived:

My 360 abruptly jostled me from a gaming bender with ferocious crimson blinking; the segmented lights appearing as deep cuts into the very heart of the machine.

For those who don’t know, the 360 has a rather high "general system failure rate" that Microsoft acknowledged by extending each and every Xbox’s warranty an additional two years. This was done to avoid any messy recalls during this turbulent time of next-generation game console warfare between Sony’s Playstation 3 and Nintendo’s game-console-for-all Wii.

At first, I was ecstatic. Why, you ask? Well, gentle reader, my brothers had the foresight to purchase the console with an extended über-warranty from the Futureshop not two minutes from my home.

I had read the horror stories and tribulations, but was confident that my 360 would be swiftly and instantly exchanged by the friendly customer service staff.

Bracing myself against the elements, I tucked my beloved machine under my arm and headed to the surprisingly un-trafficed customer service line. Confidently setting the 360 down on the counter and producing my extended warranty plan, I proclaimed "red ring of death" while asking Jennie to scope out how many Xbox360s they had in stock, musing that if all they had were the upgraded Elite models, I’d just have to insist they replace my moribund machine with one of those.

The staff behind the counter looked at me and chuckled. Oh, they had received far, far,far too many of these crippled machines during the last year to simply do a swap anymore. They would be happy to fill out the paperwork and deal with Microsoft on my behalf. However, they looked at me soberly– as soberly as any doctor looking at the relatives of an ailing patient- and suggested that if I were to deal with the problem myself, it would be handled much faster.

Mustering up my most noble "hey, it’s no big deal" smile, I raced home and went online to search for Microsoft’s customer service number. By this time, it was 6:30 EST on a Saturday and I had resigned myself to the fact that I would likely not be speaking to anyone until Monday morning. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the number on the Xbox Web site said I could "call anytime".

Upon dialing, I was swiftly connected to a young man with a bit of Texas twang to his voice; patiently waiting for me to answer his questions as I berated him with mine– I’m in Canada, is this the right number?! Am I getting a new machine to replace mine that oozes red rings?!

He calmly asked me to run some tests and provide some information where he then informed me that I had indeed received a "general system failure". Microsoft was going to immediately courier me an empty box to ship back my Xbox to them. They would then courier me a "repaired, replaced or new machine" as deemed appropriate with 7-8 business days.

With a heavy heart, I agreed to this and proceeded to wait.

But I didn’t wait long! On Tuesday, I came home to find I had missed a package from Purolator and that I would be able to pick it up at a local Purloator centre by 5:00 p.m. that evening.

Over eager, I went in at 3:00 p.m. and asked if my package had arrived. The woman at the counter informed me that it wouldn’t be in until 4:30 p.m.

I said: "Great. Delivered AFTER the pick up for today’s shipments."
She said: "Not at all, we get a pickup at 6:30 p.m."

She looked at me again and asked: "Xbox?"

Shocked, I exclaimed "indeed, it was for my disabled Xbox."
She said: "bring it with you when you come in, we’ll pack it up for you and send it off for you."

"You get this a lot," I asked? She smiled. "Oh yes."

I came in later that afternoon and there was an additional staff member behind the counter. He grabbed my pickup slip, fetched my empty box, proceeded open it up, grabbed my Xbox and, with the assuredness of a Microsoft employee, asked me I had removed all DVDs, memory cards and hard disks.

He looked at me slyly: "I do this dozens of times a week. Maybe more."

I nervously smiled, hoping that these were all one-time affairs and not the serial replacements I had read about online.

Then I waited.

But again, not long! Today at 1:00 p.m. (Friday, October 19), I received a knock at the door and my Xbox360 was returned in fully working condition; the eye its usual "come hither" green brilliance, its CD drive making slightly less noise than before (at least, I believe it’s a different frequency of hum now, anyway). A letter accompanying the unit informed me that my replaced unit was a "refurbished" one, containing the latest production techniques. I’m not sure what that means, but it definitely didn’t involve grafting on an HDMI port.

Those MS folks even threw in a one month Xbox Live Gold membership card. Score.

I admit, I fell a bit prey to the very vocal horror stories I had read about the headaches associated with dealing with this issue and, yes, it shouldn’t have been an issue at all, but I wasn’t expecting this. I was very impressed with the whole process. Microsoft moved quickly and clearly didn’t want me to lose much time from buying the latest Xbox Live Arcade games and downloadable content.

I’d say the experience ranked very close to Nintendo’s recovery of our Great Wii Fiasco earlier this year and, in someways, may have edged them out by giving us something for our trouble with the inclusion of the membership card. Although, Nintendo sent us a working Wii immediately, before having us send back our lemon, so it’s a close call.

In both cases, this sort of customer service goes a long way to fostering goodwill and evangelism towards a company’s products (just look at all of these words!) and that’s going to make or break the victors of this generations console wars.

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