‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ Using Improvisation to Hone Library Employees’ Customer Service Skills


  • Emy Nelson Decker University of Alabama




Improvisation is an effective tool for developing actors’ skills. It is also a powerful tool for enhancing customer service skills in the contemporary academic, public, or special library environment. Interactions between library users and librarians / library staff can often be complicated and require excellent listening and communication skills. This article explores how improvisation training can help reinforce customer service skills while also enhancing team building, team cohesion, and interpersonal engagement skills for these library employees. Such exercises are not only enjoyable and entertaining for library employees, they also help develop essential skills which enhance their customer service interactions. 

Author Biography

Emy Nelson Decker, University of Alabama

Emy Nelson Decker is the Associate Dean for Research and User Services at the University of Alabama Libraries. She holds an MLIS from Valdosta State University and an MA in Art History from the University of Chicago. Emy's current research interests are centered on leadership and team building, professional development, and reimagining library services toward a greater focus on user engagement and the needs of digital thinkers. In addition to presenting in venues such as the American Library Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries, she has published numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters within the library field. Emy is also the co-author of Engaging Design: Creating Libraries for Modern Users and the co-editor of the Handbook of Research on Disaster Management and Contingency Planning in Modern Libraries.


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