March 17, 2018

Big News, Y’All!

This week we made a big – organizational and personal – announcement: I have been selected as CML’s new Chief Customer Experience Officer. The CXO, for short. Wow!

Let me be clear. I do not have an MLS. I have not worked in libraries prior to this gig. And yet, in my new role I will:

  • Broaden CML’s commitment to exceptional customer experience strategies by combining innovation with the best retail practices and digital applications.
  • Identify and implement an ongoing innovation and transformation effort through all customer service delivery venues: facilities, outreach, web, apps, etc.
  • Serve as the leader for all facets of our Public Services Department. All Public Service staff will report up to me.
  • Keep customers, branding and marketing strategies at the forefront for our Vision 2020 facilities program (our plan for new buildings over the next 10-20 years).

Talk about a bold vision! And yet this is exactly the kind of thinking that libraries will have to engage in to stay relevant. I was thinking of this today as I checked my inbox and saw an email from Kodak. Now there’s an industry that didn’t change fast enough. The world is changing around us so quickly that libraries must be primed for fast-paced innovation and a sense of urgency.

How lucky am I that I get to lead this effort at my library!? Honestly! I start on Monday, and already I have set up appointments to talk with four Chief Customer Experience Officers of major national companies to learn best-in-class principles that we can adapt.

The awesome thing about libraries is that we don’t have non-compete clauses, so I can share with you all I learn. And already I am deeply engaged in business plans for our key products (Homework Help Centers, Job Help Centers, for example) and Branded Facilities Guidelines that set consistent standards and expectations across all our locations.

When those are finished and vetted I’ll share them with you. Should be within the month.

If you want to know more about my journey to get her, email me or call me. In honor of the late, great Maurice Sendak: “Let the wild rumpus begin!”

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. Welcome to the world of libraries! I’ve been working with libraries for nearly 25 years and I love what you say about libraries having to stay relevant. It sounds like you have an exciting new position, and one that puts the customer (patron) at the center. That’s always a great plan! Congratulations to you and Columbus Metropolitan Library!

  2. Michael Thornton says:

    Wow Alison! Congratulations! It looks like an exciting position. Putting someone with a PR and Marketing background into a Public Services role is likely to make some (MLS-types) nervous, but I think its a great way to go. I’m pleased that moving the 2020 Vision Plan forward is a focal point of the position (of course I have a bit of an ulterior motive there given the time we spent on it).

  3. Christine MInx says:

    Congratulations, Alison!

  4. Tina Thomas says:

    Yeah! Great for you Alison!