Success Story

Learn how The FISH! Philosophy helped Cerritos Library to increase employee satisfaction and create an inviting atmosphere for employees and customers.

Cerritos Library

Cerritos Library is a municipal library in Cerritos, California. Recognized for its forward-thinking approach to serving the public, the library refers to itself as “the experience library of the future.” Cerritos Library employs a staff of 100 who serve about 3,500 patrons daily.


With a spectacular new facility about to open, Cerritos Library wanted to make sure its customer experience stood out as much as the building. The library knew the first step was getting the staff excited about their work and infusing the culture with passion and enthusiasm.


  1. Make the Cerritos Library staff as big a draw as the facility itself.
  2. Help employees learn to focus on the big picture versus each individual task.
  3. Make the work culture fun and engaging for staff and, consequently, the customers.
  4. Train the staff to be “on stage” and to “choose their attitude” at work.

FISH! Approach

Fascinated by how the attitudes of the fishmongers create a memorable customer experience, Cerritos Library knew FISH! was a natural fit. After training sessions, the staff quickly internalized the four practices and put them to work. Cerritos Library has a regular FISH! training session every six months, for new employees as well as those interested in a “renewal of spirit.”

Fresh FISH! Experience

During quarterly meetings, participants share how they made someone’s day and how someone else made their day. Cerritos employees have translated the FISH! principles into their own terminology; for example, “Make Their Day” is defined as “We are each others’ customers.” The library has launched its own comic strip to engage and educate customers, with life-size characters bringing the comic to life. In the morning briefing, staff members are given a chance to Be There for each other by talking about anything they need before customers arrive. Sometimes this briefing includes music and dancing to energize staff for the day. The library has added an outdoor café, complete with entertainers and karaoke evenings.


  • Steadily increasing employee satisfaction (10-15 percent increase).
  • Overall staff attitude has improved.
  • The staff gets as much customer recognition as the building.
  • Cerritos was selected by Reader’s Digest as the “Best American Public Library.”
  • Cerritos Library was named the “Experience Stager of the Year” by Experience Economy authors Pine & Gilmore.
  • A survey showed that of all Cerritos city services, the library received the highest level of customer satisfaction.
  • Reservable space at the library is booked every weekend for almost a year ahead of time.

“I had a gentleman walk up to me one day to thank me – he said, ‘When I come into this building, all my troubles go away. I feel at ease. Everything in my life seems better.”

– Don Buckley, Head of Support Services

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