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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

RA for All Roadshow Visits Skokie Public Library-- Recommending Reading With Confidence: A Primer for All Library Staff

Today I will be providing in-service training for the public desk and bookmobile staff of the Skokie Public Library. I am excited for this opportunity for a couple of reasons-- two of which are helpful to every single person out there reading this too.

The first is purely selfish. I gave many friends at Skokie, including my former fearless leader and partner in crime at the Berwyn Public Library, Kathy.

The second is worth talking about in detail. Skokie wants to make RA training a priority for all public desk staff at their library, but they did not want to close the library to patrons for the entire day. So, they came up with a solution and asked me to help them make it a reality.

I am providing 2 sessions of a 3.5 hour training to their staff today. It is the same training but with 2 different audiences.  All total, over 40 staff members will come through the training today, without the library having to close it's doors to patrons for one minute. I have to say, this plan impressed me.

I love this idea so much that I want to mention the brilliance of it to all of you. Many libraries now ask me to come and offer half-day in-service trainings on Friday mornings for their entire staff. This allows them to close only for their slowest morning and reopen at 1. But while this is less inconvenient to patrons, it still involves closing your doors-- something every public library tries very hard not to do.

Instead, Skokie has organized their entire staff to make BOTH patron service AND staff training a priority. Any interested staff were encouraged to sign up for my training. They were placed in a session based on scheduling issues, while behind the scenes staff are helping by covering any desks that need help because of staff attending the training.

I would like to suggest you consider this option for your library, whether it is me or someone else you bring in to train your staff, this is a great way to work extra continuing education into your schedules. It also allows for this niche training to happen more easily.

As I start to schedule my 2016 appearances in earnest [by the way, spots are filling up fast], think about this option for your staff.

Now here are the details about today's training for the Skokie Staff and for those of you who like to play along at home. Details for all recently past and many upcoming programs can be found archived here: 
  • Skokie Public Library Staff Training-- Recommending Reading With Confidence: A Primer for All Library Staff-- December 8, 2015
    • Two Half Day RA Training Sessions Options: 9-12:30 or 1:30-5 [same program 2x]
    • Part 1: RA for All: From Pages to Directors, this program is aimed at any staff member in the library who interacts with patrons. Being able to provide good RA service from any desk in the library will help staff communicate effectively and ensure satisfied patrons. Using her “Ten Rules of Basic RA Service" as a guide," Becky Spratford will show you how to help any patron find their next great read. It's not as hard as you think.
    • Part 2: Booktalking: Harnessing the Power of Sharing Books with Patrons: Booktalking is at the heart of what we do with patrons each and every day at the public library. Whether we are sharing books informally at the services desk, presenting a prepared list of books, or posting information online, talking about books is something we do each and every day. It is a core service, but it is also hard to teach. Booktalking is more of an art than a skill, but with the right guidance and some practice, it can go a long way toward engaging your patrons and re-energizing your staff. Join experienced Readers’ Advisory Becky Spratford as she shares the secret behind delivering great book talks, giving you tips and tricks you can begin using right away to hone your own skills. Rediscover the power and joy that comes from sharing books with patrons.
    • Part 3: Creating Your Own Reader Profile and Wrap Up: Becky will end the training helping you take what you have learned to craft your own personal reader profile and start you on your first RA journey-- suggesting a good book to a fellow staff member.
    • Also mentioned [for your reference]: Demystifying Genre webinar recording for RAILS
And finally, for those who have had me out for training before-- yes I know I say we suggest, not recommend in the RA world, but I liked the alliteration in the title. Don't worry, I will address the discrepancy in the title and Rule 2 in my 10 Rules of Basic RA Service very early in the talk.

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