Today I am taking a road trip to Green County Wisconsin to help train the library workers of several staffs and even a few of the area school librarians.
While I love speaking at all in-service days because I am able to impressed upon the entire staff of a given library the importance of RA as a way to energize, inspire, and encourage the entire library staff, I double heart when I am able to do these combined training sessions for a few key reasons:
- There are over 12,000 public libraries in America. The vast majority of those are tiny. They cannot afford-- both in dollars and in number of staff-- to do the same things that the showcase huge libraries are doing. BUT, every one of these libraries can serve their leisure readers to a very high level. It is a core service. This is an area in which any library can start to shine with little more effort than having me to come in and give them some direction, and, more importantly, a pep talk.
- While I keep my rates down as much as possible (remember, this is my job), it is not free to bring me to your library. I have a speaking fee, but also there are travel costs that need to be covered. By combining forces, smaller libraries can share the cost of bringing me out.
- Back to the first bullet, small libraries can do more by working together to serve all of their patrons. Beyond the cost savings, they can split the load of the work. In fact, I structured today's training to specifically address this.
- Often, staff are so busy in small libraries, that they have little time to leave their buildings and actively converse with their neighbors. Sometimes, you don't even know that, for example, the library down the street is doing great things with graphic novels and you are behind but have a growing interest. Well, instead of scrambling to catch up, you could enlist their help--- if only you knew. When you bring the staffs of different libraries together, there is much to be gained by everyone.
That is why I love doing training sessions with the staff from multiple libraries, but specifically with this training, the fact that they also invited a few local school library media specialists is brilliant. This takes the last bullet point up a notch. Well done Green County.
To help encourage their next level thinking I wanted to also provide the link to RA for All: The School Library Edition. Please note, I gave this talk for the first time in December 2015. It has not been updated since. But it will be due for a major overhaul this Fall when I will be presenting it at the ISLMA pre-conference. Please consider inviting the local school librarian to your next public library in-service though.
Thanks to the Libraries of Green County Wisconsin for inviting me. I can't wait to get started later today. Below is your specific schedule with links to slides and handouts.
But first, for all the rest of you, I have a question-- What are you doing to improve your service to patrons? I'm not saying everyone should hire me because different libraries have different needs, but you need to do something.
Green County [WI] Half Day RA In-Service Training- New Glarus [WI] Public Library: April 28, 2016