I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Friday, November 9, 2018

RA for All Roadshow Visits Antioch [IL] Public Library District

Today I am traveling 60 miles north of Chicago to participate in Antioch Public Library District's in-service day.

I will be providing the keynote for all staff in the morning:
9-10:30 am: RA for All: Readers Advisory belongs in every library, no matter its budget. The implementation of this vital service is the responsibility of every staff member-- from pages to directors, from those behind the scenes to the ones on the front lines. This program will remove the mystery behind providing great RA service. Using her “Ten Rules of Basic RA Service” as a guide, Becky Spratford will use your own love of your favorite books to show you how to help any patron find their next great read. It's not as hard as you think. But more importantly, you will learn why a staff that can harness the power of sharing a great read will become a stronger team and improve service to all patrons.
Then the staff will have time to have their department meetings until lunch. I will be visiting those meetings and providing specific guidance as needed or requested. Side note- I love the idea of staff meetings so early in the day. Usually they are tacked on at the end. As a former manager, I would have loved to have the staff meeting earlier, when energy was still high. 

Then after lunch there will be break out sessions. I am doing a long session where basically, the staff can ask me anything. Here is the gist but then I have more details below, because today's AMA is going to be different:

2-4:30 pm: Ask Becky Anything: Now is your chance to ask RA expert Becky Spratford anything about how to work with leisure readers. What are your fears, frustrations, and obstacles. Here are some examples of questions that have come up in this session previously: 
  • What is Your Biggest Genre Fear?
  • What’s Your Favorite Resource for Your Least Favorite Genre
  • How many books do you present a patron with?
  • What Are Your Best Time Saving RA Tips?
  • Good Sources For Readalikes For Very New Books
  • What Is The Genre You Wish Was Read More At Your Library? What Are You Doing To Try To Fix This?
  • What Is The Best Way To Train Staff Who Know RA Basics But Lack Confidence? Another question we didn’t get to but was similar and answered here-- When You Become The “Expert” How Do You Empower Others To Try Too?
  • What Do You Do When The Patron Has No Clue What They Want To Read Even After 10 Leading Questions? And How To Handle The “I Like Everything” Patron? Or The Patron Who Wants a “Good Story” But Refuses To Elaborate?
  • How Do You Deal With Impatience and Disappointment When Books Are Not Immediately Available?
Basically, the library administration wants staff to drive the specific training I will provide for those who do the most RA Service at the library. I will do begin with more basic questions and answers, but I also agreed to provide shorter versions of some of my most popular programs at a moment's notice.

To be honest, this was my idea. I realize that not all presenters are willing to give impromptu, unprepared programs, but I thrive on it. Being able to custom fit my training to the staff in front of me at the moment is my ultimate goal for everything I do. Yes, it requires me to be flexible and think on my feet, but they are paying me for my expertise, so I need to be able to demonstrate it on command. I love this idea and am happy to be flexible because this 2.5 hr slot can be filled by what the staff actually want and need to know.

Kudos to the administration at this library for empowering their staff to take control of their own training. I can't wait to see how this goes. We will be able to go into depth in the issues and areas where they specifically have needs.

In general I have found that being available for a full Q & A session when I am already somewhere for an entire day is a valuable experience for the staff and, honestly for me as I can learn more details about what is happening on the floor. I am able to work through problems they are having with them but also, encourage them to help each other. If I can get staff working together while I am there, they will be more willing to continue that practice after I leave. And working together is one of my 10 Rules that they will hear in the morning session.

I can't wait to see how everything goes today. Let's do this Antioch.

If you want me to come to your inservice day or library training meeting, contact me. All inquiries before 12/27/18 will be guaranteed 2018 pricing.

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