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Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 12 - Day Eighteen - Train Station

Practicum Day 18
site: City Center
hours worked: 3
hours to date: 98

Today I spent a few hours with Jayne Gutry, the training and professional development coordinator for Auckland City Libraries. She'll be joined by a few others now that the councils have merged, but for now she was able to show me the programs she has developed on a wiki: You should check it out. It's public access and Jayne is more than happy to answer questions. I like that she developed the wiki to reflect her professional view of training which is that 70% is learning on the job, 20% is learning from others, and 10% is formal training. This has given some structure to the why and how of training tools and content she has developed.

Learning on the job
This section has exercises, called BeWise, that will either introduce or remind staff members about library services, for instance, databases. There is almost no way to know how to use every database to its potential, but customers need to have some confidence that we know how to help them find accurate information. Learning how to use a database in order to answer a question does not really accomplish this, so giving staff a manageable way to stay on top of them really helps. The BeWise format is smart. The three sections are: What is it/what does it do?, How does it help customers? and a few exercises.
Also collected are the tutorials provided by database companies themselves. In another stroke of not-reinventing-the-wheel brilliance, handouts and exercises that are part of all staff training, such as with roving reference, are compiled here so there's no need to worry about keeping your own copy.

But I think my favorite part of this section is the professional knowledge blog which gets its content from the evaluations of workshops attended by staff. So instead of going to a conference and saying, "I learned a lot of x,y and z" to managers, the blog keeps a record and opens it to any staff who care to know.

Learning from others
The working groups have a wealth of information that seems to covers more orientation or beginning training rather than ongoing professional development. But this is still important. I really liked the reference interview video challenge. Staff were challenged to create a video to illustrate the principles of conducting a good reference interview. Given two hours to write the script at storyboard, a number of departments entered a submission that was judged critically on set criteria, and also popularly. I'd vote for the popular winner too, Reference This!

Learning formally
The library association here, LIANZA, has a professional registration program based on core competencies that they call the 'Body of Knowledge'. Training done here in Auckland is related to the points in the BOK to help with this process. Staff can also participate in the Study Support Scheme which covers a 50% tuition reimbursement upon successful completion of coursework and up to 1 hour per week for study leave.

In general though, staff members receive training in this mode through workshops either created or organized by the training coordinator on topics like customer service, reader's advisory and web 2.0 skills.

in the staff room
hot chocolates today: 1
hot chocolates to date: 21

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