Monday, 19 May 2014

Why are all the AVRL branch libraries closed on Monday, May 26th?

Professional development in the workplace refers to the acquisition of knowledge and skills for purposes of both personal development and for career advancement.  The goal is that the opportunities serve to make staff more comfortable at their job, better at performing their duties, and therefore happier in the workplace.

Our annual Professional Development day, or Inservice, is on Monday, May 26th. This is the only day during the year when all staff are together for training and sharing opportunities.  Additional staff development takes place at other times, and in various ways, but this is the single day when all branch locations are closed and workers have the opportunity to share experiences and learn together.

What will we do this year?
-          Staff will report and share stories about Programming.  What programs proved popular with the public?  Why?  Why not?  Could this program succeed in another library location?  With a different age group? Another time of day?

-          OverDrive, our downloadable ebook and audiobook service, is well-utilized by the public and demand is growing steadily.   We’ll review both the basic service and any recent changes.  (We should note here that our expectation for staff is only that they are familiar with the basic downloadable service itself and that they can direct patrons to “Help” functions and documents. They are not expected to be technology trainers or support staff for the public's equipment.)

-          There will be a refresher on Catalogue Searching and the recent upgrades to the public catalogue.  We want to find everything you ask us for, and ensure we pass search tips and enhanced functions on to you as well.

-          Book Displays can be an important and enjoyable visual component in libraries.   At this year’s Inservice, staff will be supplied with ‘mystery boxes’ and challenged to create the best display!

-          Readers’ Advisory is the business of assisting library patrons with their reading needs. i.e “ I’ve read everything by Louise Penny! What can I read now?” Staff will share some tips and tricks of the trade.

-          Workplace Fitness is important for library workers too. We need to lift those heavy boxes of books, and shelve them, safely so our collective backs and knees will last awhile, and we need to stand or sit at our workstations in an ergonomically correct way.

-          Lastly, we’ll share some Customer Service experiences.  Most customer interactions are gratifying and we love what we do!  However, all library patrons are not created equal and, in the course of any given day, interesting situations like these can arise:   

            -The library user who regularly yells “Stop pressuring me!” when staff remind everyone that the library is closing shortly
            -The one who returns the wet and stinky book that has been signed out only once (to her) who claims it was like that when she took it out
            -  The homeless teen who slowly puts on his warm coat and boots at closing time on a January evening when the outside temperature is -10
            - A young mother who yells at her two preschoolers “Be quiet in the library!”
            -The gentleman who wants to download his first e-book and passes staff the unopened, plastic-coated box containing a new tablet
Sharing these trying, and sometimes sad, experiences assists us in developing situational best- practices.

That’s not a complete synopsis of the annual training day, but a sample.  So, what do you think?  Professional Development in order to serve you better?  That’s our goal, and we hope to achieve it on May 26th.

Wendy Trimper- Head of Branch Services

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