A Staff Development Tool

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by Shirley Biladeau continuing education consultant

Libraries are going through an amazing transformation, introducing non-traditional services that go far beyond traditional reading and books. We are rapidly introducing new programs, digital services, and makerspace technology offerings. How can we possible expect staff to keep up with all of the changes unless we take a structured approach to address that situation?

Library training and even formal library education is struggling to keep pace with new “Internet” and digital transformations. If we expect staff to learn all of this on their own, in an informal and unstructured manner, it’s simply unrealistic. Doing so places staff in a precarious position for serving patrons, and limits their personal job success. Given part-time positions and high turnover that libraries typically suffer, this is a particularly pronounced problem. To provide the best service to our patrons, we need to first ensure staff receives the training and support they need for success in this rapidly changing library world.

One solution is to track the skill level of staff using an easy-to-build training matrix spreadsheet. By filling in staff names and the various devices or competencies needed to operate in various library roles, we can quickly size up the areas where we need to introduce higher skills through training or staffing modifications. This simple, but formal skills/training creates a visual map for keeping staff current with technology. To view a sample training matrix that was created for the Meridian Library District unBound Tech Center, visit: -- http://libraries.idaho.gov/files/unBoundTrainingMatrix_0.xlsx. The matrix can be modified for any job role or location, for your individual library needs.