Public Library Training Courses

Playing your part in the library welcome

A fast, practical and enjoyable course in active customer-care skills, specific to libraries. This course will help everyone who works in a customer-facing role develop the skills and confidence to take responsibility for customer engagement - and not just sit behind a welcome desk. Suitable for both public and academic libraries.

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  • Entry
  • Public libraries
  • Curated discussion
  • Self-assessed

Talking with patrons made easy

What do you say when someone asks you if the library has got any good books? A practical course to get you more comfortable with starting book conversations and more confident in making reading suggestions.  You don’t have to be a big reader yourself, or have masses of book knowledge, it’s all about learning to listen and using your patrons as a creative resource.

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  • Entry
  • Public libraries
  • Curated discussion
  • Self-assessed

Putting readers first

Understanding what readers need and how they choose is the basis for a fresh approach to connecting with your patrons. These ideas have been tried and tested in hundreds of libraries and they are easy to implement anywhere. Full of free downloads and great ideas for displays, programs and reader’s advisory, we guarantee this course will give you a new enthusiasm for your job.

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  • Entry
  • Public libraries
  • Curated discussion
  • Self-assessed

Engaging with readers

A course to help staff create a buzz in the library through deeper engagement with readers. Learners will develop their personal skills and confidence to start great conversations about books across fiction, non-fiction, different ages and tastes. Attractive downloadable resources enable readers to recommend to each other plus there’s a project to use what readers say to boost the popularity of the library.

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  • Intermediate
  • Public libraries
  • Personal feedback

Merchandising the bookshelves

Merchandising means displaying products so that they stimulate interest and entice customers to make a purchase. Libraries have nothing to sell other than ‘a good read’ but we can adapt retail techniques to boost performance and to help readers make fresh discoveries. This course teaches how to give those unloved shelves a makeover!

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  • Intermediate
  • Public libraries
  • Personal feedback

Creating powerful promotions

This course will give library displays and promotions some new bite! Staff will develop skills in targeting audiences and understanding reader motivations to support successful promotions which engage more deeply than the standard seasonal themes. Working across collection areas and age groups, learners will explore how to find readers for older books as well as new ones.

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  • Intermediate
  • Public libraries
  • Personal feedback

Managing first impressions

Learn to see through your patron’s eyes! This course develops skills in analyzing the library’s most important spaces then taking practical steps to improve the customer experience. Learners will build simple routines to sustain high standards and control the library environment.

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  • Intermediate
  • Public libraries
  • Personal feedback

Audience development

Explore different models and ideas to engage and grow the audience of readers at your library.  You will consider different ways of segmenting patron groups with diverse needs and preferences and how to target in order to reach a wide range of people. Starting from the reader will bring a new dynamic to your programs and the coursework tasks will enable you to experience this and showcase it to others.

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  • Advanced
  • Public libraries
  • Personal mentor

Animating the collection

Understanding the purpose and techniques of everyday merchandising is essential to the contemporary library. Which books should we promote and why? How can we present the books so that patrons find them easily and enjoy the experience of choosing? We can learn a lot from retail experts but we also need to think about how we differ from commercial stores. This course will help you to introduce new dynamic practice, build a strategy and gain staff support to implement techniques which will get your collection working harder and boost your circulation.

  • Advanced
  • Public libraries
  • Personal mentor

Observation research

To improve the library experience for your patrons, you need objective evidence about how people are using your space and resources.  Observing and recording anonymous patron behaviors is a powerful way to gather this.  This course will introduce the basic methods with easy exercises to build your experience and the opportunity to design your own observation too. Use these techniques to get beyond a familiar workspace and staff assumptions to what your patrons actually see and do.

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  • Advanced
  • Public libraries
  • Personal mentor

Practical outreach

This action-learning course will take you through the steps of targeting, planning and running a small-scale outreach project. You will focus on using the power of the reading experience to make new connections beyond the regular management of books and buildings. The target group and shape of the project will be developed to suit your own circumstances. Your course mentor will support you to undertake a relevant and progressive project that has a measurable impact and lasting value.

  • Advanced
  • Public libraries
  • Personal mentor
Fiona Edwards

Which course is right for me?

Contact Fiona Edwards on fiona@openingthebook.com.

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