A children’s librarian’s basket of professional responsibilities often overflows with programming demands and story time schedules. Initially, it may appear impossible to carve out time for training amidst preparing for the next presentation or serving the latest day care, but it’s valuable that we recognize how critical regular training is to our effectiveness in reaching our communities. What training do you hope to add to your basket of professional development? Summer reading workshops, departmental classes, and powerful partnerships will aid us in meeting staff needs.
Sweet Summer Reading
Fairly soon, a youth services librarian’s busiest time of year will be upon us: the season of summer reading. To encourage and equip staff to meet these demands, the State Library of North Carolina offers summer reading workshops. These one day events provide a variety of sessions for staff serving tots through teens. Some course offerings focus on program logistics, such as how to develop a baby summer reading program, and other sessions highlight a specific type of programming related to the summer reading theme. A popular workshop component includes the summer reading showcase and features professional performers who share their shows with librarians interested in booking these performances for their libraries. These summer reading workshops serve as a valuable training staple for youth services staff within all sizes of public libraries across our state.
Internal training is another valuable resource to place in our professional basket. Whether training is seamlessly introduced through one-on-one instruction or small classes, system-driven training remains critical when determining the effectiveness of staff’s interaction with the public. In addition to two mornings of professional development and classes offered throughout the year, our library gears biannual training specifically toward the needs of youth services staff. Staff suggestions during our Youth Services Advisory Council meetings give youth services managers the forum to provide recommendations of future training topics to strengthen their skill sets. Our spring youth services training will focus on coding programs to enhance staff comfort so we may increase these program offerings for children and teens at our various library branches.
Youth services partnerships, whether they are with local agencies or other library departments, frequently identity training needs. Conversations with other professionals serving children and teens offer chances to brainstorm, collaborate and to recognize areas of concern within our communities. One example of this partnership is the library’s involvement with the Child Advocacy Center. The Child Advocacy Center provides Darkness to Light training for library staffers who provide youth reference services to assist our employees in recognizing the signs of childhood sexual abuse and to minimize the opportunities for trauma.
Training experiences, found through summer reading workshops, departmental classes, and valuable community partnerships, provide a plethora of rich resources to aid in staff development. How does training strengthen the skills of staff in your communities? What type of training do you want to place in your professional development basket? Please share in the comments below!