Best Practices: Trainer, Train Thyself (Part 2 of 2)

Having explored, in a recent Infoblog posting, the need for trainers to devour reports such as Information Behavior of the Researcher of the Future, let’s see what the report actually has to offer those of us involved in staff training and development.
While general summaries of the report highlights are available through the British Library and Library Journal postings, a complete reading of the 35-page document reminds us that “Enormous changes are taking place in the information landscape that are transforming teaching and learning…” (p. 8). There is the prospect that the future library user will only ever want to use libraries remotely (p. 35)—as many already do—so it behooves us to continue helping library staff and the customers whom they serve become more familiar and proficient with the use of tools such as Skype so we can meet their evolving needs in creative ways.
The implication, stated simply, is that all of us have to be equally adept at providing online and face-to-face service as libraries work to meet the needs of onsite and online (invisible) customers.
“Few digital library offerings make any real attempt to connect with the larger digital consumer world,” the report contends (p. 33) while noting how important Facebook, YouTube, and Amazon have become to those who are current or prospective library customers. Trainers, responding to this digital challenge, can help by suggesting that it is not all about Facebook, MySpace, and other tools which have not yet proven effective for libraries in search of clients. Free online tools such as are offering business colleagues opportunities to communicate and share resources, and we should be familiarizing ourselves and our colleagues with the ways in which these resources might make us more effective at what we do.
Since leadership remains a much discussed topic, the report’s assertion that the “library profession desperately needs leadership to develop a new vision for the 21st century and reverse its declining profile and influence” offers one final area of attention for trainers. Building from Infopeople’s series of leadership workshops and upcoming leadership institute as well as from others who maintain that leadership training is a lifelong endeavor rather than a goal to be achieved through a one-day workshop, trainers can support and design programs which promote leadership skills at all levels of an organization in an ongoing and consistent fashion.