Supervisors: How to help staff make the most of online courses

Are you a supervisor or manager with a staff member who is taking an Infopeople course? Would you like to help them make the most of the learning experience? We would love to share a few potential ways you can help “make training stick” for them.

7 ways

  1. Read through the course description and learning objectives together. Every Infopeople course includes a course description and learning objectives. Reviewing them will help both supervisor and employee have a solid understanding of what is going to be covered in the course.
  2. Review the estimated amount of time required for the course work and make a plan for scheduling that time. Most Infopeople courses are designed to require 2 1/2 hours of time per week for the duration of the course (2, 4, or 6 weeks).
  3. Assist staff with finding a place for their learning. Do they have the space needed to accomplish or complete readings, online meetings, and assignments without being interrupted?
  4. Discuss assignments together. Assignments in an Infopeople course are practical and relevant. Many of them encourage applying course concepts to the learner’s current library setting.
  5. After completion of the course meet with the staff person as soon as possible to brainstorm where new knowledge and skills can be applied, or if additional continuing education is needed to build on what they have learned.
  6. Provide a way for the learner to share their acquired knowledge with other staff (e.g. blog post, staff intranet, informal bag lunch, staff bulletin board, etc.).
  7. Make a calendar note for 2-3 months after the course end date to talk about what has been accomplished.

Want to know more about the research and models behind these ideas?

learn more


We were inspired to develop and share these 7 tips while working with Andrew Sanderbeck and Terry McQuown to create an Infopeople Academy tutorial called Making Employee Training Stick.

The free tutorial will introduce you to:

  • “Transfer of training”, helping you understand various tools and strategies available to support your staff in using more of their learning on the job.
  • The critical role that supervisors play in the success of employee training in any organization.
  • Practical tools and strategies that you can start using immediately.
  • Strategies for overcoming potential barriers to using transfer of training.

What are the Characteristics of a Great Boss?

A new session of Anne Cain’s popular 4-week course Introduction to Library Management will be starting on September 12th. Throughout the course, participants assess their strengths as a library manager and identify areas and opportunities for personal growth. The course, which is targeted at first time managers, includes a variety of practical exercises aimed at helping participants better understand the role and responsibilities of a manager.

In one assignment, for example, course participants are asked to think about a great boss or supervisor that they have had and then to identify the behaviors that person exemplified that were particularly effective.

Here are some of the behaviors that were shared in the spring 2017 Introduction to Library Management course.


What do you think? Have you had a great boss (or bosses)? What characteristics made them great?

If you are a first time manager or supervisor (or if you’re considering moving into a management position) and want to learn more about how to be a great boss, consider enrolling in the course. Registration is open now.

A Chance to Meet

Thanks to those who stopped by to say “hi” in Chicago! ALA Annual Chicago

One of my favorite events at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference is the Learning Round Table’s training showcase. It’s a small but mighty gathering of people who are interested in continuing education and staff development for library personnel. Infopeople hosted a table at the event this year and used it as an opportunity to showcase the great work that has been happening as part of our Building an Effective Learning Culture (BELC) initiative.

Have you heard about BELC?

Since January 2017, twelve library teams from the US and Canada have been focused on assessing and strengthening the learning culture in their organizations. Each team has been working with a savvy mentor. Here’s a map, which shows where everyone involved is located. BELC is primarily a virtual project, so meeting a number of team members face to face while at the showcase this past weekend was a special opportunity. (Psst… Team Pickering and Team Pima, did you happen to take any other photos you are willing to share?)


What next?

It has been an amazing project and as it wraps up in the next few weeks, we will be working to share the stories and the lessons learned. Watch this blog for more!

Trauma and Library Services

Talking to the media after Monday’s tragic shooting, San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey trauma webinar imgDavis said, “Far too often in our country and throughout the world, we gather to report this news of tragic events that take place.” Coping with traumatic events is an all-too-common thing. How can libraries help communities and individuals who are dealing with tragedy and trauma? How can we best respond to community needs in times of crisis?

One place to start is by better understanding trauma and its effects on people and on society. Earlier this year, Elissa Hardy, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Community Resource Specialist at Denver Public Library, delivered an Infopeople webinar titled, Trauma Informed Services in the Library: Understanding and Serving our Community. In the session, Hardy discussed how libraries are directly impacted by the trauma and stress carried by the communities they serve and provides advice for serving with compassion. You can access the recorded webinar at

Libraries can be a safe and supportive place and resource for those who have experienced trauma. Are there other resources that you would recommend to those who work in libraries and who are working to compassionately serve their communities? Please share in the comments below.

The Building an Effective Learning Culture Initiative – a Midpoint Check In

In mid-January, twelve intrepid teams from libraries and library organizations around North America  started a journey to build an effective learning culture. Since January, they have been hard at work developing vision statements, setting goals, and reading and learning and experimenting with ideas and activities. Each team regularly meets with a mentor for guidance and encouragement.

Yesterday, the 12 teams met online to share their progress. The initiative started in January and will wrap-up in June, so this was a great time for a midpoint check in. It was an inspiring meeting, which highlighted a few common overarching themes, but also underscored the unique ways in which each team is creating a learning culture that makes sense for their staff and their community.

What is an effective learning culture?

Teams shared thoughts and ideas about what an effective learning culture looks like:

  • A culture in which staff exemplify the same qualities they are trying to instill in their patrons, including: curiosity and the spirit of exploration (embracing the idea of being a lifelong learner), flexibility (there is more than one way to do something), and collaboration (use each other and your community as a resource)
  • The ideal learning culture is one where we take chances, are open to new ideas, and learn from our mistakes. We thrive on engaging and motivating our fellow staff, celebrate successes, and make time for all this learning to take place. Working as a team, through trust and communication, we ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate.
  • An environment in which staff will feel curious and excited to learn and safe to take risks

How do you build an effective learning culture?

Teams shared strategies for building that learning culture:

  • One team engaged all employees in co-creating an organizational Learning Philosophy — creating buy-in through employee involvement at all levels in the library.
  • It’s important for leadership to model the happiness that can come from learning new things.
  • A team reminded us, “All learning is lost without time for reflection and practice.”
  • Another team noted that people learn at different rates and by different methods. Someone who isn’t ‘getting with the program’ may be processing differently than everyone else.
  • And thank you to the team that reassured everyone, “It’s okay if you move a little slowly, because Change Is Hard.”
  • A favorite quote was shared: “Your best teacher is your last mistake.”

How do you foster learning?

Teams shared examples of HOW they will foster learning:

  • Library staff think tanks! Open time away from desks to think, explore, and collaborate…
  • All staff create an annual Individualized Learning Plan, which enables them to pursue their goals as they align with the strategic priorities of the Library.
  • One team will be holding their first annual learning summit in August!
  • A team shared the numerous creative opportunities they have for staff to share learning with one another, including podcasts, newsletter articles, and webinars.
  • One library is going to investigate Learning Management Systems that incorporate video and media content for quick training lessons.
  • A library is having their current MLIS student employees develop a “Principles of Libraries” training for new staff.

Thank you to these inspiring teams and individuals for being part of this initiative and for sharing experiences and learning.

faces of belc