The benefits of training in libraries

Increasingly, library and information staff are being asked to do more and more with fewer resources. Training is often delivered by library managers, development officers and trainers who may have limited budgets with access to few resources.  The No-nonsense Guide to Training in Libraries provides a straightforward and accessible guide to training practices and a wide range of tools and techniques which will suit different training contexts and situations   The extract from the book below describes the benefits provided by training.

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Training provides benefits for different stakeholders and it is often useful to consider these and present them to stakeholders when designing and developing training courses. The following lists of common benefits of training provide a set of headings (they may be expanded to fit particular contexts) which may be used to help in compiling a training proposal.

 Benefits for the library and information service:

  • increased productivity
  • improved quality of work
  • improved customer service
  • development of a flexible workforce
  • reduction in staff turnover
  • reduced employee turnover, due to better supervision and management
  • following leadership training
  • reduced employee turnover, due to greater job satisfaction
  • reduced recruitment costs, due to greater job satisfaction
  • reduced recruitment costs, due to reduced turnover.

 Benefits for staff who receive training:

  • fewer errors
  • correct implementation of policies and procedures
  • improved knowledge and skills
  • better quality of customer service
  • saving of time through more effective use of systems
  • increased productivity of new staff, due to effective induction training
  • increased professionalism
  • improved morale
  • continuous professional development.

Benefits for customers:

  • improved knowledge and skills
  • improved performance through access to better quality of information
  • increased satisfaction with the library and information service
  • improved use of information and communications technologies
  • saving of time through effective use of services and resources.

Putting figures on these benefits is very challenging. Here are some examples of the ways in which some trainers have attempted to demonstrate the benefits of their training events:

I work in a research library in the construction industry. One of my customers came and thanked me for teaching him how to use one of the databases. He was able to find information about a particular type of building defect. He said it has saved the company about £20,000. I asked him to put it in writing and used this to help demonstrate the benefit of training.

– Information officer with a remit for training

Each year, the National Student Survey is used by universities in the UK to identify areas for improvement. This year, a number of different students in different faculties commented on how useful they found the workshop ‘Finding information for your dissertation’. The senior managers in the library and university were thrilled – this information is widely available and it really demonstrated the value of our training sessions.

– Academic liaison librarian

Image This is an extract from the first chapter of The No-nonsense Guide to Training in Libraries by Barbara Allan

You can read the first chapter of The No-nonsense Guide to Training in Libraries here, for free.

Find out more information, browse the table of contents and purchase the book here.

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