Staff training & development
The Library is a service organisation, which depends on well-trained staff who have opportunities for development. The aims and objectives of the Library's staff training and development programme reflect the Library's Mission statement and aims and objectives and also the aims and objectives of the University's Centre for Quality Support and Development.
Induction and orientation
When staff join the Library, they are sent a welcome pack with their letter of appointment. The welcome pack includes the Library's Mission statement and aims and objectives and guiding principles/core values, information about the Staff Development Hour (see below), plus a site plan and the University term dates.
On their first day, they have an induction chat with the Librarian who gives them the induction pack. The pack includes an information sheet for new staff, the line management structure and staff organisation chart, further information about the Staff Development Hour (see below), information about email and obtaining a University username and password, and a variety of other guides and leaflets.
They are introduced to staff in Library Administration, given keys and a locker. They then go to their section where they meet their colleagues and are given a tour of the building.
Within a month, they have an orientation week with half-hour sessions in: User Services, Acquisitions, Cataloguing, Administration/Systems and Liaison Teams/Subject Floors. They also receive one-to-one training and information on health and safety, including manual handling and emergency procedures. They receive individual training in searching the Library catalogue.
Orientation sessions in the Staff Development Hour
Within the first term or two, they should go to the orientation sessions included in the Staff Development Hour: Do it with Library Style, Map resources in the Library, Disability awareness, and Web quiz.
(Long serving members of staff, in post before these orientation sessions were introduced, are always welcome to attend sessions whenever they wish).
University induction programme
They attend a one-day University induction programme run by People Development.
Aims of the orientation training
- To enable the new member of staff to see how they fit into the Library operations as a whole and the University in general.
- To make them aware of the work of their colleagues in other sections.
Within their own sections, all staff are given on-the-job training in order to work effectively within their team. This will normally involve a gradual introduction to the section and the systems and procedures. By the end of the formal University probation period (6 months), staff should be able to perform well within their section.
When changes take place in procedures or systems, training is given within the section or arrangements are made for all staff to attend sessions (e.g. the introduction of RDA in Cataloguing, upgrades to the Library management system).
The aim of the on-the-job training is to enable the staff member to work efficiently and confidently within the team.
Staff Development Hour (SDH)
During term-time, the Library also provides a weekly Staff Development Hour (SDH). The aims of the programme are to:
- allow staff to increase their awareness of the work of their colleagues within the Library and the University
- update their IT skills
- develop their customer care skills for working with students and staff
- find out about electronic and printed resources offered by the Library
- be aware of professional and management issues
- be knowledgeable about other types of libraries and collections in the region
During the SDH, the Library is open but staffed services are not available; nevertheless, a cover rota of 10 staff is needed each week to ensure the Library can start operations promptly at 10:00.
There are normally five options offered each week, and staff are expected to attend one of them or to work on self-paced training.
The Library has staff at various grades and the SDH is available and relevant to all of them. One week each term is set aside for sessions organised by teams to focus on training specifically for them. Part-time staff may need to make special arrangements to attend a session if it is outside their normal working hours. As much assistance as possible is given to enable this.
The Library supports the new framework of qualifications offered by CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) for candidates who are planning to apply for chartered membership of CILIP. The trainee liaison librarians on this programme have completed their postgraduate qualification in librarianship, and this is normally their first job after qualifying.
Monthly meetings are held as a group with the Librarian and/or other senior Library managers, to discuss different topics in library and information services. Monthly meetings are also held individually with a mentor, often discussing issues raised at the group meeting.
Trainee liaison librarian posts combine work in both a subject team and a functional team, and offer some supervisory experience. This ensures that post holders receive a wide range of responsibilities. They are also encouraged to work on a library-wide project (recent examples include a review of re-shelving processes, production of the Library's newsletter for students, refocusing liaison support). Within the three-year contract, the candidates are expected to submit their portfolio of evidence and to become chartered members of CILIP in readiness for them to make the next move in their career.
They are allocated an individual development/training budget of up to £500 per annum for courses, conferences, and materials to enhance their training.
There is also a graduate trainee scheme for one or two library assistants each year, which provides one-year work experience between the first degree and undertaking a professional LIS qualification. Like the trainee liaison librarians, graduate trainee library assistants have regular meetings with the Librarian/Senior Managers to discuss professional issues. They are also allocated a development/training budget of up to £250 for their trainee year.
The Library organises targeted training for all relevant staff when new systems are introduced or new skills required.
- a two-day training course on teaching skills is provided for the trainee liaison librarians (and others who feel they needed a refresher)
- new managers are usually sent on one of the three-day management skills courses organised by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education in partnership with SCONUL (Society of College, National & University Libraries) and UCISA (University and Colleges Information Systems Association)
and the Centre for Quality Support and Development (CQSD) offer a full and varied programme aimed at all members of the University. There is no charge for this training. Liaison librarians and trainee liaison librarians are encouraged, if possible, to follow CQSD's Academic Practice Programme (APP).
Staff from People Development and CQSD also contribute regularly to the Library's Staff Development Hour. Some topics have included: Managing teams, Constructive criticism, Staff development reviews.
Training opportunities outside the University
CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) runs courses which are often attended by staff, eg Managing paper, Positive approach to negative performance, Advanced teaching skills, rare books conference. In addition CPD25, the Continuing Professional Development section of the M25 Consortium of University Libraries of which the University of Reading Library is a member, and other professional organisations offer training which staff have attended, eg Sources of business information, e-resources, copyright events.
Such opportunities are not only available for professional staff, but are also open to Library assistants and other staff, eg European Union information, supervisory skills, Disabilities Discrimination Act workshop, EBSCO open day.
Visits to other libraries are also a useful part of staff training and development. Some visits have had a specific purpose, eg to see a new building or to discuss a particular service or function, the Library occasionally organises an exchange visit with another nearby university library during the vacations. Staff at all levels are encouraged to participate (and they do).