Every year, one day a year, AVRL closes its branch libraries in order that all staff can be brought together for a professional development day. This year, it's Monday, May 27th.
While we may have other training days for smaller groups of staff during the year, this is the single chance for all staff to take part in the same workshops, share their work experiences, and the common joys and challenges of the public library workplace.
In the past we've enjoyed, and benefitted from, information sessions on Customer Service, Mental Health, Service to Seniors, Children's Storytimes, Outreach Services, and Self-Defense.
This year, our staff development day is all about technology. We're just like everyone else; it proves challenging to keep abreast of the technology gadgets, software, and lingo that our patrons discuss with us!
Now that libraries offer OverDrive (a downloadable eBook and audiobook service), staff are often approached and expected to be familiar with that person's particular brand of tablet, eBook reader, laptop, etc., and how it interacts with OverDrive. (We should note here that our expectation for staff is only that they are familiar with the basic downloadable service itself and that they can direct patrons to "Help" functions and documents. They are not expected to be technology trainers or support staff for the public's equipment. ) This can be very frustrating for everyone involved, especially those new technology owners who are experiencing support challenges from the makers and providers of their tablets and eReaders!
Along with the OverDrive workshop, we'll also have "APPy hour". Our Youth Services Librarian Angela Reynolds regularly reviews apps for kids and parents in her Valley Storytime blog posts. She looks for apps that are low-cost or free, educational yet fun, book-related, or ones that can help develop early literacy skills such as drawing, storytelling, and vocabulary. She likes apps that take good children's books and make them even more fun, such as Good Night Moon, The Three Little Pigs, or the Sandra Boynton books. Angela will be sharing some of these with staff.
In addition, there will be a general workshop on New Trends in Technology, and one on Photo Editing. All in all, it promises to be another rewarding and enjoyable day of professional development.
While we are sorry for the inconvenience of the closure on May 27th, we are pleased and grateful to take part in these opportunities. We hope to serve you better because of them!
--Wendy Trimper, Head of Branch Services