Knowledge Café 2014: Learning Challenges for Librarians and Library Managers

Dear colleagues,

CPDWL thanks all moderators, rapporteurs and participants of the Knowledge Café last week in Lyon, France. From our point of view it was a very successful session with much more participants as we expected even at this last afternoon just before the Closing session.

And as we promised we will upload more information like the wrap-up of rapporteurs because the time for these was very limited at the end because of your vital discussions before.

And of course we hope to get your comments and feedback about the subjects but also the format and setting. We already started to evaluate the session and hope for your input, too.

Here`s the first wrap-up of table

User Involvement as a Learning Tool

Discussion around how to incorporate feedback from library users into providing training for library staff was challenging!  Many participants who visited this discussion table focused on the topic of how to obtain user feedback (e.g., through focus groups, surveys, social media, one-on-one interviews, etc.) but found it more difficult to provide specific examples of how to incorporate user feedback staff training at their institutions.

However, several examples of successful initiatives included:

1.  One library created role plays or vignettes based on user/customer feedback and interactions that was used to spark discussion in staff training focused on customer satisfaction and service.

2.  A large urban library created a Chief Information Office that, among many other responsibilities,  conducted face-to-face interviews with library users and produced a report that was shared with library administrators and discussed during staff training.

3.  Another library hired an external consultant to create a structured community engagement process that solicited user feedback.  This feedback was then incorporated in the library’s master facilities plan (identifying libraries to be renovated, consolidated, closed, or re-purposed).

4.  There was some discussion of “appreciative inquiry” as a tool in staff training to help identify what employees are doing well and were improvements can be made.  One library incorporated the use of appreciative inquiry in designing a new library building.

5.  One public library took user feedback as an impetus to create a library maker space that was used for staff training (as well as public use).

The general consensus was that because all library staff members are engaged in communicating with users it’s critical to provide employees with the training and tools needed to this effectively.  One of the more difficult tasks is to find new and creative ways to obtain feedback from non-users in addition to those who regularly patronize their libraries.    We know from experience that today’s customers are increasingly demanding opportunities to provide their input into how library services are delivered and what programs and services are offered.  Finding ways to incorporate customer feedback into preparing our employees to successfully meet user demand can only improve the quality of staff training.



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