Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Library Page Boot Camp Training Plan

Y'all I am SO, so, SO excited! I feel really prepared and ready for my new library pages and I thought I'd share my training plan with you guys in case it could be helpful for you.

The nuts & bolts of my plan really boil down to communicating my specific expectations to them. I think this is a big part of what went south last year--sometimes something is so familiar to us that it becomes a "well, of course, they get this--it's so obvious" when really it is anything but obvious to someone new to the work-in-the-library world.

To prepare for creating this plan I studied two sets of companies: those who are known for fabulous customer service, and those that are known as great FUN places to work.  I studied the training programs of Chick-Fil-A and The Ritz-Carlton, of Apple and Disney and Southwest Airlines. There are definite overlaps in the two listings, which speaks volumes regarding the way folks feel when they are given the proper training.  Nothing feels better than a job well done (okay, so there may be a few things--but you get what I'm saying here!) I also read The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White, and of course applied the wisdom of Marie Forleo.

I want to keep the training simple and straightforward, yet *hopefully* not bore them to tears. In keeping with that, I have created a three-fold approach per class period with student pages--yes, it will be repetitive for me, as well as being an investment of time.  I believe it will pay off in the end. Each day we will 1.team build, 2.learn a new skill, and 3. review & reward. I haven't included specific team-building exercises in my list.  I'm still thinking on what will work best with such a small amount of people, but basically my goal is that they will actually KNOW one another and be able to work together as a team.

1. Day One. We do a short intro. Kids will receive their Training Guide and fill out a short information sheet about themselves. We will go over any and all questions they may have regarding the guide.  There will be snacks.  Snacks are good.  Snacks create a hey-I-care-about-you warm fuzzy vibe.  We appreciate snacks at meetings.  Teens appreciate snacks at meetings.

2. Day Two. We tour the library. Yes, all my pages are seniors--but to assume they know the sections of the library would be a mistake ---one that I definitely made last year! They will be introduced to the super-secret inner sanctum of the library (okay, the supply closet, but whatever.) We spend time on what it means to "posh" the library (that's what I call cleaning & straightening the library and is explained in the training guide above) with specific real-life examples. We move on to working the copy machine and shutting down computers.

3. Day Three. Shelving 101. We start with fiction because that seems to be the easiest to comprehend for most people. Because I am transitioning into genre-fied fiction sections, this one will come with a warning that change is coming and explanations of the shifting spine labels. I'll move into the other shelving specifics and the pace will be determined by how well the students are getting it. I plan to make videos going over the details of the various types of shelving for the kids to watch, and I'll link them here when I have them completed.

4. Day Four.  We do a super quick review of shelving and then practice for the bulk of the class period.  We will learn to shelf read on Day Four, as well.

5. Day Five. Boot camp survival certification day! This will be the first celebration my library pages earn. I know it may sound a bit silly, but I honestly plan to have certificates for them and a little ceremony.  Do I think they will keep these forever?  Heck no, but I hope it will be a fun way to show them recognition for a job well done.  These certificates will be their storing place for future badges to be earned, as well. I had considered something digital, but we really aren't set up for that at this point. Also, one of the regular rewards my kids can earn are special passes for 30 minutes of free time to be used as they need/want to use them.

So, this is the basic boot camp training plan I've made for the year. After my kids have mastered the boot camp skills, those who are ready will move on to the Ninja Jedi skills of processing magazines and then books. I'd love to hear your feedback and want to know what you have done in your training of student aides that has been super successful!


  1. No Page can do a good job if they don't have the right knowledge and skills. That's right...Library Essential Knowledge and Skills...LEKS. You gotta a plan, man!

  2. No Page can do a good job if they don't have the right knowledge and skills. That's right...Library Essential Knowledge and Skills...LEKS. You gotta a plan, man!