A skills-based and age-appropriate training programme is essential.
- Consider having a trial and review period. This lets you and the student both decide if there is a good fit, and make a decision whether to continue.
- Training modules are effective, allowing students to build up defined levels of skills, achieving rewards and acknowledgment as they work.
- Design appropriate activities to allow you to measure a student’s skill level and achievement in each area.
- Plan a training programme that attracts students, and maintains their interest.
- Be clear about what will be a sustainable level of input from library staff.
Provide student librarians with their own individual booklet for their training programme. The booklet could include:
- a brief introduction outlining the importance and responsibility of their role
- a list of daily duties they'll be doing for your school library
- the training levels presented as an awards programme.
To get started, here are some areas of responsibility and tasks you can include in your training programme.
Know the library layout and where different sections are located, using standard systems for organising the collection.
- Arrange books on shelves from left to right, top to bottom, bay-by-bay.
- Follow numerical and alphabetical order of different sections.
- Keep shelves up to 3/4 full and incorporate face-out display of attractive books.
- Make sure shelves stay tidy throughout the day.
- Be able to issue and return library items.
- Know how to handle reservations, overdues, and loan limits.
- Put books needing repair aside for mending.
Be able to help identify and protect new library items by:
- using appropriate school and library stamps
- applying labels, for example, coloured dots, genre and spine labels, barcodes
- covering with suitable material.
Know about the upkeep of the library environment.
- Keep tables and chairs and cushions neatly arranged.
- Turn lights, heaters, and computers on and off.
- Open and close windows, curtains, and blinds.
- Clean shelves, books, computers, and furniture in suitable ways.
- Look after plants and pets, such as fish or birds.
Helping library users
Be able to help users:
- locate items using the library catalogue
- locate items on the shelf using Dewey for non-fiction, and the alphabet for fiction
- use search engines to locate suitable websites.
Know how to interact positively with library users by:
- using open questions
- making eye contact and smiling
- taking the initiative to help.
Learn about ways to promote the library, its collection, and services:
- Create displays based on an author, theme or event.
- Contribute reviews and recommendations to a library newsletter, blog, or library webpage.
- Talk about good reads in class, during a visit to the library, or at assembly.
- Do buddy reading with peers or juniors.
- Create book trailers, slideshows, and book-related images and videos.
- Help run library competitions and events, like quizzes, author visits, book week, and book fairs.
- Act as a library guide for visitors to the school.
Help library staff to select library resources by:
- recommending book and magazine titles
- keeping a suggestions book
- surveying users for ideas.
Use ICT skills to assist library staff and users with:
- internet use, such as finding suitable websites to meet student requests
- managing their digital footprint, including knowledge of the school’s Acceptable Use Policy
- using the computers, photocopier, printer, and other hardware
- adhering to copyright and copying limits.