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Penn State University Libraries

Appointed by: Sally Kalin

Chair: Steven Herb

Membership: Jeanette Eisenhart, Bryan Grove, Andrew Marshall, Nikki Massaro Kauffman, Rachel Schneiderman, Loanne Snavely, Ann Thompson

Charge: The training of library faculty and staff has always been an important component of the University Libraries, but academic library climate changes in this century have made that training ever more critical. In the University Libraries, the ongoing development of our Knowledge Commons, the steady increase in shared reference service and shared reference personnel among units, the need to work more efficiently and effectively in the current budget climate, and the rapidly shifting body of resources we rely on for information are just four among many reasons why we will be undertaking this focus on training in 2009-2010.

  1. Determine the skills and knowledge necessary for the effective delivery of information services, both FtF and virtual. Draw on the work of previous task forces that addressed service-related skills.
  2. Devise a curriculum that will provide every employee delivering services with a common level of knowledge. Base the curriculum on the professional standards as recommended by the Reference and Consultation Services Council, as well as other relevant competency statements.
  3. Identify the core technological competencies that our public services staff should have, especially as we develop partnerships with ITS. An excellent resource is Core Technology Competencies for Librarians and Library Staff: A LITA Guide (2009).
  4. Ensure that the Libraries’ values and goals, e.g., diversity, as documented in the Strategic Plan, are incorporated into the training curriculum.
  5. Consider subject-appropriate, multiple delivery platforms for the curriculum.
  6. Evaluate and if possible, make use of training materials and documentation that already exist. [Note: An effort is underway to consolidate all existing training materials.]
  7. Create new documentation, when appropriate, that can be easily accessed by employees delivering information services.
  8. Determine an ongoing mechanism by which employees’ skills and knowledge can be continually updated, and which is responsive to the changing library environment.
  9. Clarify the role of supervisors/individual units versus the Training Team in the management and delivery of training.
  10. Determine how to assess whether employees possess the requisite skills and behaviors needed to deliver effective information services. Investigate available assessment tools.
  11. Determine how to integrate the evaluation of the delivery of reference and information into performance reviews.  
  12. Collaborate with other trainers in the Libraries on the design and delivery of training mechanisms, e.g., using Train the Trainer (TTT) for delivery of training content. The chair(s) will serve on the newly formed Training Coordinators group. 

Deadline/duration: Goal of implementing a program for Fall 2010.