In November, our Readers’ Services Team will be holding our annual Ra training day. As usual, it is an introductory training for new staff, or for readers’ advisors in the library who either need a refresher or haven’t yet attended a formal RA training. New this year, we’ll also include a handful of staff from our regional libraries, exposing them to RA work in the library.
Last year, I blogged about this as it was the first ever RA training that included a catalogue component. As you know, I am a BIG advocate of using the catalogue for readers’ advisory services and that yes, it is indeed an RA tool.
Last year, my presentation was a bare-bones introduction to this concept, with a total of 15 minutes to present on the catalogue. But this year, even though I’ve been allotted a larger time-slot, I’m finding that my presentation is longer than the new 45 minutes I’ve been given.
Because it’s an introduction and a training course for RA’s, I’m attempting to find a balance between ideas and concepts, and hands-on, useful information regarding readers’ advisory services in the catalogue. I’m taking a lot of this information from my APLA presentation this past Spring, but tailoring it into how these ideas are actually practiced within our library system.
While I want to go in to social catalogues, enriched content and examples of what other libraries are doing to enhance readers’ advisory work, I have to remind myself that these professionals need practical information on how to analyze a bib record and bring out information that will assist them in searching for appeals and read-a-likes using structured searches based on subject headings and genres. As important, I need to expose them to all of the collaborative work that goes on between front-line RAs and backroom RAs (cataloguers). This includes the creation of new genres, reading lists and links from a bib record to our readers’ blog (currently a proposed collaborative idea).
In addition to this, I want to explore why the catalogue has not traditionally been considered an RA tool (ex. The card catalogue) and how it has been evolving into an RA tool through collaboration, enhanced cataloguing practices, the emergence of social catalogues and vendor products such as NoveList Select.
After the training session (November 9th), I will post my finalized slides, along with my thoughts on how the presentation went.
I’m also interested to hear if any of you host RA training days at your libraries and if a catalogue component is included – and why or why not.