Staff Training

The Role of Staff Training: Why and How?

Libraries migrating to OSS ILSs should train their staff members on the new system. Doing so will make the migration process much smoother and better enable staff members to perform their jobs and train and market the new system to patrons.

According to the general Migration and Training PowerPoint presentation at the 2010 Growing Evergreen International Conference, the first step of staff training is for each individual library to assess its training needs.

Who needs to be trained about what tasks?

  • Consortium and local administrators
  • IT staff
  • Frontline staff

When and where should they be trained?

  • On site
  • Online
  • A combination of both?
  • Training close to a “Go Live” date also tends to be the most effective

How should training be done?

  • A vendor could come in to train all staff members
  • One staff member could learn the system and then train others
  • Some libraries choose not to use a vendor at all and instead creating staff training materials from community documentation freely available online

Finally, why should staff be trained on OSS ILSs?

  • To reduce staff anxiety
  • Create staff enthusiasm
  •  Increase patron confidence
  •  Reduce future support tickets to a vendor

To train effectively, library administrators must talk with their staff about OSS ILSs, give them the opportunity to practice working with a demo site hands-on, available documentation from the community, and how to get help. Administrators must also talk with any vendors used for training about their libraries’ unique workflows, staff skills, current system requirements, and future goals.

Overall, the type of staff training done is not as important as doing staff training in general. Think about your unique needs as a library when deciding exactly how and when to train staff members. All types of staff training should involve task-related “homework” that individual librarians must work through to learn the new system.

There are a few examples of training materials available online for Evergreen and Koha. Unfortunately, there is not a lot available about training specifically, so libraries in the migration process are often forced to rely on vendors or work through the community documentation themselves. Having more libraries using Evergreen and Koha contribute and share their resources on the web would greatly help other libraries. If you are a library using Evergreen or Koha and want to share your resources on this website, please contact us on our Forums page.