Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Training Staff to be Pages

Our library has a new rule. If a librarian goes in back to do something, they should grab a stack of something to shelve on their way back out to the reference desk. It gets the most popular materials, like new books and DVDs, back on the shelf quickly. I like this idea for a few reasons:

1. It makes librarians aware of various collections. They can see what is being checked out, what's new, and what the library owns.

2. It puts librarians in the Page's shoes. Shelving is a tricky job! They have a lot of rules to remember about what goes where, what different labels and stickers mean, and what to do with things that look old, damaged, or just weird (WHY was a cookbook given the number 941.5? Was it a typo when the spine label was made? There's no way a cookbook goes in 941.5! It goes in 641.5!)

I only see one potential down side of this rule, and it has a remedy. The down side is that librarians have not been trained as Pages. They don't know those rules listed in #2 above. Shelving mistakes are likely to be made by un-trained librarians. They might shelve new large print books on the regular "New" shelf instead of on the separate Large Print "New" shelf. They might interfile the career books with non-fiction instead of putting them in their own shelving area.

So, everyone needs a minimum of Page training. I think it will ultimately make better librarians of us. We will be able to find things for patrons easier if we are looking at the right set of shelves.

We will also understand our Pages better.

1 comment:

  1. Good post!! (a little late I know but I have just come across this blog) I was a Library Page for almost 4 years, and I felt I knew the library better than everyone. In our library it was our job to spot damaged/misplaced book and bring them to the attention of the Library Assistants (our version of a reference librarian) and we kept the library running! it was hard for the Clerks to pick up the slack when we were unable to work ..