My recipe for a perfect library induction by Victoria Treadway

Last week I attended a course run by LIHNN (Library and Information Health Network Northwest) and facilitated by Deborah Dalley on ‘How to deliver a memorable induction’.  I was asked to help out by delivering an example of a library induction presentation that wasn’t particularly inspiring.  I delivered some very detailed and dreary slides to the group that were service-focused (rather than customer-focused) in a very uninterested way.  What I thought at first was just an amusing exercise actually really helped me to think more deeply about what a meaningful induction might look like.

Our service has always delivered individual and group inductions and these are usually consist of a general run-down of the services and resources that are on offer from the library.  We’re pretty good at customising the content of the induction to the audience, so for a group of nurses we’ll focus on nursing resources for example, but I don’t think we’ve taken full advantage of this crucial ‘touchpoint’ with potential users of our service or thought properly about what they’ll remember about the library as a result.

Last year we did some work on branding our service, so as a team we have a very clear idea about the brand promise that we want to convey to the end user (“Tailored services in the right place at the right time”), but I think we could go further in conveying our brand in inductions, which are our first, and arguably, most important point of contact with a prospective customer.

My learning points from the course are listed below.  On writing these down, a lot of them seem obvious, but please bear with me…

  • The 3 words that describe how I’d like my induction session to be are ‘unexpected’, ‘engaging’ and ‘impressive’
  • The purpose of my induction is to raise the profile of the library, generate usage, and therefore make a difference to patient care
  • The ultimate message that I want people to leave my induction session with is that ‘using the library will make me a better practitioner’

As tempting as it is to fill a 10 minute induction slot with as much practical information as possible, I thought a lot about the lasting message that I wanted to leave people with. I don’t want them to remember that photocopying costs 5p!  My perfect induction session consists of three simple messages:

  1. Using the library will make a difference to you (it will ensure you are an informed, innovative, progressive and evidence based practitioner)
  2. Using the library will make a difference to the service you deliver (it will ensure you have accurate information on which to base decisions, it will encourage a learning culture and ensure your team is up to date with good practice)
  3. Look at these awesome real life examples that demonstrate how the library makes a difference to other individuals and teams in your organisation!

Within this model, I can mention some library services / resources, but they won’t be the driving force of my presentation.  To make the induction more memorable and engaging, I want to tell the story of some of our customers.  So, there’s my recipe for my perfect library induction; I just need to test it out in practice.  Watch this space!

This post was first published on Victoria’s bog – Librarian in my pocket: A health librarian’s adventures in Library Land (and some professional development stuff too…)

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One Response to My recipe for a perfect library induction by Victoria Treadway

  1. matthewjholland says:

    Hi Victoria, I like this approach. We I used to deliver 30 plus inductions in a 2 week period in HE. Experience told me that I could probably get over three points: 1) tell students there is a Library, 2) there is a Librarian, and its me and 3) where the Library was. Handily it was the tall building the fairly lights on top. don’t think anyone would have described my Induction as engaging! Great Post. Best Wishes. Matt

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