14 SUSTAINABLE ONLINE LIBRARY SERVICES AND RESOURCES sense. Social distancing requirements meant that gathering all library staff in a single location was difficult, and scheduling times where most staff could come in person would have continued to be a challenge. Consequently, the training committee continued using its set of virtual tools, such as Webex and video hosting, to host further trainings. Beyond staffing needs, additional factors made the continuation of virtual trainings an obvious choice. It allowed more staff across all campuses, par- ticularly part-time staff, to be involved and engaged, made it possible to record trainings for later review by staff and for archival purposes, allowed more flexibility in scheduling, and continued providing more space for staff to take leadership roles in the training. The decision was popular across both the training committee and wider library staff. Even once the pandemic ends, virtual trainings will still be the default mode. Additionally, the pandemic reinforced the value of the work of the train- ing committee. Libraries are complex operations with a lot of moving parts. The sudden shift to working remotely and moving all library operations online was a perfect demonstration of what we already know to be true: policies, tools, and services can change rapidly even in “normal” times, and keeping all staff aware of these changes can help provide service to patrons seamlessly. A robust training program, particularly one that can be inclusive of the schedules of all staff, is one of the best ways to ensure the continued smooth operation of the library and maximize use of new tools and services. The benefits to training do not end with exceptional library service. An added benefit of training is that it supports the growth and development of library staff. Bringing in more participants to conduct the trainings is a great way to help staff grow professionally, building instructional, technological, and public-speaking skills. Hosting trainings provides staff a safe and com- forting environment in which to build and showcase their skills, and many staff expressed appreciation for the opportunity and said it helped them feel more comfortable presenting to larger groups. Building community is an important part of fostering a functional team. Although the Fun Fridays may not be what one would typically consider “training,” it was a natural fit for the goals of the training committee. It allowed staff to share information about their interests with their peers, provided a welcome break from the day-to-day work, and built connections among staff. Particularly as a large library system with multiple locations, this was a great way for staff who do not normally interact to get to know one another better. Libraries have an array of tools, technology, and policies. It can be helpful to embrace the ongoing nature of training by holding periodic sessions to highlight new resources, establish best practices, and refresh staff on proce- dures. Although in-person training provides many benefits, the shift toward virtual training during the pandemic provided much higher benefits across a
Previous Page Next Page