Monday, September 14, 2009

Thoughts on Training: This Ain't Your Mama's Library

When you're doing your normal day-to-day activities, it's easy to lose sight of theories and ideals. So even if you're an experienced teen librarian, attending a training that focuses on the basics can provide benefits. Here are two things that I realized after attending a day-long training with Michele Gorman, the teen coordinator of ImaginOn at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenberg County.

#1: Remember the guiding principles.

This workshop was designed to present the fundamentals of working with teens. Ranging from adolescent brain growth and the developmental needs of teens to programming and collection development, it was teen librarianship in a nutshell. Yet it was a nutshell that reacquaints you with the basics. By taking some time to think about something like the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets, you can find new insights, sending your mind off in different directions. Plus, it's always possible that you'll learn about a theory that you weren't exposed to in library school or be brought up-to-date on the latest research.

#2: Sharing ideas leads to growth.

As part of the programming discussion, the participants were split into small groups to develop a program idea. For me, it's so easy to get into a rut when it comes to programming; just considering a different kind of program creates sparks. In addition, while it's about coming up with different programs, it's also invaluable to hear about new takes on standard programs. Learning doesn't just come from listening to an expert--it also comes from working with people who have a variety of backgrounds and approaches.

I recommend attending a training with Michele Gorman if you get the chance. But even more, if you work with teens, you should attempt to attend occasional training on teen services. Get back in touch with the basics or learn something new, either from your instructor or the person sitting next to you. You might be surprised by all you gain out of training on what you already know.

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