Patron Training

Depending on the size of library, there may be managers or whole departments responsible for the development of patron training programs. No matter where the responsibility resides, patron training and the advancement of information literacy are crucial ways in which the library serves its community.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Provides informal instruction and assistance to build skills of library users

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Perceives needs of users for “just in time” learning and demonstrates readiness to assist at the level of need
  • Identifies and makes available tutorials and other resources for users’ self-paced learning
  • Assists library users with searching the library’s catalog and databases and helps them develop the ability to recognize an information need, meet it and evaluate the results
  • Assists users in accessing and navigating the Internet, understanding common security protocols, locating resources, and downloading and saving files of all types
  • Assists users with Web-based e-mail programs (sign up, create or reply to messages, manage contacts, attach files, identify spam and phishing messages)
  • Demonstrates patience and empathy for learners, and practices active listening.
  • Recognizes a user’s need for formal learning and identifies appropriate opportunities in the library’s class schedule or through other community organizations.

Competency: Develops training programs to build information literacy skills and to meet other educational needs of users

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Defines the objectives of the library’s formal training program
  • Understands the scope and the importance of information literacy (including computer and media literacy) and defines information literacy goals applicable to the library
  • Identifies topics of importance and interest to library users by a variety of ongoing means (benchmarking with similar institutions, surveying users, collecting input from frontline staff, etc.)
  • Defines desired outcomes for individual  training events and builds a curriculum/program to meet those outcomes 
  • Understands and applies basic instructional design principles
  • Establishes a budget for patron training and promotes its value to the library’s  management
  • Identifies opportunities to partner with other departments or organizations to collaborate on training programs
  • Identifies opportunities for combining training for staff and users; understands the advantages and disadvantages of doing so
  • Identifies resources for training (technology, space and trainers) and coordinates with appropriate departments to obtain them
  • Identifies and manages trainers (staff, external, volunteers) and training materials (use external, create new, repurpose existing); manages scheduling of classes
  • Evaluates training programs, using the appropriate evaluation strategies (post-class evaluation forms, debrief with trainers, etc.) and uses results to improve future training content and delivery.


Competency: Delivers formal training to achieve stated outcomes

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Selects the appropriate style and presentation methods for delivery of training, based on an understanding of adult learning principles
  • Prepares the learning environment, including set-up of computer labs
  • Practices effective training techniques (presents ideas clearly, employs interactivity, uses a variety of approaches to accommodate learning styles, actively listens to student input, etc.)
  • Fosters a positive learning atmosphere, one that respects and values diversity
  • Accepts feedback on effectiveness of training and seeks opportunities to improve techniques and behaviour.

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