The roving Library Advisers currently come in 2 varieties: 3 established staff and 4 temps (who are here this academic year on a trial peer-support project). They all have the same front of house training as we are aiming for a consistent level of service across the whole team. The established Advisers have other responsibilities as well but they are not really relevant here, as everyone does the same job in terms of roving support.
The peer-support Advisers are, or have recently been, library users at the university - this does not mean they have to be current students. As it turned out we mostly recruited current students (1 undergrad, 2 postgrads and 1 recent graduate), but this is just the way it went at interview. Not all of our customers are current students so the definition of "peer" is not as obvious as it might at first seem.
The peer-support Advisers started training in September, ready for the start of term 1 and followed a structured training program alongside some of the training of the established team. They had training reviews in terms 1 and 2 and have given me valuable feedback on ways we could develop Adviser training for the whole team, not just for peer-support Advisers.
The whole team have been recruited for, amongst other things, their combination of customer service and communication skills and web/technology awareness. They also know their way around libraries and are confident and proactive whilst working largely unsupervised.
Training this year has covered a variety of areas, but can probably be broadly divided into 4 parts:
- Customer service issues, including issues specific to roving, how to make face to face referrals and also an awareness of the implications of working with a large proportion of international students.
- Physical aspects of the building(s), such as understanding the stock runs and print collections, knowing where various facilities are located and knowing where different teams of staff are based.
- Technical skills for the role, such as using ipads, accessing e-resources when certain authentication systems aren't working properly, using the full range of library equipment, and searching the catalogue.
- Library systems and staff, including key services, student rules and regulations, the more commonly used policies and who is responsible for what (with relation to referrals as well as authority).
Also - it turns out - it's not all about roving:
Having people available who are not based at a specific service point, but have been trained to have such a broad overview of the service, means that they can be called upon to do all kinds of other things as well. The whole team have been incredibly flexible and willing (often at very short notice) to do just about anything - no matter how involved or how basic from running surveys to staffing marketing stands, supporting groups of schools students, packing freebies in to bags, rolling up posters, delivering impromptu tours for external visitors and more.
The rOverview of this topic can be found in the first post.
Next up: The Tech (what wireless wizardry is required to make roving work?)
Still to come: The Review (how did it go this year?) and The Future (whatever next?)