Cheap Training Tip #1: Love Your Librarian

One of the first questions I ask any trainer or teacher looking to design a new program is “who’s your favorite librarian?” And if they don’t have an immediate answer, we need to talk. You see, librarians are some of the most informed and creative resources you have available to you, so if you’re looking for ideas, or help tapping into resources in your local community, do not pass “GO” but immediately go to your local library and take a librarian out for coffee.

Librarians are not only linked up with the most current literature but they are also linked up with your local community. And they are right there, waiting for you to approach them and ask to collaborate with them.

If you are looking for help identifying the most current – or even classic – literature on a subject, just stop in, outline your project, and most credible librarians will work on it and get back with you with an up-to-date bibliography. I always marvel at the ability of a good librarian to sift through the junk (if there is such a thing in the literary world, forgive me) and hone a solid list down of literature that fits my bill. Looking for short reads, as in articles for your educational programs? Outline that need to your local librarian and he or she will guide you to the best periodicals that will get you what you need. If they can’t actually do the work for you, they will most certainly lend you a hand, get you pointed in the right direction, and help you out as much as possible.

One component I wanted to add to a leadership program was a book club. I wanted to be able to break my group of 20 participants into small groups, assign each group a book to read, and then have each group present to the larger group about key concepts, ideas and principles pertaining to leadership that they garnered from the read. My local librarian was able to help me create a list of both classic and contemporary literature on leadership for my reading groups. He even helped me order the books for purchase.

Because they now know that I am always looking for inspiring, informative and interesting guest speakers, at a discount price, my local librarians keep me in the loop when they hear of new authors and speakers in the community. I am in debt to my librarians for hooking me up with local authors and speakers who I would never know about on my own.

By now you have the idea. Create a relationship with your library and the staff at your library. Brainstorm with them. Ask them for their ideas. Use their expertise. Involve them as much as you can. You will, without a doubt, come up with some excellent “cheap tricks” you can implement in your training programs. Email me and let me know what you come up with!

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Robert Domaingue

Karen, wonderful advice. Could you share your leadership workshop – books you used and how the group responded – with the GovLeaders group?

Karen Main

Absolutely. I’m blogging all of the workshops, resources and techniques I use in my leadership development programs here on Govloop and on my website. So more to come!

Karen Main

Hi Peggy. Please know that the “cheap tricks” moniker refers to my tips on how to save money on training and in no means suggests any reference to library science! If it’s not apparent by my blog, I have tremendous respect for librarians…

Midori Raymore

This is a great reminder of how valuable our local library can be. Thanks! Have you ever heard of DearReader.com? Suzanne is a librarian’s and a book lover’s best friend? She sent me back to the library 7 years ago when I was in a rut book wise.