My recipe for a perfect library induction

3 05 2016

vegetables

Last week I attended a course run by LIHNN (Library and Information Health Network Northwest) and facilitated by Deborah Dalley on ‘How to deliver a memorable induction’.  I was asked to help out by delivering an example of a library induction presentation that wasn’t particularly inspiring.  I delivered some very detailed and dreary slides to the group that were service-focused (rather than customer-focused) in a very uninterested way.  What I thought at first was just an amusing exercise actually really helped me to think more deeply about what a meaningful induction might look like.

Our service has always delivered individual and group inductions and these are usually consist of a general run-down of the services and resources that are on offer from the library.  We’re pretty good at customising the content of the induction to the audience, so for a group of nurses we’ll focus on nursing resources for example, but I don’t think we’ve taken full advantage of this crucial ‘touchpoint’ with potential users of our service or thought properly about what they’ll remember about the library as a result.

Last year we did some work on branding our service, so as a team we have a very clear idea about the brand promise that we want to convey to the end user (“Tailored services in the right place at the right time”), but I think we could go further in conveying our brand in inductions, which are our first, and arguably, most important point of contact with a prospective customer.

My learning points from the course are listed below.  On writing these down, a lot of them seem obvious, but please bear with me…

  • The 3 words that describe how I’d like my induction session to be are ‘unexpected’, ‘engaging’ and ‘impressive’
  • The purpose of my induction is to raise the profile of the library, generate usage, and therefore make a difference to patient care
  • The ultimate message that I want people to leave my induction session with is that ‘using the library will make me a better practitioner’

As tempting as it is to fill a 10 minute induction slot with as much practical information as possible, I thought a lot about the lasting message that I wanted to leave people with. I don’t want them to remember that photocopying costs 5p!  My perfect induction session consists of three simple messages:

  1. Using the library will make a difference to you (it will ensure you are an informed, innovative, progressive and evidence based practitioner)
  2. Using the library will make a difference to the service you deliver (it will ensure you have accurate information on which to base decisions, it will encourage a learning culture and ensure your team is up to date with good practice)
  3. Look at these awesome real life examples that demonstrate how the library makes a difference to other individuals and teams in your organisation!

Within this model, I can mention some library services / resources, but they won’t be the driving force of my presentation.  To make the induction more memorable and engaging, I want to tell the story of some of our customers.  So, there’s my recipe for my perfect library induction; I just need to test it out in practice.  Watch this space!