reading matters, so let's make public library reader services awesome!

Opening the Book across Australia?

I finally caught up with the March Incite article featuring Anne Downes and Rachel Van Riel of UK’s Opening the Book readers advisory staff development program and its success in Victorian libraries (volume 35, issue 3, page 14).

Some impressive statistics from this collaborative initiative between State Library of Victoria and the Public Libraries Victoria Network  include:

  • 1000 staff from all 47 public library services in Victoria participated over three years
  • From a sample of 300, 94% used all the opportunities the course offered to talk with patrons and they recorded quality feedback.
  • 76% of staff felt more confident to talk positively about books they disliked or wouldn’t choose to read themselves.

I have long been inspired by the foresight of this plan, and the strong support Victorians have for staff development, with the recognition that although this takes money and time, the economic and social benefits to their communities outweigh the inputs.



2 comments on “Opening the Book across Australia?

  1. alisonwrote
    May 27, 2014

    Thanks harps. It’s so good to hear that about readers services training – the benefits for the community, the library, and for staff.

  2. comrade harps
    May 27, 2014

    I did Opening the Book or Frontline and it was a buzz. A real learning process that has lead myself and many colleagues into greater activity in promoting our library’s collections. It’s good for staff morale and I’ve spoken with customers who look forward to checking out our book displays. It’s always a delightful challenge to come up with new display themes and in the process learn more about the collection and what interests people. You can really get a part of the collection that isn’t moving to go out with a really simple display that also brightens up the place using just the book covers. I highly recommend it.

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