Training was the specific focus of half the pilot project and necessary for the circulation projects to get off the group as well. Below is the tips distilled from the participants final reports.

General Tips

  • Develop clear objectives for each training session.
  • Create interactive and fun training opportunities.
    • “Many people have a fear of technology. Through our digital petting zoo in November at the all staff day we gave staff a real opportunity to play around with devices in a low stress environment. This helped pave the way for a more positive perception of the media training kit.”—Public Librarian
  • Bring in third party experts.
    • “Hold group training sessions, especially facilitated by experts (e.g., our first training session was a set of OverDrive webinars and training on Nooks from Barnes & Noble consumer relations representatives); we devoted a second staff development day to the project, answering questions and pointing to training resources.”—Public Librarian
  • Follow the instructions found online to assure each step functions in the expected manner.
  • Include smart phones and tablets in trainings in addition to stand-alone eReaders.

Staff Training Tips

  • Offer multiple small group trainings if there is limited access to devices.
    • “We held two training sessions for all library staff in the county. This was helpful for us in practicing our presentations and helpful for them in getting an introduction to our devices. We had a show and tell session where we are able to get a look at other devices from them as well.”—Public Librarian
  • Create an online training website or shared drive with resources that staff can access at any time.
    • “We added useful information about our eReaders and using them with our eReader vendor. We included such items as handouts, news articles, and promotional materials.”—Public Librarian
  • Create training kits to send to staff meetings.
    • “Providing as many staff as possible with a chance for hands on practice worked very well for us. Creating a temporary training kit that went to every library’s staff meeting, and at the end of the summer will be broken in to its components for staff to reserve for further practice provided a good balance of formal learning environment and personal time to play and learn.”—Public Librarian
  • Provide all staff with the opportunity to practice using eReaders and read ebooks.
    • “Allow staff members to take home eReader devices to ‘play’ with on weekends. When they become more familiar with the devices they are more willing to speak up to help patrons.”—Public Librarian
    • “If you don’t have an eReader that you are using on an ongoing basis, it is hard to remember the basics and many patron questions are beyond the basics.”—Public Librarian
  • Create training accounts for staff who do not wish to create several new personal accounts just to complete training.
    • Training accounts are possible for Adobe ID, Amazon and My EbscoHOST.
  • Schedule designated training times to produce better results for group, peer to peer, and individual trainings.
    • Specific training times off the desk encourage individuals to work with devices.
    • “I would not be quite as flexible as I was with the training schedule. It’s easy for staff to put off learning something new.”—Public Librarian
    • “Take the time to walk each person through the eReader in order to make the most of their experience. A number of people were initially intimidated by the devices, but once they were introduced one on one, they felt considerably better about their ability to use it.”—Public Librarian
  • Have a check off list of specific skills for staff to master and then spot check to see if additional help is needed to learn the various skills.
  • Designate a staff “expert” so that staff knows who is comfortable and capable of answering their questions.
    • “Our first plan was to have the original trainers train three staff members and then to have those three train three more and so on. This didn’t work very well as some important information was lost in translation. Also there was no way of tracking how well the staff members learned how to use the device. We changed our method of training to each staff member getting a training session with the original instructor; then having time to use the device on their own (about a week) and then again at the end of the ‘checkout’ time have a follow-up session with their instructor.”—Public Librarian
    • “Three staff members researched the devices and trained themselves on using the various devices and Overdrive. Those three then trained other staff and helped patrons at open houses and scheduled trainings.”—Public Librarian

Patron Training Tips

  • Recruit and train adult volunteers to assist at public training events.
    • “We were able to recruit and train 3 adult volunteers who have acted as ‘Download Ambassadors’ at our public e-reader download events. These events have been well attended and fun. We’ve received great feedback.”—Public Librarian
  • Create a quick reference sheet for each device covering basic operations, the download process, and management of titles.
    • “I created a double sided sheet for each device which was laminated and included in our media training kit. I plan to make these sheets available to our patrons once I receive feedback from staff.”—Public Librarian
    • “We wrote step-by-step instructions for the public for each device with our library’s details such as website and access method written into them. The instructions lead customers completely through downloading an eBook from OverDrive. They are kept at the circulation desk and the reference desk for easy access for customers and staff. They are also available on our website. The ongoing updating of these instructions, based on feedback from library trainees, has made them more useful to both staff and the public.”—Public Librarian
  • Before handling a patron’s personal device, ask permission to demonstrate on it.


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Funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).