Library Offers Training For Staffers
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has launched a unique library training program for BPL staff enrolled at the graduate level in library school in an effort to enhance recruitment efforts, engage firstrate librarians and improve librarian retention rates.
The program’s model is unique to New York City’s public library system and prepares librarians for traditional and nontraditional leadership roles in the profession. The program is staffed with a coordinator who arranges trainee schedules so trainees work side by side with managers of library services in a structured environment, while rotating through different areas of the BPL system. The brainchild of BPL librarians, Jerome Myers and Kenneth Wayne Thompson, who started as trainees themselves, the training program is designed to provide handson training for aspiring librarians.
The BPL Foundation received $25,000 in funding from Independence Community Foundation to supplement the scholarship available for BPL librarian trainees currently enrolled in a Master of Library Science program. Scholarship funds will be disbursed to trainees based on full or parttime credit enrollment status at the beginning of the Fall semester.
Currently, there are 14 BPL em-ployees enrolled in the pilot program. The employees participate in workshops, lectures, discussions and hands-on experience related to their academic train-ing in specialty areas such as funding, marketing, services to the community and multilingual programs and services. This exposure gives trainees an integrated overview of BPL’s operations and helps them to gain an overall understanding of the departments and how they interact with each other.
During the first year, trainees shadow a librarian manager and participate in ‘adult,’ ‘young adult’ and ‘children’s’ services, as well as collection development, preservation and conservation, public service, community outreach, programming and BPL information and technology, including resources.
In the second year, trainees develop skills in library administration and management with a key focus on BPL’S Central and Business libraries.
During the third and final year of the program, trainees will choose their specific area of library service based on the experience of the previous two year. Upon successful completion of the training program and the Master of Library Science degree, BPL intends the librarian trainee to join BPL as a librarian.