Close reading VI: The reader-friendly library service

Open book

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Chapter six: Staff training in working with readers

This chapter was not particularly relevant to the New Zealand school library setting – most of us have a very small staff (read one or less), so workplace staff training is not a big issue. I also think most of us pride ourselves on knowing our book stock, which is a large part of creating a reader-centred service.

One quote did resonate with me, however, from page 195:

Library staff in front line roles in the UK have always been expected to learn about the process more than the product.

I think that as under-resourced staff, school librarians often get caught up in the processes of their libraries rather than focus on their users. This was a good reminder to keep putting my community at the centre of what I do – not the stuff and how the stuff is organised. It’s also good to question the exisiting processes you have – why are you doing it? is it necessary? does it make a difference to your users? is it for your user or is it “secret library business”?

Let’s focus less on the back room of librarianship and spend more time connecting with our communities.

Actions arising from this chapter:

  • keep reading new acquisitions!
  • encourage student librarians to read new stock and report back / review
  • update policy and procedures manual – ensure all processes are streamlined and necessary


Riel, R. V., Fowler, O., & Downes, A. (2008). The reader-friendly library service. Newcastle upon Tyne: Society of Chief Librarians.


2 thoughts on “Close reading VI: The reader-friendly library service

  1. Yes, I think we do get too caught up in our processes during paid hours and our product, goals, aims, strategies, marketing mostly in our own time or in rushed circumstances.


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