I’ve been thinking about loneliness lately. I’ve read about the U.S. Surgeon General’s recent advisory warning of the health risks of loneliness and how many libraries still see a decline in visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Others have written about the connection there. As the Learning Engagement Specialist at NoveList, I can see a solution – skilled library staff can create powerful connections with their community.    

Take for instance, recommending books. This is a service many libraries provide without a second thought. It is, however, a powerful way to connect with readers. Library staff need to make personalized reading recommendations quickly and easily. Books tailored to individuals' interests and preferences can provide them with a sense of connection and purpose. Those brief social interactions, with friendly, helpful staff, are known to provide great benefit to those who engage in them. 

Library marketing skills are also invaluable. They ensure staff can effectively promote the library’s myriad programs and services. Marketing the library can help combat loneliness by providing individuals with opportunities for meaningful connection, social interaction, and engagement in community activities. Emphasizing the library's role as a place for connection and camaraderie can encourage people to visit and participate in activities, reducing feelings of loneliness.  

And we know that thriving libraries are a welcoming and inclusive space. From collection management to accessible promotions to policy development, library staff must feel empowered and equipped to make a positive impact on their community.  

How can your library staff become proficient in these important skills and help combat loneliness? Ongoing professional development for library staff can play a crucial role. Besides enhancing staff skills, professional development increases staff awareness of community needs, and fosters empathy and understanding.  

At Learn with NoveList, our staff development service offering in-person and virtual training, we focus on the power of reader engagement, inclusivity, and library promotion. With a variety of courses, available to individuals, groups, and even entire libraries, library workers can use their new skills to create positive experiences with their communities.  

Staff training is also an opportunity to support the well-being of library workers through peer learning and interacting with instructors. Whether in-person or virtual, we strive to make Learn with NoveList courses interactive. Many of our virtual trainings include live sessions where participants can engage with fellow learners and build a supportive professional community.  

The new Staff Access Subscription is the most cost-effective option to train all staff. This format provides access for all staff members to a catalog of over 20 courses. Staff can access courses that interest them based on their schedule and they get immediate access to new courses as they are launched. We also have options for individuals, group purchases, and live training.  

Skilled library staff play a vital role in fostering connections within their communities. Let us help you equip your library staff with the tools they need to make a positive impact.