Have you ever talked with kids to try and explain to them what a typewriter is? Or a landline? When I started my career in libraries in 1999 my job was to help staff transition from green-screen terminals to PCs. I had no idea how much training this would involve and often sympathized with the struggles people faced learning to use a mouse. 

A lot has changed. Now libraries have makerspaces and virtual storytimes. No one is teaching classes on how to use a mouse anymore. What’s also been amazing is watching library staff go from being the sole users of databases and resources to having tools, like NoveList, designed for both staff and patrons to use. 

One of my favorite training topics has always been how to use NoveList to help find books. It was satisfying to see people’s eyes light up and their TBR lists grow during a training session as they discovered new books that they were so excited about they sometimes left class during a break to go hunt their new reads down. 

Many library staff, like me, fall into training accidentally. Whether you are an accidental trainer or a training pro, here are five tips for you for training staff and patrons on using NoveList. 

5 tips for training NoveList 

  1. Trainer train thyself. The best way to learn NoveList – Use it yourself! After using NoveList for nearly twenty years I still look up every book I read in NoveList to see what story elements are used to describe the book and what the read-alikes are for that title. I just finished Wonderland by Zoje Stage and it’s described as compelling, intensifying, atmospheric, creepy, and menacing. Knowing this helps improve my own vocabulary about books and helps me to learn, really learn, what those terms mean. 
  2. Don’t reinvent the (training) wheel. Take advantage of the plethora of training materials available to you from NoveList:
    • Trainer Guides and PowerPoints – A step-by-step guide for trainers with an accompanying PowerPoint. Ready for you to use.
    • Search Strategies – NoveList's Search Strategy handouts help you tackle your challenging reader questions and library scenarios. In each of NoveList's search strategies, we present a common scenario that you face as a librarian, reader, or parent, and offer several ways to use NoveList to find the books you need.  
    • NoveList YouTube Channel – Whether you are looking for a longer readers’ advisory webinar like our Crash Course series or a short how-to video, the NoveList YouTube channel has you covered. Subscribe to our channel and click the bell to be notified when we upload new content.
    • Scavenger Hunt – A scavenger hunt is a great active learning tool to share with your staff so that they get hands-on, guided practice using NoveList. 
    • The Secret Language of Books – This gem of a book will help you learn the vocabulary of NoveList appeal terms with tips for how to use those appeals in searches. Print a copy for each of your service desks. 
  3. Make NoveList part of your new hire orientation process. Whether you are doing in-person or Zoom orientations of staff and volunteers, it’s easy to give them training on the resource they need to help readers. Choose some of our YouTube videos and add them to a custom playlist for your library’s new hires. Have new staff complete the scavenger hunt linked above.  
  4. Inform your staff about NoveList. Remind them how to access NoveList and encourage them to sign up for our monthly newsletter so they can stay up-to-date with new features and upcoming webinars. Make sure to send this information to new staff and volunteers as well. 
  5. Your patrons want to learn about NoveList too! NoveList training does not have to be reserved just for library staff. Train your patrons on how they can use this reader-focused service too. If you subscribe to NextReads make sure to encourage people to sign up for your newsletters in all of your trainings! 

Want an assist from NoveList with staff training beyond the database? NoveList experts are available for your staff development needs, covering everything from readers’ advisory foundations to promoting your collection. We’re available to help with staff development days or for remote learning sessions. Check out our professional development offerings.

Interested in learning more about our professional development offerings?

Lori Reed is the Marketing Specialist at NoveList. She is currently reading The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.