California State Library offers engaging workforce training videos to California libraries

Those who work in California libraries know that keeping up with change in the library field, and providing customers with the best possible service, have tested even the best library managers and staff.  The California State Library (CSL) has joined with the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System to help California library staff meet the challenge of change in the 2006 library workplace.  

Thanks to a federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, the CSL now offers California libraries employee training videos/DVDs that address not only general workforce issues like change management, motivation, diversity, customer service, and leadership, but also library-specific topics.  The collection has films that speak to events library workers face every day–the reference interview, marketing the library, leading kids to books, developing support staff, collection development, and so on.

California State Library training videos/DVDs are diverse and engaging.  One of the most popular general films is Give ‘em the Pickle, about an ice cream parlor owner who serves up the most important aspect of any service business:  taking care of the customer.  Employees get the scoop on effective customer service with this humorous training tool.  Whale Done, filmed on location at Sea World, shows coworkers, managers, and employees that if they build positive relationships, they will become more productive, achieve greater results, and create an environment in which everyone is genuinely excited about the work they are doing. 

The collection’s library-specific videos enhance library customer service.  Library As Place: Where People Want to Be, for example, is one of the College of DuPage teleconference programs through which public and academic libraries seek to transform their image from a “building with books” to a community center “where people want to be.”  In Conducting the Reference Interview, viewers learn the stages of a reference interview and the behavior necessary to answer a customer’s question successfully.  Uncovering a customer’s true information needs may require a little probing and this video tells library staff how to do it tactfully.

People who work for California libraries may easily order California State Library training videos.  Customers should contact Vera Nicholas at for a list of available films, then give their library’s Interlibrary Loan Department the title (and the date they need it).  The Interlibrary Loan Department staff then forwards the customer request by phone at 916-654-0206, by email at, or through usual OCLC procedures.

Please remember that due to licensing agreements, these videos/DVDs are only for library staff and not for lending to library customers. The CSL will send the films to customers via traceable carrier such as FedEx, UPS, or Golden State Overnight, and it’s very important that customers return them to the CSL in the same way.  These videos have been extremely popular, so please be aware that other libraries may be waiting for customers to return them.

For more information contact the CSL State Information and Reference Center at 916-654-0206 or email




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