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Not everyone who walks into the library knows where to go or what to do to find what they need. So, regardless of the type or topic of their question, they ask the first person they see. When this happens to you, you have a choice: you can simply answer the question or you can take advantage of the "teachable moment." Teachable moments are those everyday opportunities to help visitors learn a little more about how to use the library.

In this course you will learn tips and tricks for imparting how-to information quickly and effectively. We'll talk about the WIIFM (What's In It For Me) aspects of successful teachable moments and provide practical techniques for handling new situations as well as scripts for responding to frequently asked questions. You will gain the skills you need to turn questions into satisfying on-the-spot learning interactions for you and the library user.

Workshop Description: In this all-day, hands-on workshop, you will learn that every teachable moment is both a customer service situation and a learning transaction with a beginning, middle, and end. We will discuss and share strategies on ways to be clear, how to be comforting when referring, how to deal with different kinds of learners, when to create cheat sheets and visual aids, and how to use them. There will be ample time to discuss common library issues and practice how to handle repeating and complicated situations that come up in your library.

Pre-workshop assignment: (Optional) Please bring two or three examples of visual aids, maps, or instructions you currently use with customers at your library. They can be good or bad examples. Either will help facilitate discussion and generate ideas ; )

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • Common Teachable Moments
    • Making the best use of teachable moments for you and for the user
    • A personal script for comfortably setting limits
  • The Teachable Moment as a Transaction
    • Welcome
    • Find the need
    • Solution
      • Do it for them?
      • Teach them to do it?
      • Refer?
    • Close the transaction
  • Handling Repeating Questions
    • Creating scripts
    • Using visual aids
  • Design a Visual Aid for Your Common Repeating Question

Workshop Instructor: Cheryl Gould