Traineeships: Enriching Lives and Libraries

Trainees bring diversity to a library team, not just in the context of culture but in thoughts, skills, and experiences. Trainees are a great way to create fresh ideas and new talents to a library team and they can also be an opportunity to bring underrepresented parts of the community to the team.

Trainees contribute to the sustainability of libraries in the following ways:

Traineeships offer a structured learning environment where trainees can acquire new skills, gain hands-on experience, and receive mentorship. This investment in their professional development benefits both the trainees and the library, as they become valuable assets to the library ensuring essential skills and work practices continue even as people leave or retire.

Trainees bring fresh ideas and perspectives; new ideas and perspectives can invite positive change and invigorate services. As services and technologies continue to evolve, a trainee might bring new skills and technology expertise to keep services up to date and relevant. For instance, trainees with expertise in data analytics, digital media, or community engagement can help libraries develop these new services while building a skilled workforce.

Traineeships are a strategic solution to staff shortages and help build a pool of talented staff who can step up when the need arises.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: Traineeships are an opportunity to intentionally introduce diversity and inclusion into the library workforce. Libraries that actively seek out trainees from different backgrounds contribute to a more representative and culturally sensitive staff, which in turn fosters a more welcoming environment for patrons. Traineeships are often subsidised by the government providing a cost-effective way to hire new staff. Through investing in trainees and providing opportunities for growth and learning, libraries are more likely to retain these individuals as dedicated and loyal staff members. This cultivates a culture of continuous learning and professional development.

The benefits to libraries and to the individual trainee…. You can customise the training to suit the business. You can train your trainee in ‘your way of doing the job’ increasing your business’s efficiency and productivity and instilling company culture/values. Gain motivated staff members – Often trainees are more motivated and invested in their position throughout the traineeship as they gain new skills and put their knowledge into practice. Trainees have received on-the-job training as part of their program. One advantage they have is that they have learned practical skills and knowledge needed to enter the workforce, so they may already have the capacity to undertake responsibilities for a position, eliminating the need for external recruitment.

This presentation will share the benefits of traineeships and trainees through the personal lens of a trainee who progressed to a qualified Librarian (Rachel) and through the personal experience of a recent trainee (Amy). It will highlight how trainees contribute to the sustainability of the future of libraries and the library profession and helps to promote diversity and inclusion.

Rachel Smith

Young People’s Librarian, Noosa Libraries

Author Bio

Rachel is passionate about all things literacy and the power libraries have to improve the lives of families. Her love of libraries has been a constant throughout her life, always the first place she visits when moving to a new community. Originally, Rachel immersed herself in the world of literature by working in bookstores across both Sydney and Queensland, her life took an exciting turn when, after the birth of her second child, she discovered a council library traineeship opportunity. Being selected for the traineeship inspired her to pursue a librarian degree, it took seven years to complete her degree and she finally qualified in December 22. Today,

Rachel’s commitment to promoting literacy, fostering a love of reading, and creating engaging experiences for young library-goers continues to shine through her work as the Young People’s Librarian at Noosa Libraries. Rachel is living out her dreams hoping to enrich the lives of others through the world of books and libraries. Amy is currently the Library Assistant at Noosa Libraries and works within the Young Peoples (YPS) Team to deliver programs to the Youth of Noosa.

Amy Meredith

Library Assistant – Young People’s Services, Noosa Libraries

Author Bio

Amy recently joined the library sector as a Trainee in March 2022. Prior to that she worked in Private Business Admin and excelled at wrangling three daughters. A skillset that has served her well in her new career. As a trainee, Amy experienced a broad scope of Library Service, including working with collections, events and marketing, young people’s services, and working on the floor providing stellar customer service to community members. Staff support and encouragement played a significant role in boosting confidence and helping to transition into a permanent role as a dedicated Library Assistant for the YPS Team. Amy loves the way that Libraries help people to achieve, empower individuals and make valuable contributions to communities. Not to mention living out her dreams of being a High Five superstar when she does Outreach Events at primary schools and kindergartens. The excited look of 30 under-5s when Librarians rock up to sing songs and tell stories is just delightful!