Over the last two days I've participated in four different training classes at the UC Berkeley Library and have gotten to know four different personalities, four different teaching styles, four different target groups, and four different disciplines. Here are the 10 tips I've discovered for myself:
1. Be personal. If time allows, include an opportunity to make a personal connection to participants. This way you give the library a face and make it easier to participants to contact the library later on. Ideally, the training class is just the beginning of long-term research advising.
2. Agree on simple hand signals with participants so that they can let you know if they already know something, if something is off topic for them, or if they don't understand something.
3. Gear the training class specifically towards this group. Find out about the participants' exact topics in advance and gear your training towards them.
4. Don't hand out tons of paper, but prepare material. A "Research Guide" specially created for the training on the library website shows participants the resources that are valuable for them and that they are important to the library.
5. Be authoritative and incorporate the training into lessons with the instructor or lecturer. In an ideal scenario, the participants would receive a task at the end of the class that is binding for their degree, their seminar or their class, and that is based on library resources.
6. Allow time for individual topics. Include time for personal research during training and advise directly. Provide the "one-time" opportunity for a librarian to research their topic for them and spontaneously demonstrate this research.
7. Be specific. Small tasks give participants the opportunity to directly apply what they have heard. In doing so, alternate between teamwork at the computer, questions that reflect upon the results, and tasks to be conducted independently. Make these blocks short and discuss them afterwards.
8. Be spontaneous and change your routine. Give participants the opportunity to discuss things that they have never understood about the library or "scary topics" in the research process.
9. Be present even outside of training classes. Whenever you find a topic that could be interesting for academic work, research or similar tasks, post it on your website – e.g. in a film. Write about what you are doing and be present outside of training classes with online materials or the like.
10. Discover your own style – and find the right balance between openness and clarity in your lessons.