Clever Gimmick for library induction

During the “How to deliver a memorable library induction” course (see my posts Tips for library induction, my presentation “Find, access and use the Royal Marsden”) I observed my colleagues inductions and presentations.

Some used some very vivid images in order to engage people (see dual-theory concept).

  • A mountain to represent the fact that the library will help you “climbing” through your information need.


  • A maze to represent the complexity of a literature search process and how the library can help guiding through it.


  • A picture of the Parthenon to represent the OpenAthens account (genius!)


What I really liked was the use of a game during the library induction. Basically the librarian had 3 minutes to explain why students should use the library, which facilities are available and she was also able to describe the library team. That sounds pretty boring, however she introduced a clever game element: she asked us to identify 3 lies in her presentation.

This is extremely powerful because we were forced to actively listening to what she was saying. For example one of the lie was the fact the one member of the library team is happy to write dissertations for students. Obviously that was not right but she was able to explain how the library can actually support students during the dissertation time. How clever!

Another librarian showed a set of cards that can be used to interact with people during inductions. These cards have on a side some questions and on the other side a classic library card catalogue image. I really liked the detail!

Some used lovely images of their libraries to introduce services and spaces. In this the audience was able to “visit” the library and imagine to have a tour of it.

Such good ideas! I will use them for sure!


Testing a presentation: Find Use Access the Royal Marsden Manual

As part of the second day of the “How to deliver a memorable library induction” course I had to structure, organise and present a short presentation in front of a group of health librarians.

I decided to work around one of our library e-resource: The Royal Marsden Manual of Nursing Procedures.

First I started developing the content and then I moved to visual impact.

Audience – New qualified nurses joining the Trust

Time – 5 minutes

Three key messages –how to find, access and use the resource (FAU). I simply modified adapted the FRBR conceptual model (never forget your cataloguing principles!).

Tell a story – I used a real story. In one of our recent CQC inspection a nurse has been asked to provide the source of information for a specific procedure: how to remove peripherally inserted central catheters. He replied that the Royal Marsden was the source of information and the inspect asked the nurse to access it. The nurse was able to retrieve the piece of information online. This example needs to engage the audience. What if you had to show an inspector how to retrieve procedures. For this reason the audience needs to know how to find, access and correctly use the resource.

Design – I used PowerPoint and found some nice graphics on FreePik; I modified them using Photoshop.

Clever Gimmick – keep the presentation short; signposting the audience through the presentation (e.g. you are 4 clicks away from the information you need); use positive body language (smile, take pause, stress key words etc).

So this my short presentation:


(Presentation_Royal Marsden PDF version)


  • Colleagues were engaged and they said that my personality had shown through the presentation.
  • I should state that any other information about the resource (=facts) are available in a booklet.
  • People liked the three key concepts, the flow and the compelling story of the CQC inspection.
  • One colleague said that she is going to create a guide for each e-resource using the Find – Access and Use approach. Cool!

Yes, I can be scared about the idea of talking in front of a lot of people. Yes, English is not my first language. However I have to admit that I really enjoy presenting information in front of people, let’s say it is a natural talent.

How to deliver a memorable library induction

I attended a two-day course that explored the golden principles and the dynamics of any presentation or induction of library services.

During the first day we examined and investigated the basics of a good presentation. On the last day we had to create and deliver a presentation in front of our group in order to get feedback and comments.

Library inductions have usually common characteristics: librarians have a maximum of 10 minutes space; they need to compress all the services/resources in that given time; they need to impress a very mixed audience (senior staff, new qualified staff, clinical staff, non-clinical staff etc); they need to attract new users.

That is a big task!

However what I learnt from this course is that a good library induction should follow these principles:

  • Be benefit-led (as opposed to service-led). It’s useless to list endless e-resources without showing real benefit. We need to demonstrate the true value of a service.
  • Less is more. Just forget fully text slides and endless bullet points. Keep it simple: one or two concepts on each slide.
  • Stick to 3 key concepts. It so tempting to compress EVERY SINGLE SERVICE that the library can offer on a presentation, but this structure simply does not work. We need to select a maximum of 3 concepts. If we focus on these people will remember them.
  • Use images / graphics. Visual aids can be a very powerful tool to enhance the impact of your induction. Have you ever heard about the ‘dual coding’ theory? If we synchronise verbal associations and visual imagery you become really persuasive.


    Video / Audio – Photo CC by Florian Pitcher

  • Tell a story! I love this point. Instead of listing facts we should attract people with a story, in this way  we can bring our message alive for our audience. I discovered there are 8 classic storytelling techniques.
    • Do you have to state facts? Put them in a booklet!
    • Use quotations or feedback your library received. People will listen to them.
  • Connect with the audience. Induction day is a very busy and fast-pace time. Try to think how people feel and what they expect. They are now working with new people, in a new place, facing new responsibilities. Show respect for these emotions and offer your support. A simple but persuasive message could relief this stressing time: the library is here for you.

These are great concepts, stick with them and you will win any audience. Need inspirations? Watch some Teds talks.

On the second day I presented my presentation in front of my group: How to use the Royal Marsden Manual.