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.