The message from this survey is simple. Training is important but budgets are limited and are likely to be cut. Organisations therefore need value for money. The "value" comes from events that meet the workforce development needs of the organisation. The "money" element is that events must be low cost and provided locally.
It seems obvious that the best way of achieving this is through local consortia of libraries working together to commission and provide training events. A consortium can decide on what training is needed and by working together and sharing resources can achieve cost savings. It is improbable that the "free market" could deliver the sort of specialist and tailored training that we need. It follows from this that library and information services should not just see themselves as consumers of training; they need to work together in partnership to ensure that appropriate low cost training can be provided in their area. Libraries need to set up and support local consortia both financially and by being involved in planning and organisation. Most libraries will have a training plan or policy of some sort and this should include a commitment to supporting local consortia.
I do of course have a vested interest. SINTO is a local not-for-profit consortium of library services that provides training activities. We provide a very successful training programme for our local area but I am concerned that cuts in training budgets will make it more difficult to provide a full range of events. I am not asking for support for SINTO as an act of charity but I am saying that if local library services want local low cost provision of training events to continue they need to see this as something they have responsibility for and should be prepared to become involved. They need to help SINTO identify what training is needed by their organisation and then send staff on these events.
SINTO has traditionally operated in the South Yorkshire and north Derbyshire area. We are keen to attract staff and organisations from a wider region to our events but we are also keen to provide events across the whole of the Yorkshire and East Midlands region. Again, this can only be done in partnership with libraries in this region. SINTO would very much like to hear from local consortia of libraries that are keen to develop local provision of training. Any individual library service that would like to join SINTO or take part in our events should also contact me.
Finally, I have been talking about training events in a traditional way but on-line provision of training will be of increasing importance. I am already in discussions with a local training organisation about on-line training packages covering for example the use of Twitter for libraries.
The current recession and spending cuts makes things difficult for our sector but it should make us focus on what we want and how we can achieve it. Library managers need to think about what is in the best interest of their organisation and take steps to achieve this. Local training consortia are part of the solution and should be developed