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Creating Your Corporate Training Library

LIBRARIES.  I don’t know if you can refer to collections of games, training courses, and toys as a “corporate training library,” but I can’t think of a better word for these essential assortments of tools and resources.

What is a library anyway?

I worry that the word “library,” may be polarizing. When you were a kid, were you one who relished getting lost in stacks? Or, did you find the endless shelves a tad overwhelming? As a child, I found reading difficult and libraries somewhat intimidating. Nevertheless, in college, I came to love the quiet rooms, comfy chairs, and rich resources of the library.

Best of all, libraries were a place I could go to borrow stuff, for free! A place where exhaustive collections were assembled so people could have easy access to necessary materials, on-demand!

Curating a Corporate Training Library

Now, as President of Trainers Warehouse, I’ve become a curator of tools for training. I search around the world for items that will enrich corporate learning experiences, wondering what I can add to our collection and how I can make your libraries more robust and effective. We started out selling dozens of books with hundreds of tips, game ideas, and creative training techniques. Over the years, we added fewer books, but more training courses, learning games, and fidget toys to create an ultimate training library.

Library Essentials

Today, well-stocked libraries still have a sea of books. They also have audiobooks, DVDs and Blu-Rays, videogames, magazines, and tablets. Some even have a “library of things,” through which they loan out board games, musical instruments, puzzles, craft supplies, and household items. I suppose a library, then, can be whatever the librarian wants it to be! For those just starting to assemble their corporate training library, these are my recommendations:

  • Fidget toys – A range of manipulatives can help learners stay focused. Be sure you have selections for different sized hands and tactile preferences (hard/soft; solid/stretchy; squeeze/flex; etc.)
  • Games – Trainers need lots of games both because they don’t want groups to play the same game twice and because every game should address a specific learning goal.
  • Card DecksDecks continue to proliferate. Rather than writing books, many consultants are bundling their games, tips, and tools into bite-sized nuggets that can be used and applied one-at-a-time, in the form of a card deck.
  • Participation tools – Buzzers and answer boards are great for your collection. Because meeting essentials like these can be costly and you might not need them every day, borrowing and sharing is ideal.
  • Conversation startersThumballs and chat decks are fun but you don’t want to use the same one every time. New prompts will keep the experience fresh. Build a collection so you mix it up and enjoy a bit of variety.

Know your Audience

While some may be assembling “private collections” of training materials, corporate training departments should consider a broader reach for their libraries. Hybrid work schedules, smaller training events, and peer-to-peer or manager-to-employee training events are growing in popularity. New “non-trainer trainers” are stepping into the position without the background, tricks, and resources of trained performance-improvement professionals. To equip their non-trainer trainers, corporate training librarians need to expand their holdings beyond reading materials. Libraries full of playful training resources will entice peer mentors, managers, and coaches, to seek out those tools, and make organizational learning more innovative, effective, and fun.

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