Niche Academy

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After eleven years of librarianship, I nearly have a memorized script to walk a patron through database access.  And while my library has detailed written instructions to assist patrons with downloading e-books, half the time we also need to do a visual demonstration.  We also experience enough part-time staff turnover to wish for a more streamlined, consistent training schedule.

Niche Academy is a new company focused on creating personalized training for organizations, including libraries.  Idaho Falls Public Library now has courses for accessing Overdrive, OneClickDigital, several databases, and using our library’s catalog. In the future, we will also have a series of courses for policies and procedures, to assist in training new staff consistently.

Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library is also using Niche Academy to train staff on their automated storage retrieval system BARN.  Course topics include safety and selecting books for retrieval. 

For the patron access side, Niche Academy produced all of the videos with just some basic information from our library and a test library card.   Some of the videos are simple demonstrations but others have animations added, like Using the Auto Repair Center.  We also have the option of creating our own content and posting it to our site on Niche Academy’s platform. Eventually, we will incorporate the academy directly into our website but for now it’s still in beta testing with our staff.

While this is still a very new company, I am excited about the potential for creating user-friendly training materials for patrons and library staff alike.