Breakthrough Library Training

Library work is changing and staff need new skills. On the shop floor, customer care is becoming customer engagement while traditional displays are being replaced by retail-style merchandising.

Frontline Standard

5 short courses which together set the standard for everyone working directly with readers and books. Choose the courses most relevant to your training needs; you can mix and match as you like.

Frontline Professional

For library managers who are ambitious to change library practice. Projects, strategy, outreach – everything you need to strengthen the impact of the library in the reading community.

Frontline Basics

A fast introduction to customer care in the library context, this course is designed for new staff and volunteers but can also make a welcome refresher for core staff. In just one month, learners will explore and apply tried-and-tested ideas to improve the library customer experience. The course takes four hours to do over four weeks with new practice tried out as part of day-to-day working in between sessions.

Frontline Basics is guaranteed to raise skills, confidence and spirits. It empowers learners to understand the importance of their role and to use their own creativity to promote the service.

Course contents

Week One:
The Welcome – practical steps to ensure every visitor feels welcome, plus understanding the importance of first impressions of the space and the service.

Week Two:
The Wow factor – how to create a dynamic showcase area to impress customers with the library offer.

Week Three:
The Workaday – building daily routines for active engagement with people and with books to bring the library alive.

Week Four:
The Win – maintaining everything you've learned to improve the customer experience, making a win for you, your visitors and your library.

Learning outcomes

On Frontline Basics staff will:
  • Learn how to make every visitor feel welcome in the library
  • Understand how to ensure that customers and their needs are the first priority
  • Gain confidence in mentioning events and services in conversation with visitors
  • Become active promoters of library and council offers
  • Take steps to de-clutter the entrance
  • Explore which books to pick for a showcase display
  • Build a merchandising routine into day-to-day work off desk
  • Participate in online discussion with colleagues in other libraries
  • Post photos and comments about two areas of their library to show how they are now more welcoming


  • The learner completes self-assessment exercises online and posts contributions to the discussion board which is mediated by Opening the Book.
  • When everything is complete, the learner can print their own certificate. An automatic email can be sent to a named manager to inform them of successful completion.

Efficient e-learning

  • Online courses offer great convenience and value. There’s no travel cost, no venue cost and 4 hours of online time can be scheduled in 15-30 minute slots at any time to suit.
  • Free management tools on the Frontline Dashboard enable your Frontline Administrator to allocate individual staff to courses, check their progress, amend any learner details and see who is doing which course at a glance.
  • Staff in different branches can share online discussions and feel part of a learning community.
  • Our course websites are designed and maintained entirely in-house. That is how we are able to answer technical questions within 24 hours. Navigation is easy and intuitive and learners simply need access to the web and an email address. You can check the technical requirements that need to be in place to use the course website here.

Sample the approach

Frontline Basics takes staff through practical steps to improve the first impression of their library and to make every visitor feel welcome. It supports staff to take an active role in promoting a wide range of library services and understanding their role as the first face of the council as well. Relevant, practical and fun, this course addresses the training needs of library services under pressure who need to deliver impact with less time and resource than we used to have.

Here are some examples of the content to give a flavour of the approach and an idea of what the course asks learners to do in the workplace.

How to buy places on Frontline Basics

Learners can start the course whenever they are ready. The course is designed to be taken in 4 consecutive weeks with one hour per week of of online work and skills applied as part of day to day routines in the library.

You can buy places in advance and then allocate them in any month you choose. Complete our easy Order Form and we’ll send you an invoice. You can choose to pay online from your bank account or by credit card. Once payment is received, we will email a log in and password to unlock your course places.

5 places cost £250
Just £50 per head

10% discount on 20+ places. 20% discount on 30+ places. All prices are quoted exclusive of VAT.