Year-round support for school library professionals with Oliver v5 webinars


Year-round support for school library professionals with Oliver v5 webinars

Softlink UK’s ‘Year in the Life of the Library’ webinars are a series of informative sessions for school library professionals from all backgrounds, conveniently delivered in an online format by Softlink UK Senior Professional Services Consultant Rhonda Poacher.* Read on to find out more.

Softlink Senior Consultant Rhonda Poacher

Scheduling one or more of the ‘Year in the Life’ sessions in your calendar is a great way to get on top of everything that needs to be done in your library. The sessions address common library concerns in timely, manageable chunks, so you can gradually build your knowledge without overwhelm. As a bonus, you’ll learn tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Oliver v5 system that you can put into practice all year round.

As well as being an experienced Softlink trainer with more than 20 years’ experience, Rhonda Poacher has a background as a professional librarian. In April 2016, she received the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Member of the Month award.

Now based in Softlink’s UK office, Rhonda delivers online training and brings her valuable ‘insider knowledge’ of the library frontline to the technical support team.

We asked Rhonda to tell us more about her ‘Year in the Life of the Library’ webinar series and here’s what we learned.

Rhonda, what’s the concept behind the ‘Year in the Life’ webinars?

The main purpose of the ‘Year in the Life’ series is to look at the library year and the various jobs that need to be done, and how Oliver v5 can help. In designing this training, we had in mind those who have been ‘parachuted’ into the school library with little or no experience, and the advice we could give them on how their school library might work.

I had previously developed a Librarian’s Toolbox with information and guides to using core functions in Oliver v5. Library staff who used the Toolbox told us it was helpful to be guided through everyday tasks like processing loans, returns, and cataloguing.

For the ‘Year in the Life’ series, we also made sure to include information on more advanced topics, such as stocktake and collection development, weeding, selecting items for promotion, reporting and statistics, that will be valuable for school library professionals at any stage of their career.

What content do the webinars cover?

The sessions cover core processes and procedures in Oliver v5, which are an important part of running a school library. These include the stocktake process, end of year updating of student borrower records, how to issue overdue notices, and how to generate statistical and analytical reports.

We also look at some more theoretical aspects of school libraries, such as tips for marketing the school library, building collaborative relationships, collection development and school library advocacy. In addition, some sessions highlight software updates and issues of relevance from the school library world at large (e.g. GDPR and record keeping).

Who should attend the webinars?

We’ve designed these webinars to be useful for all school library professionals, from the beginner or volunteer library assistant, who is responsible for very specific tasks like running overdue notices, right through to the highly experienced library manager who may have been using Oliver software for years.

The webinars can be taken as a complete series, with each session focused on a specific set of topics relevant to key times in the school year. It’s also easy to just ‘dip in’ and take a session as required.

For each session there are multiple dates and times available that we hope can accommodate most busy schedules. If you are interested but unable to attend on the scheduled date, you should still register to receive a recording that you can review at your own pace at any time.

Is Oliver v5 the only software covered in these webinars?

These sessions focus mainly on Oliver v5; however, we sometimes include brief demonstrations of LearnPath, Softlink’s new information curating tool, which provides a valuable complement to the Oliver v5 system. LearnPath integrates seamlessly with Oliver v5 and enables users to present their library resources in an organised, enticing format that encourages staff and students to use the school library more often.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We’ve been running the ‘Year in the Life’ webinars for the past two years and feedback has been fantastic, so I think the content and format are meeting a real need among our customers.

We are constantly revising the webinars and adding useful content throughout the year, so even if you’ve attended one or more of these webinars before, you can still benefit from revisiting the series in the new school year.

I really want to help users discover features in Oliver v5 that they may not have even considered previously, and also to demonstrate new enhancements and developments in frequently used aspects of the product.

Make sure you visit our events page to register for any webinars that interest you. The sessions are recorded, so even if you are unable to attend on the day your registration means we’ll email you a link to the recording to review at your leisure.

That said, the live events give you a chance to ask questions as they occur to you via the webinar chat tool and also make you feel you’re really a part of the Oliver v5 community, so it’s well worth participating in real time. We offer each ‘Year in the Life’ Webinar up to three times, so we do hope users will be able to attend a live event.

Find out more and register for webinars

If you’d like to participate in Rhonda’s ‘Year in the Life’ webinars or find out what topics are being covered in 2019 and the dates and times of available sessions, please visit the Events page of the Softlink website or email Rhonda at

* Rhonda’s webinars are scheduled according to European time zones and are open to all Softlink’s customers globally. Our APAC Customer Support Team and Customer Community Manager also offer webinars that cover similar topics at times that are better suited for our Southern Hemisphere users.

To view all the available sessions in each geographical zone, select your preferred region from the drop-down menu labelled “Region” in the top right corner of any page of the Softlink website, then visit the Events page or email any enquiries to

Editor’s note: This post was originally published January 2018 and has been updated January 2019 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehension.