It has been a long time since I belonged to a living, breathing, get together and eat chocolate and talk literature kind of book club. I’d like to be part of one again someday, but for now, non-work time needs to be focused on dissertation — writing it, defending it; too many y-e-a-r-s of life have been about it; ready to be done.
I do get to be regularly involved with a different sort of book club, however. Every month I participate in a technology book club discussion for MaintainIT. We choose a chapter from one of the MaintainIT Cookbooks and then gather online to discuss it.
I like it as a technology learning format. In the fall of 2003, I published an article in Computers in Libraries magazine called, “Everything you need to know about training you learned in summer reading programs”. I had observed the organization and collaboration and energy that happened around summer reading programs (in large libraries and in small) and wished, Why can’t we do that with technology training?
A lot has happened in the years in between then and now. I love the creativity and innovation happening, with interesting, large-scale technology training programs and smaller efforts, too. One of the very best examples is the influential Learning 2.0 program aka “23 Things”. Helene Blowers has discussed the similarities between 23 Things and summer reading program. Lori Reed wisely pointed out to me that technology book clubs really are like the 23 Things style learning activities. As she said, “the ideal technology training session would always consist of self study followed by an in-person session where learners have the opportunity to ask questions and get a deeper understanding of the technology.”
At NEKLS, we started an online book discussion related to technology titles, too. There are so many possibilities, I think. If you’re doing some sort of technology book club, I’d love to hear about it (in the comments or email me please)!
Trainers will be talking about this idea of using book clubs for technology learning in next week’s MaintainIT train-the-trainer webinar. Sign-up if you would like to join the discussion (it’s free).
And if you’re going to be at the California Library Association conference in San Jose next week, I’ll be presenting on this topic there, too (“Not on Oprah’s List: The MaintainIT Project’s Technology Book Clubs”). Stop by and say ‘hi’!