Summer Reading and Technology Learning

“Everything you need to know about training you learned in summer reading programs: what if technology trainers used some of the paths already forged by summer reading program planners?”
Computers in Libraries | September 1, 2003| Hough, Brenda

It’s 7 years later and I still am wishing for this. I still think we could benefit from more ongoing collaboration around tech training. The 23 Things style programs have done something like this for staff training, but I hear libraries wishing for something for public training, too. I have heard that a few libraries have adopted the 23 things model for public training. I think WJ would be a great place to centralize patron technology training resources.There are resources there for patron training, but assembling them into a program (a summer reading style program)… that would be exciting.

Patron Training, Train the trainer opportunities

Technology Concepts Made Simple – a webinar

I love the Common Craft videos. They so “get it”… the way people learn, the things people need to know to get started, etc. I aspire to be like them in the training I put together, too.

TechSoup for Libraries is hosting a webinar next week, during which Stephanie Gerding will be interviewing Lee LeFever from Common Craft. I think it’s one I don’t want to miss.

The Book

It’s a Conversation

I have spent the morning reading a report about the Mindspot project, from the Aarhus Library in Denmark. If you’re not ready to read the 33 page report (it’s worth your time…), then take a peek at this YouTube video first, Mindspot the Movie: The Library as a Universe.

The project is all about turning the library into an “interesting and relevant partner in the lives of young people.” It is is one of the best examples of being “user-centered” that I have seen. It’s exciting to see this type of approach in practice!

The book I am writing is about creating user centered technology services in libraries and this project represents the ideas I’m trying to express… continuous conversation. Hmm… now I just need to find a way to travel to Denmark to visit this library.


Home Work

I have worked from home for over a year now, so was very interested in Jonathan Mead’s Zen Habits post, “Escape the Cubicle Farm: Top Ten Reasons to Work from Home“. I agree with all of his points and really feel most productive with this lifestyle.

Here’s what I’m up to these days. I’m working on the book right now (manuscript due July 1st) and am also doing some independent consulting (for TechSoup, for the State Library of Kansas, for NEKLS, etc) and have some workshops and presentations scheduled, too (for SWKLS, for SWFLN, for Johnson County, etc). I’ll hopefully be doing some teaching, too,which would be great. It’s going to be interesting, juggling all of these different things instead of focusing on one primary job, so expect more posts about time management and project management over the next months. I’ll be learning as I go!

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing. ~~ Yeats

Patron Training, The Book

Want vs. Need

I’m working on the book and thinking about wants vs. needs. Regarding technology, what do library users need and what do they want? There’s another level to this question, too. What do librarians think users want and what do they really want (and what do librarians think users need and what do they really need)?

I’ve been doing some searching on the topic of want vs. need and see it approached in psychological (think about Maslow’s hierarchy for ex.) and in economic (think about your personal budget for ex.) ways.

The book will cover many aspects of library technology, but since I’m posting this on my training blog, what are user wants and needs regarding library technology training? What classes do they want? What classes do they need? How do you determine those wants and needs?

The patron technology training classes I most frequently see offered are:
– Introduction to Computers
– Introduction to the Internet
– Introduction to Microsoft Word
(often with more creative titles).

They seem like NEED sorts of classes — essential elements of basic technological literacy in 2009. What do you think? Is your library offering classes that are serving wants or needs? Have you done any formal research to determine user wants and needs? Or are the library’s class offerings based on informal knowledge (based on daily interactions with patrons)? Email me if you like or comment here! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Thank you!


Everything Zen

Thanks to Marianne Lenox and the MLxperience for pointing me to Kim Cofino’s blog and recent post, “Less is more — making your presentations zen-tastic!” and link to the Flickr group, Great quotes about learning and change.

Speaking of learning and change, I’ll be finishing my full-time gig with MaintainIT at the end of March and am going to be doing freelance consulting and teaching for a while. I’ll be staying in KC, but am trying to think big and broad as I imagine what this next stage of professional life will look like. Completing a book for Information Today and finishing my dissertation are at the top of the to-do list, but there’s room for more (there’s need for more to make this financially viable and to keep life interesting). As I approach these changes, I am thinking about a post from one of my favorite blogs, which really resonates with me. Hmmm… I’ll keep you posted.


Scheduling Innovation

Charlie Rose recently interviewed Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt. Here’s part of that interview.
Charlie Rose:
“You have this thing at Google where you can take a day off of each week or 20 percent of your time, say, out of 100 percent, five days, one day, and you can work on anything you want to. How much of that has led to interesting, productive profitable applications?”

Eric Schmidt:
“We think the 20 percent time is really the only way we’ve been able to maintain our innovation as we have gotten larger. What normally happens with technology companies is the initial founding team gets older, you bring in traditional management, and although it becomes a better managed company, much of the creativity and the flair and the joy did get lost in the process. By establishing the principal that engineers could spend 20 percent of their time working on whatever they found interesting, we created a culture where there’s this constant flow of innovation. Literally every day there’s another fun surprise. Now, before we get too excited about the 20 percent time, these are engineers. They don’t vary that far from their area of interest. But it gives them an opportunity.”

Imagine spending 20% of your time on innovation. What would you do? How would you spur your brain to think in new ways?


A lost bet, winning ideas

Andrew McAfee lost a bet and is therefore twittering 100 times today. So far, I would say it’s a win for all of us! I was introduced to his tweets by a post from Tim O’Reilly and was enjoying the links to poetry, but really liked McAfee’s lessons learned from teaching and thought I would quote him here:
1. Don’t be afraid of silence in the classroom.
2. Ask clear questions.
3. Trust your students.
4. Be the person who most wants to be in the room.
5. Start on time, end on time.
6. Check your fly.
7. Be more concerned with the destination than the journey.
8. We get smarter via respectful disputation.
9. It’s better to be well rested than well prepared.
10. Most students appreciate being held to high standards.

I like them all, but the one that most captured my attention is #4. The times when I have been at my best in a teaching situation have fit that description. #6 is funny and I would add check your nose, your teeth, your shirtfront. I’m still thinking about #7.


Measure for Measure

I’m preparing for tomorrow’s MaintainIT Book Club discussion. This month we’re talking about the “Evaluations and Metrics” chapter from Planning for Success. I’m dorkishly excited about the topic and the discussion. One of the resources listed in the Cookbook chapter is E-Metrics, which provides free tutorials to help librarians learn how to gather and use statistics and measures in the library.

Trainers may be interested in knowing there are a few tutorials on the E-Metrics site that are specifically related to training, including: