24 April 2008
17 April 2008
Technology Training for library staff: Creativity works
Maurice Coleman and Annette Gaskins from Hartford County public library from Maryland spoke about a specific project, the "petting zoo" that they ran to introduce their staff to new technology. And Sarah Houghton-Jan, the Librarian In Black!, discussed the benefits of a coordinated effort at staff training.
1st up were Maurice and Annette, who are both trainers for their library system. The state of Maryland gave a mandate for all public libraries staff to learn about Library 2.0, based upon the PLMC model. We learned that Hartford County has a diverse population from urban to Amish (they even have a hitching post at one of their libraries!) Maurice and Anette were tasked with a way to introduce the library staff to Library 2.0 concepts, before they did the Library 2.0 PLMC model (23 things to learning about Library 2.0). The goal was to introduce the staff to the basics were before discussing them more in depth.
The librarians at their libraries, didn't understand new technology, such as Facebook, Youtube, etc. that their users were asking about. Some staff just wanted to be able to keep up with their own kids. Anette and Maurice began by conducting a survey of the staff to find out what they wanted to learn and what couldn't be covered in the regular training sessions that they provided to library staff.They decided to go with the "petting zoo" model, which is where people have a chance to hear and play with the tools. Why this model? It provided the staff with a laboratory setting to play with the devices that they would be learning about in the Library 2.0 concepts. They trained all public service staff (required) and most of the support staff. One of the major challenges was that they had to do this without disrupting public services.
The first steps:
They had the support of the administration, who required all public services staff to attend and strongly encouraged others. More importantly they had visible support. The managers even participated in the training, and they have pictures to prove it! They even paid the PT staff to come in! Get people to buy into the program and get them excited about. Get them to talk about it with each other. It was decided that the best time to do this training would be on Wed. mornings when most of the library branches didn't open until after 12. The program was a half-day training, which included one hour of lecture and two hours of hands on activities. With the day and time chosen they divided people into groups of 6. Each group had twenty minutes at each of the 6 stations.
They decided that they would have six different workstations for staff to try out:
What did they expect the staff to learn? A couple of the main points were:
To have an introduction and be comfortable to working with new things
A chance to try hands on activities--many things they only had the equipment for just the day of the event
And of course to learn about library 2.0
Each station had at least two trainers to be available and answer questions. They had a station master who was in charge of presenting and station staff that could help answer the questions. These were people that were knowledgeable about what they were speaking on and could answer questions that might arise. One thing that the library did was partner with a big box store, Best Buy, that not only provided resources--such as TVs, etc, they also provided staff that were available to help answer questions. Best Buy actually approached the library in this case and asked what they could do. They were able to secure monitors and flat screens to use for the day. They suggested that libraries talk to these stores, see what they could offer. Many offer community outreach and maybe able to help out.
They had host/hostesses that helped guide groups to the stations and provide additional support.
Most importantly they had "geek" and facility support. These were people that helped ensure that everything was in working order. To find people to station masters and staff they tapped into the people in the organization who were early adopters, aka "technology people by default." They utilized natural tech people and library trainers. They also tapped into their younger staff like pages and clerks. In the academic world I'm imagining this being able to work with student assistants or maybe even patrons that frequent the library! And don't forget the "curious learner" those that like to learn about everything. These people can be your best allies in training.
Space, you can never have too much of it. Find as much as you can with plenty of parking. You need space to move, space to hear, and space to play. Most importantly you need space with a good electronic infrastructure, internet access and plenty of electric outlets. Make sure that there is a good "flow" to the room and that people aren't bumping into each other. If you use gaming you may want to have it in a separate area since it can be kinda of loud.
Make sure that you have all of the equipment that you need, including computers, keyboards, mice, plugs, extension cords, etc., etc. Borrow from your sister counties see if you can pool resources together. Make sure everything is labeled so that it gets back to the right person. IT staff will remember what you borrowed from them! If you have projectors, make sure you have projection surfaces that work! They showed green walls where they couldn't see what was being used, so they improvised with bed sheets and paper.
Most importantly--do a dry run! Set it up make sure it works, and then test again! Make sure everyone whose going to be there knows how the equipment works and how to do troubleshooting.
The Big day!
One thing that they didn't think about was breaks, food, or drink. They were lucky in that someone could go grab food and drink. In the future they would plan for that. And have more people to help step in so that someone could have a break. You can never have too many people. Make sure that there are seating options for those that can't stand and that everything is labeled. Which way to go, how to get to places, and anything else that they might need to know.
Make sure that you have good team skills and personalities working together. Make sure staff schedulers know that staff need time for lunch and time for breaks after training. Communicate again and again, about where people need to be, what time they need to be there, and so on.
Patience is a virtue. The other shoe will drop, learn to let go and let the chips fall where they may. Make sure that you have troubleshooters identified to help handle the problems. Make sure people know where to go, how to get there, and what to do when they get there.
Document the "zoo" as you go along! Blog, photograph, survey, anecdotal. What did they learn? Now staff can truly engage patrons about new technology. They've started new 2.0 projects to use in the library, such as a wiki and a del.icio.us account. It took 4 to 5 months to put together, but was considered a success.
Next up was the Librarian in Black!
Sarah talks about technology training for staff on a large scale. As it stands know the users know more than the librarians. Why the lack of coordinated effort? Because of the size of the project and costs. First up, why should you train staff? She discusses a number of different reasons, such as saving money, increasing staff petition rate, improving customer service, increase productivity, and so on.
What does it take to do this type of training? Time and Money! Libraries should be ready to devote significant amounts of both to do this type of training. You need to be able to attend training sessions and conferences that will continue to improve staff skills.
When planning for training start with staff competencies. What do they need to do their job? Most importantly make sure that one person doesn't become the "tech pack mule" someone that has to stop what their doing to answer everyone's questions, all the time. This will help prevent these people from leaving, which is not what you want to happen. Figure out what staff need! Do they need to know how to forward e-mail? How to do word processing? Create a list of what's needed. Do an assessment to determine what's needed. This helps create job descriptions, with performance evaluations, helps create expectations for all staff and create consistent customer service.
Get your staff to buy in and use their input! What are the challenges to this? Make sure that everyone is kept informed about what's going on. The managers must follow the project plan. Hold a brainstorming party. Reward people! Have fun!
Have a taskforce that helps plan this with people from all levels. Use this time to determine how the library fits into the community in teaching technology. Make sure that the competencies determine who learns what, how it relates to their jobs, and has space for comments. Most important make sure that their is ongoing learning! Libraries should never stop learning. Provide a glossary of terms. Create this on paper and create it online. An important step, make sure you talk to the person currently in the job about what skills they think they need and then talk to management.
Make sure you determine how you're going to assess the training. Who reviews the results? IMPORTANT! Give the training coordinator the authority and credibility to tell the person that they need to go to a certain training session, even if they think they don't. You have to have the backing of supervisors and management. Deadline is important with assessment. Review the results and work with the supervisors to create training needs for each person.
Have scheduled learning time. Training is essential!! Make sure you have sufficient budget, funding and time to accomplish this. Start with the basic topics first, such as how to use a computer. Open up trainings to all staff. If the person feels that they need to go, let them go. This is where it is very important to have the support of management to get someone to go to a training session.
Have unscheduled learning: book, article, blogs, online tutorials, field trips to see what other nearby libraries are doing, watching podcasts, webcasts, etc. Have on the spot peer training. This is where the tech person can come in handy. They aren't having to answer all questions, but just a few.
To help staff to continue to learn:
Give staff 15 minutes a day to study/learn
Schedule 1 off desk hour for self study
Encourage conference/lecture attendance
Share online tutorials, printed materials, demos
Have prizes. Encourage learning. Use real world experiences. Do a continual reassessment of the project. What will be needed next? Are there are other ways to do this? Make sure you have ways to meassure success, and what happens if people don't meet the goals they are supposed too. Just as their should be rewards, there should be consequences as well. This is again where its important to have the support of managers. It may require a demotion, transfer, pay cut, or in worst cases--firing.
Make sure you celebrate the successes! Do something out of the ordinary!
13 April 2008
Preconference David Lee King/David Free
David Lee King and David Free are both dynamic speakers. They turned what could have been a very boring presentation into a lively animated one, eagerly answering questions that were thrown their way and allowing the audience to participate in hands on demonstrations of how to actually make a podcast and videocast.
The workshop began with a very lively discussion on why should we podcast or videocast? I know I was caught a bit off guard with the person that thought that they didn't have much value. The individual pointed out, correctly, that they weren't great for getting that quick information that so many of our users sought and that you had to wait for it to come to you. However, it was quickly pointed out where they do have their value: oral histories, story times, demonstrations of services offered, commercials for libraries, etc.
David Free was first up to discuss podcasting (slides from presentation)
We began with watching Ask a ninja: What is podcasting?
Then David launched into his slides. What makes a podcast a podcast? Its MP3+RSS=podcast. A podcast is a podcast because you can have access to in anywhere and have the content delivered to you.
There are various websites and search engines that you can find podcasts at such as: Google Podcast Pickle, podCast 411--which tells if a podcast is dead or not (which is cool, I didn't know that). And of course iTunes. You can find and upload your own podcasts here.
What are podcasts good for? Their good for all sorts of things. From everything from teen clubs to what books to read to oral histories. Libraries have even used them to record programs, so those not able to attend are still able to share in the content. There are even libraries letting their users create the content for them.
At this point there was the question of if you record an author speaking what of copyright? David Free said there are a lot of variables. Does the author own the content from which their reading? What does the author want to happen? What's the libraries policies? etc. David recommended checking with the authors before putting things up on podcasts. Put it in the contract they sign. In some cases if its behind a firewall or password protected and is being used for a class, then it could be fair use. You can also check the Creative Commons Podcast Legal Guide. Best advice, check with the experts if your unsure, such as your library or Universities legal consul.
There's just so much that you can do with podcasting! David shared a lot of different examples, some in other languages, some that was user generated. A few to highlight:
Pitzer Military Library
Princeton, NJ Public Library--Poetry podcasts!
Cheshire Public Library--Teen Driven, with content created by teens
Pierce County Library System--Story time for grownups
Take a look at his slides for more examples.
When doing a podcast thats explaining something, such as a database, don't cover every little detail. Don't tell them where to click. Cover the "meat" of the product, what does it do? What's it good for?
Slide number 20 has some good podcasting tips such as:
remember your voice
be passionate and entreating
outline/script--but don't read from it. Use more of an outline. So you don’t sound like you’re reading from a piece of paper. Do a couple takes.
find a quiet place. Remember your mike may pick up the HVAC, so beware.
remember your listeners
Where can you get music for your podcasts? Don't pay for it! There are a number of free sites such as CCmixter, Podsafe Music Network, Creative Commons Audio.
Get a usb mike. Sound quality with other mikes are not as good as USB mike. You can use a digital recorder, iPods. Belkin makes a product to convert this Record skype calls through USB headset.
Audacity for editing. Easy and free! Download LAME MP3 encoder to encode files into MP3 format
Listen before you put online. Make sure everything sounds like you want it too.
Hosting--Where are you going to put the audio for others to access? Blip.tv hosts video and podcasting. And of course theirs always iTunes.
Posting/Feeding How are you going to get the content to your users? RSS obviously!
Promote the podcast
Evaluate and repeat—surveys, focus group, what do they think
David Lee King was up next with Videocasting! (slides from presentation)
What is Videocasting? It's a way of sharing thoughts and can be considered "half a conversation," you're just missing the other person responding. It's just like a blog, except its live and you're talking to a camera.
What are some examples of videocasting?
There are many different types ranging from professionally created to the average person
They cover such things as news, tv shows, web shows, screen casting, and so on
Steve Garfield with I can't open it
The Topkea and Shawnee County Public Library: What if Barbie had a bookclub
How do you find them? Just like with podcasting there are search engines that can help you find the content that you're looking for. Some places would be blinkx, clipblast, Google, and iTunes.
How do you watch them? Just click one, but broadband is a must! Very difficult to watch even short clips if you're still on dial up.
How do you create them?
Having time helps. But you also need a video camera. Any type will work, even the video on your phone. Cameras with one big button to press are great and relatively inexpensive. The Flip video camera, one big red button, is one such example.
You need video editing software
If you have a Mac, you're covered! Apple's iMovie is free.
For those of that are PC based, you can try Windows Movie Maker, Avid Free DV, Quicktime Pro, or Power Director, which are all free. As with everything there are always programs that you can purchase, such as Adobe's video suite.
You can also edit your video online! At such place as VideoEgg, eyespot, etc.
You need a blog, someplace that you can display the videos, and RSS feed. Both can be had for free at such places as Blogger and Feedburner. While you can upload your videos to such places as youtube, embed them back on to your site so your users can find them quickly and easily.
Think about what type of format that you want to use. What's best for your users as they are multiple different types. Flash…many video sites use flash, but its hard to download for later viewing. Quicktime.mov isn't used much.
You need an idea!
All different types!
PR for the library
Tutorials—how to use the catalog
Cultural memory history
Collaborative—video contests You need some place to store them. While you can store them yourself on your own server...why would you? There are places that do it for free! Such as blip.tv, Internet Archive, and Youtube for starters.
Just like with podcasting, you can let your users create the content. Let them show off their musical talents or how they would advertise the library.
There was a hands on demo of how to do podcasting and videocasting...I think I got distracted so didn't take notes...
07 April 2008
The hardest part of CIL thus far has been to decide which presentations to go to. There are so many different options and I can't go to them all. I'm trying to make the best use of time to go to what I'm interested in and come out with ideas to bring back to my library. I've decided that next year someone else has to come with me to divide the work. Either that or figure out how to clone myself, and to be honest no one really wants two of me wandering around (not even me).
The coolest thing about the conference are the people that I've met. I've met and talked to librarians from Canada, MD, VA, assorted other states; a library science student that has made really, really good use of her school time to go to all different types of conferences; a librarian from the National Geographic library (seriously, I didn't know that they had a library...makes sense in hindsight, but really cool sounding job!); and the celebrities of the conference. It's been a blast to actually meet the people whose blogs I've been following or whom I've followed on Twitter. I've found that some are shorter than I thought, some skinnier, all better looking than their pictures, and all fun to talk too. Each of them that I've met so far has taken the time to meet with me, answer my questions, encouraged me to ask more if I have them, and just share their time in general. You can't ask for anything more than that. All of the people have been like that and it is fantastic!
06 April 2008
Podcasting and Videocasting: David Lee King, David Free
Technology Training for Library Staff: Maurice Coleman, Annette Gaskins, Sarah Houghton-Jan.
And I had a blast. I learned a lot from both and I don't think I could have made better choices on which ones to go to. I'll blog more about them later (and no, not an official blogger for CIL...maybe next year) in more depth, hopefully tomorrow.
Why mad librarian? It just seemed like an interesting title. A previous blog I ran was "Rantings of a mad..." so now just mad librarian. I see a lot of good things in the libraries most days. People wanting to learn, interested in whats out there, and willing to work towards it. Other days I want to run far, far away from some of the people I encounter (including library staff).
Why this blog? I'm hoping to contribute my own thoughts to the world of librarianship and hopefully add something useful to the blogosphere.
I'm interested in the world of technology and how it can be used within the library world. At my library I'm a driving force behind using technology. I'm creator of 4 public blogs (so far), a Google Map; I set up Feedburner, del.ici.ous, LibraryThing, Flickr, Slideshare, and Yahoo accounts for the library, as well as half dozen other things. My goal is to help my colleagues find the tools they can use to best do their jobs and to have fun while doing so. Its a slow process, but I've enjoyed the adventure thus far.
Any questions just let me know.