WJ Online Conference

Tech Training Skills for 21st Century Library Staff

By Jennifer | August 11th, 2011 | Comment?

Online conference coverage continues for WebJunction/Learning Round Table hosted online conference, Trends in Library Training and Learning.

Crystal SchimpfKieran HixonNancy Trimm

Thank you to Crystal Schimpf, Kieran Hixon, and Nancy Trimm for their presentation, Tech Training Skills for 21st Century Library Staff.

With 631 people in the room (and many others viewing as a group under one name), we all were asked to answer a poll on the whiteboard about roles in the library: Did we primarily assist public, train staff, or supervise staff? It quickly turned into a crazy quilt of color, as shown here:
The focus is on tech training because of libraries key role in providing internet. 73% of rural libraries are the ONLY provider of free internet. Two thirds have received 1:1 help from library staff, and 14% attended computer training at the library.

Attendees shared in Chat about how they help people with technology, and the responses showed the huge range in depth and breadth of experience library staff have with technology, from hardware, to software, to the web and email, to databases, and more. Basically, librarians must be prepared to be skilled in both IT and teaching competencies.

The bulk of the presentation then answered the following questions:

What are competencies?

Why are they valuable for library tech trainers?

what are the competencies for library tech trainers?

How do we support competency-based training?

In the spirit of not reinventing the wheel, the group offered Colorado State Library’s own tech trainer competencies for all to ripoff and reuse. You can find those here: http://www.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/btop/content/technology-trainer-competencies

On Twitter, Ohio Public Library core competencies were also shared: http://t.co/LZLuIPl

After the main presentation by the three, there was ample time for Q&A. As I was wrestling with Twitter and Facebook lags during that time, I missed a lot of the great questions, but here are some:

Q: How do you keep up with users on the forefront without neglecting those who are lagging behind?

Assist the laggers with their immediate needs but give them encouragement and orientation to more current technology, perhaps as a follow-up one-on-one. Other suggestions were posted to chat.

Q: How do you deal with situations when people come with technology that you are not familiar with?

If you don’t know about it, think of it with other reference questions: You might not have the answer, but you should understand where to find the answer. Also, it might alleviate the anxiety of the person asking if you admit that you don’t know the answer but “let’s learn together”.

Q: How did you go about developing the competencies?

They did a literature review of what competency sets were already published. Created drafts and circulated for review and feedback.

Q: How do you train reluctant or time-stretched staff?

Kieran mentioned that in a small, rural library, training while doing frontline patron services is a necessity. Have to keep an eye on how it will help in the long run, allow for on-the-job training (not sequestered in a classroom), make it short bites of training, and use immediate incentives like treats.

Then the presenters turned it around and asked a couple questions of the audience to reflect on:

How can you support the learning needs of technology training in your organization?

How has your role in the library change because of technology? What training do you need to support your new technology-related duties?

Check out the chat log when the archive is posted later today, to see some of the responses, as well as the lively conversation on Twitter at #learntrends.

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