“the newspaper is 4% success rate to land a job, if that is all they want to use, they are killing themselves on more opportunity” —webinar chat comment
When Twitter first appeared on the virtual scene in 2006, I thought it was utterly frivolous and inanely obsessed with what someone ate for breakfast. It turned out that I was so wrong. Last week’s webinar on Twitter for Job Seekers further illuminated the substantial uses that have evolved wielding the power of the Twitter tool.
The webinar divided neatly into two segments:
Andrea Snyder, manager of the Job & Career Information Center at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, has made active use of @JobCenter_Pratt Twitter stream to share job-seeker news, events and resources that the library has to offer. The tweets reach people on a different level, getting the word out to those who don’t often come in to the physical library. Andrea thinks the Twitter presence promotes her library as more of a person than an organization. She also makes the keen observation that the library’s use of Twitter is as much about listening as it is about broadcasting. She follows job-related hashtags (#jobs, #careers, #libs4jobs) to stay tuned in to the Twittersphere.
Brooke Roegge, digital information specialist at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (@PositivelyMN), revealed that thousands of job opportunities are posted on Twitter every day. Third-party Twitter job search tools have contracts with big employers, like Kaiser-Permanente, Starbucks, Wendy’s, the list goes on. Brooke described a number of strategies and tools job seekers can use to search for jobs and target their searches to specific industries and geographic locations. There are even smartphone apps for on-the-go job seekers.
Listen to the archive to:
In fact the guiding mantra in both David Newyear’s and Ming Heraty’s presentations was to avoid reinventing the wheel. With their own implementations of e-reader lending at their libraries sprouting from others who had already taken the plunge, they pay it forward with lots of why/what/how information.
Why start an e-reader lending program in the first place? It’s part of being a forward-thinking library that introduces patrons to new technology, or in the case of Ming’s community, keeping up with early adopter patrons in a “gadget-friendly community.”
Once the objective is clear and the administration is on board, the “what” and “how” questions flow in. David and Ming covered a lot of ground about what devices they chose, what content sources they used, what training they provided for staff, how they developed policies and user agreements, how they managed accounts on multiple devices. The presentation is so dense with information, it is worth an hour of your time to watch it.
The concurrent side chat is an explosion of knowledge-sharing in its own right—a revelation of the complexities of this e-reader lending venture. If WebJunction had a prize for most intense webinar question-and-answer chat dialog, this one would be a winner.
Relive it all through the archived resources:
In conjunction with this week’s webinar, Developing and Maintaining E-Reader Policies and Procedures for Libraries, we asked Robyn Truslow, Public Relations Coordinator at the Calvert Library in Prince Frederick, Maryland, to share a post with their approach to managing policies and procedures for circulating e-readers, including keeping up with changes and needed revisions to the processes.
Thank you Robyn!
The short answer is to create a small team that includes someone on the front line and someone who really knows the ins and outs of the devices and meet regularly to tweak as needed.
Let’s be honest…once you commit to a certain ereader to circulate, you sort of get stuck with that particular device. The Kindle and NOOKcolor were the two hottest ereaders when we got our grant so that’s what we bought. It would be too complicated to add each new hot device as it was introduced. Nor are there many libraries that can afford to add devices as they come out. MANY man-hours went into the processing of the first set of 72 devices…we are not anxious to add more even though we recognize that those particularly devices are hardly cutting edge anymore. So, stuck with the Kindle and NOOKcolor, the process of purchasing books and processing the devices for circulation doesn’t really change.
However, ebooks are still coming out for them so I guess we need to keep adding to them…or do we? So many people are getting their own devices now that it might make little sense to commit money to putting ebooks on OUR device rather than ebooks that customers can put on THEIR device. This internal debate has left us sort of just waiting on this issue. We had actually pre-ordered some titles when the devices first started circulating and it was a bit of a pain to get those titles loaded when they finally came out. Each ereader has an average of 100 titles on it already so do we really need more?
Our biggest policy/procedure is our User Agreement. Though some grumbled, we asked staff to read the whole thing to customers at each checkout. There is a good bit of training info in the agreement and possibly some off-putting “Do NOTs” but we felt it important to protect the devices. We also knew that new situations would arise that might require tweaking of the user agreement and therefore the NEW information would need to be communicated to a customer that may have checked out a device before the change. For instance, we have decided that we need to ask that customers not use/store the device in an environment with tobacco smoke. We also realized, 12 broken cables later, the need to train customers how to plug and unplug the device.
We have 12 differently themed sets of ereaders and at this point, two of the sets no longer regularly have holds on them. Perhaps it’s time to weed a few copies from each of those sets and make a new set for 2011-2012 bestsellers? Easy enough…we just create a new Barnes & Noble account, deregister a few of the less popular devices and re-register with the new account. OK, we’ll also have to change the barcode and property label and add a new record. And then there are software updates…do we pull the devices so we can run the update?
You don’t want a big team discussing these issues, just two or three people that have front-line and technical knowledge and the capacity to move forward with any decisions.
“Size does not matter. Quality matters” (Susan Hill Pieper)
As an introduction to the revised edition of the popular “Small But Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library,” this one-hour webinar was indeed “Small But Powerful.” It packed a punch of great insights and ideas that will help small libraries stay strong, relevant, and vital to the communities they serve.
Jennifer Peterson, community manager at WebJunction, ARSL board member and chair of ALA Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee, kicked it off with suggestions for “amplifying the value” of libraries every day and everywhere through the use of technology tools and data resources. Reach beyond the library walls with cool tools like digital frame slide shows, social “satellite” sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), library calculators, and videos of non-library people expressing what they value about the library.
Susan Hill Pieper, director of the Paulding County Carnegie Library (OH), shifted the presentation into high gear with her no-nonsense advice and first-hand experiences that have built a community of patrons who “cannot imagine life without the public library” and will rally enthusiastically to support it. Counseling that “your library must show excellent service consistently” in order to garner ardent support, Susan discussed a host of strategies and tips for sustaining a “modern library”—no matter how small—and for broadcasting its value loud and clear. She urges libraries to be willing and ready to adopt new technologies but to examine them for relevance and meaning to each community. The audience appreciated her example of scrutinizing “self check-out” for its detraction from the one-on-one interactions that may be the soul of the rural community library.
Marci Merola, director of the ALA Office for Library Advocacy, wrapped up the session with a quick tour of the substantial aggregation of resources that ALA has amassed on behalf of library advocacy efforts. Their Advocacy University is a potent collection to get you amplifying your library’s value on multiple fronts.
This is just an appetizer for the full meal of possibilities. Go to the webinar archive page for:
The title alone lets you know that this going to be a pretty hip blog post, right? And just look at the pretty logo over there…signs of good things to come! Edge is the name of an exciting initiative that is coming soon to a library near you. Earlier this year, WebJunction joined the Edge initiative, a coalition of 13 organizations working together to compile a set of benchmarks for public access computing in libraries (check out the press release). The intent of these benchmarks is to help ensure that all communities continue to have quality computer and Internet access at public libraries. One thing is clear about this work—it’s no small task! Public access computing is such a core resource in libraries, but the needs of the individual libraries and their respective communities vary greatly (queue the dramatic, challenging music).
I am sure this is a bit of preaching to the choir, but high-quality access to technology in public libraries is critical for people to succeed in today’s world. Without access to the information and opportunities that exist online, some people in this country will not be able to do homework, look for employment, obtain health and wellness information or connect with their government, community or civic organizations. Libraries have taken on a critical role in many communities to provide access to these services, but we also know that there is room to improve. Sometimes we need a little help to make our case for the importance of these services, both internally and with stakeholders. That’s where the benchmarks come in.
These benchmarks will be the examples of high quality services and offerings that help to improve the lives of patrons and the communities that libraries serve. We’ve been collecting feedback from coalition members and also working closely with the library field, local decision makers and community leaders to create benchmarks that are relevant, actionable and that can align with local community priorities. The work to date has included hundreds of hours spent pouring through data, reading reports, conducting focus groups and synthesizing all of the information into a usable resource – and we’re not done yet.
The project will soon be launching at pilot sites in several states and will be available for broader public use later in 2012. One of the key elements of participating in the benchmarks is an assessment that a library will complete. In some cases, the assessment results will shine a light on a library that is doing great work and should be recognized. In other cases, a library may be able to use the assessment to acknowledge that there are areas that could use improvements. The benchmarks will also include a wealth of information and resources that can be used to help advocate for public access computing improvements to local funders and decision makers. We’re going to give you the tools to help implement ideas and find out how to make improvements that will have an impact.
Now this is clearly a bit a teaser, because we’re not quite ready to share the actual benchmarks just yet…there’s more cooking going on in the kitchen, and we’re a bunch of picky chefs. But, we’re looking forward to bringing you more details as work on the Edge initiative progresses – stay tuned!
“Imagine, I thought, the impact I could have on a person who is discouraged and disheartened about their employment prospects or financial situation. They come to the library and experience a kind of oasis, and see new possibilities, rather than feeling stigmatized about their situation. In the process, they also discover the many other things their library offers.”
Project Compass has spent the last year leading workshops around the country about how libraries contribute to workforce recovery and local economic health. We’ve heard from so many workshop participants about the high level of energy and enthusiasm for taking the next steps to keep their libraries vital and central in the community. We’re excited about the impact of the project and we’d like to share our excitement with you through this webinar.
The project has reached nearly 2000 front-line library staff all around the country, stimulating conversations and actions to take those next steps. We have lots of stories and strategies to share from the amazing library staff we’ve worked with. The reflections from participants in the workshop preceding the ARSL conference—Jamie, Pamela, Hope and Joan—are a representative sample of how rural libraries have taken the Project Compass curriculum ideas and run with them.
This webinar is for anyone who is interested in how libraries are supporting their communities through these turbulent times. Whether you work in a large or small library, whether or not you attended a workshop, join us as we review the highlights of the project and look ahead to a thriving future.
[The following excerpts from the reports of three more participants in the Project Compass workshop before the ARSL conference affirm the power of the curriculum and the collaborative exchange of knowledge among rural library representatives.]
From Pamela Thompson, Director, Mason County Library System (WV):
As I attended the Project Compass workshop, I had mixed feelings about what our small library system could do in helping unemployed and small business entrepreneurship. With limited budgets I thought we were doing all we could to help our community. Unemployment rate is high in our county. After a half day in the Project Compass workshop I was wondering why we haven’t done more!! The ideas I brought back to Mason County were affordable and helpful to our community. I have already implemented various ideas at the libraries. I also realized that we are not alone in this “Not enough funding, what more can we do.” As I participated and listened to all the people we met, I realized that we all in rural libraries face the same problems, whether it be West Virginia, Texas, Kentucky, Arizona, or wherever a rural library is located. By the time the day was over, I was more excited about returning to work to start sharing ideas and implementing programs in our system. After talking to the other WV libraries in our group, they felt the same way.
On returning to Mason County, I immediately came up with a game plan and talked to staff about what we intended to accomplish. In a week’s time we have two libraries with couponing stations, a couponing group in two libraries. Also will be attending County and Town meetings more often, allowing patrons to fax resumes free of charge, allowing patrons to print resumes free of charge and we will be starting a Computers 101 class twice a month at each library to help patrons get an email address, learn how to print resumes, or whatever the need is.
Thank you for the scholarship to allow us to attend an awesome workshop!!
From Hope Wilson, Fremont Public Library (IN):
The pre-conference workshop was inspiring and refreshingly well-organized. I had visited the Project Compass website before attending (before I was even aware of the conference) and had downloaded the Project Compass workbook for myself and the other two librarians on staff. The workbook is so resourceful that it can be a bit overwhelming. We were unsure as to where, when, how to begin.
Attending the workshop gave me the big picture. I now see that the resources are there when/if needed; for example, I don’t have to visit all the links in the manual before proceeding, because proceeding today is the important thing. I was able to return to my library and put some small things in practice immediately. Now, we offer free resume faxes and have purchased a new bulletin board just for local entrepreneurs. We can revisit the resources as we progress.
This workshop came at a great time for me as an administrator. We just added an online, self-paced computer training program and are asking the staff to improve their computer skills. Project Compass reiterated the need for them, as employees, to keep enhancing their own job skills.
I appreciated the positive, encouraging approach of the PC workshop. During my brief staff meeting I found that my employees felt good about what they are already offering and felt validated that their work is indeed a service in ways not considered before. For example, I don’t think that they thought of gardening programs as a help to the un/underemployed. Yet they well might be. This is not to say that the staff does not realize how much more we can do. They are looking forward to seeing the library meet the goals they suggested at our staff meeting.
The PC workshop was so beautifully organized and offered such great discussion ideas that I found it easy to pull out an hour’s worth for my staff. Next month I’ll be attending a six-county consortium where I’ll present a short summary to other directors. And next month we’ll have another staff meeting to measure our progress on Project Compass goals.
From Joan Pellikka, Outreach Services Coordinator, North Country Library System (NY):
We are a cooperative library system of 65 member libraries, all separate entities governed by their own boards of trustees. The largest library in our system serves a community of roughly 27,000; the smallest, 121. More than half of our libraries have annual operating budgets of less than $50,000; fifteen have budgets of less than $25,000. We have some of the poorest libraries in the State and everyone works very hard with limited resources. The ARSL conference offers programs tailored to meet the specific needs of the smaller, rural library presented by people who clearly understand that work environment.
My first day in Frisco, I attended the Project Compass workshop, which left me with a more focused direction for collecting and presenting workforce development resources on the NCLS web site. From there, my goal is to offer training for member library staff, who in turn will share these resources with the public. More importantly, I gleaned bits of information that will stay with me for a long time. The following quote was probably the most important thing I saw and heard at the conference:
Lifelong learning is not an option anymore; it’s a necessity. SMART is the new RICH.
~Bernie Trilling, 21st Century Skills
One librarian pointed out that this statement clearly illustrates the value of libraries at all times, not just in times of recession. Her comment, along with the quote, struck me very powerfully. Also during Project Compass, we viewed the video, Did You Know 3.0, which provided statistics that were, for me, eye opening. I am working on integrating both the quote and the video into advocacy efforts for our member libraries.
In the same session, we were reminded that it is so important to not make assumptions about job seekers. Highly skilled professionals such as physicians and pilots are finding themselves in situations where they must learn to assess their abilities and market them in another industry. We must be flexible and prepared to assist everyone with varying levels of expertise.
[Jamie Matczak, from the Nicolet Federated Library System, Green Bay, WI, participated in the Project Compass Workforce Recovery workshop before the ARSL conference. The patron story that Jamie relates took place shortly after the conference and reflected a key message of the workshop training—to help patrons uncover their skills and learn new ones.]
I work for a library system, so I don’t get a lot of interaction with patrons. I do volunteer (when I can) for my neighborhood library, usually helping patrons with using the internet or laptop basics.
On Tuesday, I helped a woman named Rita. She is a retired widow, age 75. She had never used a computer or the internet before, but she wanted some part-time work at the local Kwik Trip. When she went to the job fair at Kwik Trip, they gave her a newspaper clipping with a web address and told her to apply online. She told them she didn’t know how to use a computer, and the Kwik Trip folks told her to “go to the library. They will help you.”
She was very nervous and quiet. Because of a medical condition, her hands shake. She kept apologizing for this, and I said, “no problem, let’s work on your application.” She did not have an email address, so I set up a gmail account for her. Her work experience prior to retiring was working for our Norbertine Center in town, which we also call The Abbey. She was a cook for 20 years. Most days she would cook and clean for 40 priests/fathers, two meals a day. On weekends, she would cook for up to 100 of them, and sometimes she only had one other person helping her.
We started working on her application. I had never worked with someone who had zero computer experience, so this was new for me, too. Because she had never used a computer and did not have familiarity with the keyboard, I did all the typing. We probably would’ve been there for hours if I had let her, so in the interest of time, she dictated and I typed. I told her that we could set up separate sessions for going over email, the mouse, computer basics, etc. We worked through the application. Rita was never late for work in the 20 years she worked at the center. She had a clean record and was willing to work any hours.
When we got to the section of “other skills,” she said she didn’t have any. Then she said, “Well, my husband and I did own a restaurant, but that was 20 years ago.”
I said, “how long did you own this restaurant.”
“About 30 years,” she said.
“Rita!” I said. “You owned your own business? Did you supervise? Manage? Do payroll? Those are all great, valid skills!” She confirmed that she did all of that, without a computer of course, but she still knows those things.
It took us close to an hour to finish, which is how long my sessions usually run. We we finished, she started getting out her wallet and asked what I charge. I told her nothing. This was something I do as a volunteer, and it’s what libraries are all about. Then she asked if she could give me a tip! I laughed and said “no.” She had tears in her eyes and said “thank you” about 20 times. I told her she could let the staff know when she wanted to meet again, and I would help her with other things.
I started tearing up on my walk home. It was definitely one of those “ah ha!” moments for me. It made me grateful for the skills I had and happy that I could help someone else.
I really hope I can help her more, and it would be awesome if she got this job. :)
With the national unemployment rate inching upwards for the last three months, it looks like job seekers will continue to head for the nearest library for guidance. We know that libraries across the country have put tremendous energy into helping unemployed and underemployed patrons find their way through the demands of the 21st century job market. Through Project Compass, we are building a Workforce Resources knowledge base of strategies, solutions and case studies.
There are so many patron demands to be met and so many ideas to explore that it can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other and take the next step. That’s why we are pulling just a few good Practical Tips to Help Job Seekers to the surface of the Job Seekers sub-topic. (Look for the short list in the lower left rail.) We will refresh the list periodically.
We’re pulling these tips from a growing reservoir of practical ideas resulting from Project Compass’ reach through its workshops and programs. If you have sipped from the short list and are eager for more, here are 3 sources:
The good ideas keep flowing Project Compass-way. Look for the summary from workshop #2 in early August—it’s focused on support for entrepreneurs and financial literacy. We’re also getting great survey feedback from over 1000 library staff who have participated in f2f workshops. Stay tuned.
Project Compass offers its second free online workshop, Libraries Supporting Small Business and Financial Health. This workshop explores the potential for libraries to help move their communities from surviving to thriving by supporting local entrepreneurs and by helping patrons increase their personal financial skills. Looking beyond the immediate needs of job seekers, discover other approaches to supporting the workforce in your community and growing their capacity to succeed in the 21st century.
The program will kick off with a live webinar on July 12, and will be followed by four weeks of self-paced reading assignments, facilitated discussions and peer networking. Read the full description.
Or go straight to registration, which is open to all until filled. Participation in the first workshop is not required.
If you are participating in workshop #1, you are welcome to register for this second workshop. The content and discussion topics will investigate different pathways to workforce renewal.
Project Compass is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Libraries continue to be a pivot point in their communities as we move from recession toward recovery. No matter where your library is on the spectrum of providing services to the un(der)employed, this free online workshop from Project Compass will build your knowledge and confidence to deliver programs and services that will keep the workforce in your community moving forward in the 21st century. The workshop will cover how libraries can respond to the basic needs of patrons impacted by the weak economy and to the specific needs of job seekers. It kicks off with a live webinar on June 1, and will be followed by four weeks of self-paced reading assignments and discussions.
Read the full description.
Or go straight to registration, which is open to all until filled.
Project Compass is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
This week we had the pleasure of hosting Ioannis Trohopoulos, director of the Veria Central Public Library, for a one-hour webinar presentation about his 2010 ATLA award-winning library. Veria Central PL is setting an inspiring example for other libraries around the globe, demonstrating that even a small library operating under significant economic challenges can be a mover and shaker. We recorded the session, and it’s posted to WebJunction.org for you to view at your convenience.
Ioannis actually has a far-reaching vision to transform all public libraries in Greece. Beginning in his own small city of Veria, Macedonia (pop. 55,000), he champions the library as a “center for creativity, innovation, and learning.” As he described to us Veria Central PL’s approach to serving the unserved, building partnerships, and creating experiences, we noted that his vision and strategy aligns very closely with the IMLS 21st Century Skills Framework. IMLS is promoting the critical role of U.S. libraries and museums in preparing citizens for success, and emphasizes the importance of skills in creativity, innovation, technology literacy, self direction and lifelong learning. Ioannis’ library actively models and engages its users around those skills, striving to provide a user-centric library environment that offers up-to-date and new technology.
Their outstanding results led to Veria Central PL’s receipt of the 2010 Access to Learning Award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This award recognizes non-U.S. organizations for their efforts to connect people to information through free access to computers and the internet. Veria Central PL’s technology outreach programs, focus on children, and emphasis on digital libraries, has been recognized as a model of what can happen when a small public library focuses on meeting the needs of its users. Ioannis of all people understands the challenges around doing this, as illustrated by this equation he showed us:
Ioannis didn’t just present on the library’s past accomplishments, but also described their current strategy to reshape Veria Central PL to create experiences for “Generation Y,” renovate the building, foster civic engagement with offline and online social networking, and identify funding sources that will ensure long-term sustainability. But don’t forget that his vision goes beyond Veria: he is also working on a nationwide initiative to transform Greek public libraries into vibrant new resources sitting at the heart of their communities.
Please schedule an hour to listen to and view the presentation, and prepare to be inspired!
Serving the 21st Century Patron, the second WebJunction online conference, was a huge success! Thanks to all who attended and also to our presenters!
The archives for the 8 sessions are posted to the conference page. If you were unable to attend in person, please take advantage of the archived sessions.
Just a few highlights:
Thanks to all attendees for helping to make the conference a success. We’ll be sharing additional feedback from all involved after collecting post-conference survey results, so stay tuned. And for those of you unable to attend – check out the archives today!
You are invited to attend WebJunction’s second free online conference, Serving the 21st Century Patron, on December 1–2. Over the course of 8 sessions and with 11+ speakers, we’ll focus on the changing needs and evolving approaches related to customer service in 21st-century libraries. Be sure not to miss the final session, Battledecks, which challenges speakers to present an unknown set of slides—and the audience gets to choose the best result!
Space for the conference is limited, so register now. Staff are also encouraged to attend as a cohort under a single registration: not only does this allow more people to attend, but you benefit from face-to-face discussion, as your group convenes in a single room with the sessions projected. Members who did this at our first conference provided these tips for successful cohort attendance.
We’re gearing up for our 2-day online conference in December focused on Serving the 21st Century Patron and in addition to hosting 7 sessions with 11 outstanding presenters we’re experimenting with Battledecks. Peter Bromberg provides a nice definition of Battledecks on this Learning RT blogpost:
Battledecks is a fun improv exercise that challenges contestants to deliver a presentation on the fly using an unknown slidedeck containing random (and often hilarious) slides. The contestants are judged on their ability to create a coherent presentation that incorporates the slide content smoothly. Laughs and getting through all of the slides on time are a plus.
We’re excited to be bringing you an online version of Battledecks to wrap up the conference with some interesting twists:
We look forward to seeing you at the conference, for as few or as many of the sessions as you’re able to attend and as always, archives will be made available.