[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. :)
Thank you again to all who joined us in early August for Trends in Library Training and Learning Online Conference brought to you in collaboration with the ALA Learning Round Table. We’re excited to bring you this information about the library staff who registered or attended the event and to remind you that all recordings of presentations and associated resources are now available on WebJunction.
A total of 1965 people registered or attended the event and 1082 logged in for at least one of the sessions. Many of those who logged in were doing so in order for staff in their library to join a Viewing Party. See the long list of Viewing Parties!. A special thank you to you viewing party hosts, and sorry if we didn’t get you on the list.
Also a special thanks to our sponsoring WebJunction Partner States who brought over 889 registrants and 500 attendees to the conference and who continue to support the networking and collaboration critical to the success of WebJunction’s online learning!
Many others are represented in the list of top 20 participating states:
And 90 participants represent these cities and countries around the globe:
|Amsterdam||New South Wales|
|Cambridge||Rio Grande do Sul|
Here’s the breakdown of the many library types represented:
As you can see from the broad representation across the globe and across the types of libraries you work in, the topics presented are indeed universal. From brain development to instructional design, from creating videos to creating community, the presentations were top-notch and inspirational. Betha provides an excellent summary of the 2 days in her post, Two-day online conference was a brain booster on the Learning Round Table Blog and you can view all the live-blogging we did here on BlogJunction. And be sure to check out the tweet archive for #learntrends!
I’d like to personally thank all of the planners (especially Sharon and Mary Beth from the LearningRT!), presenters, emcees, producers, viewing party hosts and all other participants, for joining the conference and for contributing to the success of WebJunction’s third online conference! I look forward to connecting with all of you in future online events.
We’re moving into a new month with great anticipation for the upcoming August 10-11 online conference, Trends in Library Training and Learning. In my communications with co-planners (thank you LearningRT!), presenters, members of the production team, and libraries arranging for viewing parties, I’ve come to realize that this online conference most certainly will be greater than the sum of its parts. This is WebJunction’s third online conference and building on experience, your and ours, and the ever-expanding modes of online and blended learning, here are some ways for all to benefit:
As presenters, emcees, producers, viewing party cohorts and all other participants, active or passive, gather around the online conference using these modes and means of engagement, you will see, we certainly do equal more than the sum of our parts. I look forward to learning with all of you!
We have a special request for you, our library staff community:
WebJunction is developing a collection of library technology training resources and assets for all of our members to adapt and reuse. Based on our 2010 survey results, the following topics are most needed for public training:
• MS Office
• Social Networking
• Internet (Email and Web basics)
• Computer Basics
• Collaborative Tools
If you have training materials (such as lesson plans, handouts, PowerPoints, links to tutorials) to share as part of this project, please email them to Stephanie Gerding: email@example.com. All materials will be posted to WebJunction with credit to you/and or your library and will be available for free download for noncommercial use.
Thank you for helping to build this valuable collection of resources!
As part of the ongoing collaboration between IMLS and the Employment & Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL/ETA), WebJunction is hosting this ETA presentation on the new job-seeking tool, mySkills myFuture. Join us on Wednesday, September 29, 2:00 pm ET and hear more about this free online tool that enables job seekers to increase their career mobility and economic prospects. Specifically, the self-paced tool helps previously employed to (1) use their previous experience to identify occupations that they might be qualified for; (2) identify the skills s/he needs to acquire to qualify for a specific job; (3) identify education or training institutions where these skills can be obtained; and (4) provide links to relevant job opportunities in national and state job banks. Libraries will want to add mySkills, myFuture to their resources to help job-seeking patrons in their community.
WebJunction is taking a giant leap forward for library trainers across the country, by developing a truly valuable collection of library technology training resources and assets. These materials will be free to download and reuse, which will help reduce your library’s burden of developing and finding training materials. We are working with library consultant Stephanie Gerding, author of The Accidental Technology Trainer: A Guide for Libraries, to identify and collect these resources. But we also need your help. Please take our quick survey to select the specific patron training topics of greatest interest to you, to guide Stephanie and WebJunction’s work. The survey will close on September 15, so don’t delay!