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David Lee King

CIL2006, Day 2: more tech training



How to Create a Tech-savvy Staff, Travis Bussler

Why does IT need a tech-savvy library staff? Makes everyone’s jobs easier and provides better customer service to patrons.

Assessments, training and documentation – what we need to do

Assessments: all staff members need to assess where they are when it comes to technology

what to assess: everything… including USB drives – what are they, how do they work, etc.

Training: in-house, workshops, cd-rom, online, university, books

What to train on? Everything that is relevant

Tips:

  • make training mandatory
  • short sessions
  • organize staff into groups of similar skill levels
  • stay focused
  • make the training as interactive as possible
  • go slowly and give plenty of practice time
  • repetition
  • offer CEUs
  • offer the training to other libraries or organizations
  • let staff share experiences with each other
  • use a variety of trainers and techniques
  • let staff members bring drinks (non-alcoholic of course)

Documentation:

document everything – instructions, FAQs, cheat sheets, etc.

Tips:

  • keep it simple
  • use lots of pictures
  • have both print and electronic

CIL2006

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.bobpederen.net/wep2 Bob Pedersen

    There’s a very scary word here, one that has potential to destroy an assessment effort or diminish the results: “all” as in “all staff members need to assess where they are when it comes to technology”.

    There are two things that need to be considered about “all staff”. First, do you really mean all professional staff, or all public service staff, or do you also mean the shelvers, the person who empties the trash, and the guy replaces the light bulb? Does the skill you want a person to have reasonably relate to their job descriptons? It may be important to distinguish between skills vital to a staff member’s performance and one you think would be cool for everyone to have.

    The second thing to consider is the end game regarding those who can’t or won’t learn enough to pass the assessment. Are you willing to reprimand a public service staffer who can’t cope with a USB key? You might — more and more customers will be bringing keys instead of floppy disks. A shelver? If you eventually had to fire the shelver for whatever reason, do you really want that reprimand in their file?

    One other point about required training in general. I saw a ranking once of effective learning methods — and sitting in a classroom was pretty far down on the list. I’d certainly provide training, but let people prepare for the assessments as they wish. Many times, staff will teach each other — and isn’t that the best skill training you could ask for?

  • http://www.bobpederen.net/wep2 Bob Pedersen

    There's a very scary word here, one that has potential to destroy an assessment effort or diminish the results: “all” as in “all staff members need to assess where they are when it comes to technology”.

    There are two things that need to be considered about “all staff”. First, do you really mean all professional staff, or all public service staff, or do you also mean the shelvers, the person who empties the trash, and the guy replaces the light bulb? Does the skill you want a person to have reasonably relate to their job descriptons? It may be important to distinguish between skills vital to a staff member's performance and one you think would be cool for everyone to have.

    The second thing to consider is the end game regarding those who can't or won't learn enough to pass the assessment. Are you willing to reprimand a public service staffer who can't cope with a USB key? You might — more and more customers will be bringing keys instead of floppy disks. A shelver? If you eventually had to fire the shelver for whatever reason, do you really want that reprimand in their file?

    One other point about required training in general. I saw a ranking once of effective learning methods — and sitting in a classroom was pretty far down on the list. I'd certainly provide training, but let people prepare for the assessments as they wish. Many times, staff will teach each other — and isn't that the best skill training you could ask for?