The Edge Initiative toolkit helps libraries assess how their community is using library technology, identifying strengths and also areas for improvement. The toolkit includes benchmarks and Benchmark 8
states, "Libraries have sufficient staff with technology expertise to help patrons achieve their goals." This article will highlight one library's approach to fostering staff technology skill building.
The Basehor Community Library
is a lovely, bustling space, located in northeastern Kansas, about 30 minutes northwest of Kansas City. Although the library district serves a population of less than 9000, community members expect and receive library service on par with a much larger system. Customer service excellence is prioritized throughout the organization and this includes helping patrons use technology to achieve their goals. In order to help others, the staff members need to have up-to-date skills. One way this need is being addressed is through the creation of learning teams.
Library Director Diana Weaver explains the genesis of the learning teams:
"We started this because it is hard to get everyone together for a single staff meeting or training session. Small group meetings are easier to schedule. According to research I have read on adult learners, learning in groups of 3-4 is very effective."
The learning teams have focused on many things, including:
- how to use e-readers
- how to download content from various sources
- how to use social media
- how to use subscription databases
- how to use technology resources for reader's advisory.
When asked about the effectiveness of the learning teams, Weaver shares:
Each member of a group supports the others. Your team gives you a go-to person if you need more help. The small team discussions help everyone see the relevancy of learning a new skill. And best of all, team members get the chance to be teachers as well as learners."
The learning teams will be an ongoing thing at Basehor Community Library
and in the near future, groups plan to focus on conducting a reference interview via technology and additional exploration of technology and reader's advisory.
Thanks to Diana Weaver for sharing this example with us! We'd love to hear what others are doing to foster a culture of learning throughout the library, too. Please share in the comments on this article!