Pretty much every time I read something written by a librarian, I am charmed anew that librarians are just so helpful. Stephanie Gerding's recently published article, "Transforming Public Library Patron Technology Training" in the most recent ALA Techsource Library Technology Reports, is no exception.
Stephanie's article is a super-practical quick guide to library technology training basics, including developing a training plan, training for library trainers, cultivating partnerships and volunteer relationships, and marketing and advocacy for technology training. And it's packed with useful tips on things like how, when and where to offer training, how to increase participant engagement and retention, program evaluation, and identifying potential community partners.
A few of my favorite bits were:
- Technology training is just another way to provide library services: As Stephanie says, library technology training "supports a fundamental library purpose of connecting people and knowledge."
- It all starts with a good plan: Having a good technology training plan up-front saves time, creates better programming and helps you provide better service.
- It's not always about your technical skills: "Successful technology training has less to do with technical knowledge than with other abilities, such as patience, listening skills, enthusiasm and empathy toward learners struggling with new technologies." That was such a good reminder that it's not what you know, but how you communicate it that can make all the difference.
- Potential partners and volunteers are everywhere: Students, electronics/computer retailers, chambers of commerce and small business centers, local clubs and organizations (and many others) are all great potential partners for mutually beneficial relationships supporting digital literacy in the community.
And because librarians love to share, her article also includes links to a ton of helpful resources. A few I found especially useful were:
- Her own most excellent TechSoup roundups of staff and public technology training programs and fabulous free training materials.
- Tools for communicating the value of library technology services, like the Public Library Toolbox and the free library advocacy training course, Turning the Page 2.0
Thanks, Stephanie, for such a great resource!
The issue of Library Technology Reports that includes Stephanie's article is called "The Transforming Public Library Infrastructure," and includes other articles on community broadband services, wireless network planning, e-government, digital literacy, and more. I bet they're all equally good reading!