Tech Savvy Staff and Patrons

Janie Hassard Hermann covered the training patrons part of this presentation. The official title was “Training for Staff & Patrons in Public Libraries” – I figured that I could still use this information in a special library setting – and I guess you could in some, but probably not in ours.

Janie set up a bunch of classes in her library – all of which sound really cool! They had a series of classes that focus on gadgets – cameras, pdas, etc. They built up a collection of gadets for the library so that the staff could learn what they needed in order to teach the patrons. Apparently these classes are a huge hit! They also offer classes similar to what our Technology Workshops (which we don’t offer anymore) covered, topics like how to legally download files and introductions to online communities and web 2.0 resources (blogs, wikis, rss).

She has also been able to get people to come in and give talks (usually for free) on other technology topics. My favorite class series she mentioned was the Databytes series. They offer lunch and have people in to see how to use different databases they have in the library – I may have to steal this idea Janie 😉

Travis Bussler covered the training staff portion of this presentation. He mentioned a few useful things I hadn’t thought of. #1 all staff have to take a tehcnology self assesment when they start at the library. This questionaire asks them how they feel about their knowledge of different hardware and software packages. This way the IT staff can determine what training is necessary. An example of a problem he gave us (which was just too funny) was that someone on his staff called him at 8pm one night to tell him that the network was down – after several questions he determined that the actual problem was that the Neopets website was unavailable. The idea is to train the staff to know the difference between these 2 problems so that IT staff can focus on more important issues. He also stressed the importance of documentation – which I must say is something out IT staff has trouble with – most staff members (at least in my library) could probably solve their own problems if they had the right instructions in front of them.

Overall the presentation was done very well – I just should have assumed that they put the words “public library” in the title for a reason 🙂

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