Posted by: char booth | 10 April 2008

cil2008: staff tech training

part 1: sarah houghton-jan

(Due to time constraints and conference craziness I haven’t given much evaluative opinion on the presentations I’ve seen in these posts, but let me just say that in 20 minutes S. H-J did a spot-on job of offering a coherent/useful synthesis of this potentially nebulous and never-ending topic. Very well done.)

many reasons for staff technology training – confidence, saves money, serves users better, etc.

competencies based training cycle: brainstorming and planning, creation, assessment, training reassessment

stage 1 – planning and brainstorming

what does your staff need to know how to do with technology to do their jobs well?

benefits of using competencies to create a training program: creates equitable expectations for all staff, reveals training needs, lets you create accurate job descriptions, etc.

working with staff to brainstorm: create the list with staff involvement, “brainstorming parties rock!”, offer rewards. reassure staff that you don’t need to know all the skills up front, make trainings fun so people are engaged and to improve retention, solicit input via a blog.

stage 2 – creation

work with a taskforce, representatives from units and branches, representatives from different job classifications, focus on staff input, get management buy-in, don’t call it “competencies,” call it “skills list”

some categories for staff skills – terminology (glossary of terms), hardware, office software, library catalog, staying current, web searching, library e-resources, etc.

best practices: “keep it core” the more basic you make it the better the process will work in the first iteration. keep it task based – how to log into email rather than how email works. difference competencies = different classifications, present list online, add to job descriptions and new hire checklist.

step 3 – assessment

assess objectively or subjectively? objective scantronny tests are messy in libraries, best to let staff self-assess, online survey tools are the easiest to use. the psychology of maybe – this actually means no.

post-assessment: review individual and group results, work with supervisors to create a training needs list for individuals. the trust of the project manager is key – encourage supervisors to trust you.

step 4 – training

train in many ways, start with basic topics, make sure you have a training budget, trainings based on revealed needs. people like prizes, so offer incentives for participation. something small can go a long way to motivate people to do what they need to do. make sure you have inspiring training – use real-world examples, make the class fun, highlight tips and tricks

step 5 – reassess

annual or biannual reviews, goal-setting for individuals and the library, nurture hidden “sparks” within the organization, create consequences for those who can’t meet competencies

finally, celebrate success, and have cake. personalize the message.

recommended resources -sarah’s library technology training competencies material, etc. slides will be on librarian in black.

part 2: maurice coleman, annette gaskins from hartford county public library

hartford county is a diverse library system with many different staff and user technology competencies and needs, why did they do a technology fair and petting zoo? came from a staff survey, young adult committee, statewide initiative to do library 2.0/23 things project. idea of tech fair pulled together gadgets and devices so people could have a chance to get their hands on things.


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