Yesterday, at the WiscNet Future Technologies conference, I enjoyed a session on Google CS First and Google Expedition, both of which promise great potential in the library. Perhaps the presentation was directed towards schools, but what library doesn't have students and what librarian isn't an educator?! :)
Not only was I impressed with the quality of the programs that Google offers (often for free), but also the quantity. Most are focused on computers and the internet - both of which our libraries certainly possess. There are programs available for children/students, educators/teachers, or a combination thereof.
Explore Google's Expeditions Pioneer Program and Google for Education pages to discover these gems yourself! :)
At the PLA Conference in Denver last month, I attended a lot of great sessions. As I was writing up my notes for the PLA Highlights webinar on April 19 and the WAPL Conference next week, I realized there was a common thread among them.
Time - or the lack of time - especially when it comes to learning and staff development. And, how setting aside a few minutes a day or an hour a week is key to developing skills.
In Tech Assistance for Cutting Edge Communities, librarians from Denver Public Library and the Arapahoe Library District talked about having dedicated technology specialists in their libraries. This is really awesome but may not be possible in all libraries. One of the key ideas they talked about was "hiring great staff who are passionate about helping people" and then developing their technical skills. They offer "Tinkertime" for staff when the library is closed and build in time for staff to play and learn.
In Play Your Way to an Engaged Staff, librarians from the ImagineIF Libraries in Kalispell, Montana schedule staff for a weekly "happy hour" (or portion of an hour depending on their schedule) so they can learn something new, take a class, play with new equipment, or whatever they want to do.
Then, in Bite-Sized Staff Training with Julia Huprich from the Georgia Public Library Service, I heard about "microlearning" and was immediately intrigued. While your library may not be able to give staff an hour a week or dedicated "tinkertime", how about 5 or 10 minutes? I especially appreciated how Leah Fritsche, the director of the Deerfield Public Library, turned this around to emphasize the importance of learning anytime - what can I learn (or teach) in 5 minutes?
And, you've actually been participating in microlearning simply by reading TechBits regularly - woo hoo! Happy Reading and Learning!
John's collection of tech tips, trends, and training for NFLS librarians
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