Tech Training for Web 2.0

Janie Hermann is the Technology Training Librarian at Princeton (NJ) Public Library and spoke really, really fast about the exciting computer training that is happening at her library. For a long time, Princeton PL was involved in teaching the traditional classes: finding travel info online, subject specific internet classes, email, mouse skills, online catalogs, and more basic basics! Seeing a drop-off in registration and attendance for these classes, she changed gears and headed in the 2.0 direction. Here are her 10 tips for getting people into the library and teaching Web 2.0:

Tip 1: Outreach

  • Place yourself as a tech guru in the community by offering to give talks about 2.0 and social software to local groups (pc user groups, career support groups, chamber of commerce). This is also a good way into a group to talk about library resources. Get out and get known!
Tip 2: Start Modest
  • Implement monthly lecture/demo programs that will appeal to advanced users
  • "Technology Talks" - invite guest speakers to cut down on staff time
  • Princeton PL does a series called DataBytes - for staff to stay current with databases; also opened to the public; not hands-on, is a lunchtime lecture
  • Use these bigger programs to tie into hands-on
Tip 3: Develop Communication Channels
  • Gather email addresses at every session or class you offer; start with a targeted email list and then do a tech blog
Tip 4: Cover the Basics
  • Create a comprehensive training and lesson plan with appropriate support materials and handouts
  • Computer Lab staff are great instructors in this capacity
Tip 5: Train Staff or Volunteers
  • Training the trainers is essential! Provide practice sessions before going live to work out the glitches; use staff as guinea pigs!
Tip 6: Walk the Walk
  • Allow time for staff to play with new technology; Create blogs, wikis, podcasts for your website; and stay on top of trends!
Tip 6a: Keep Classes in Constant Beta
  • Update lesson plans frequently; websites change so often that it's important to update screenshots, navigational directions, etc.
Tip 7: Promote!!
  • Get all of the computer training in print calendars, press releases, library newsletter, get front page real estate on website
  • Include profiles of you and your tech staff, generate email lists and create blogs
Tip 8: Variety
  • Rotate classes; vary the type of classes like bootcamps, one-shots, mini courses with homework. One-shots generally aren't too helpful (which is pretty much all we at SPL do!)
Tip 9: Learning Together
  • Train staff with patrons to create transparency. Reserve seats in the training sessions for staff attendance. Staff can also help out if necessary!
Tip 10: Prove the value
  • Keep plenty of statistics and get ongoing testimonials to demonstrate impact

What's Hot?
Fun with Flickr; Become a Blogger; Fantastic Freebies Roadshow; What's the Fuss About RSS?; Photoshop mini-course; Firefox Extensions; School for Scanning

What's Not?
Meet the mouse; Learn the Library Catalog; Email Essentials; Intro to Search Engines;
Subject-specific classes

What's Lukewarm?
Shortcuts and timesaving tricks; Computer basics; Intro to internet; digital camera test drive; Genealogy online; Top sites and other treasures

Sadly, what I learned from this presentation is that we're doing everything that's so not hot and lukewarm. Loads of great ideas, though! Janie blogs at librarygarden.blogspot.com. Check out all of her presentation slides there.

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