E304 – Staff Training: Experiments & Experiences
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Leah L White, Reader Services Librarian, Northbrook Public Library
Gwyneth Stupar, Adult Services Librarian, Barrington Area Library
Pamela Carson, Web Services Librarian, Concordia University Libraries
Michael P Sauers, Technology Innovation Librarian, Technology & Access Services, Nebraska Library Commission
Let’s face it – I started in Track E today, it roooooooocked, and so I’ve stuck around all day. Consistency, kids. (Good in UX and life choices).
Presenting together, Leah and Gwyneth:
The best way to serve patrons/users/members: through staff training. Empower the staff – remove the fear!
Simplify your service points — you can’t have the “oh, that guys does THAT, I don’t even know what you’re talking about” thing going on constantly. If you remove the fear, you remove the need for that sort of interaction to occur. Encourage the mindset of “we’re all in this together, and must learn from each other”!
Staff training tips:
- add the idea of “training” to a routine that’s already happening — or, total opposite idea — make an entirely new event/series specifically for staff to learn new things (GetGlue! Pinterest! Wheeeee!)
- allow your staff to have opportunities to play and figure out how the heck stuff works
- Create a team that wants to learn and wants to encourage others to learn
- Get the positive people on your team first — work on the resistant or more negative folks over time 🙂
- Workbooks, whee! If you have training materials for your patrons — why don’t you have any for your staff? Make it yourself.
- Pilot your program with your creative, positive team!
- If you’re going to make your program mandatory – and you probably will want to do so – offer multiple points of entry and formats for the learning environment. Not everyone likes workbooks (note to self!) but they may be willing to learn through other formats!
What to do after? Promote your highly trained staff to the public! Get outside the library building, meet people where they are, and help them however you best can.
And now… “Lifelong Learning, Informal Learning, & IT” with Pamela Carson (from Montreal!)
You can’t give up on learning. But, to empower lifelong learning and make it an enjoyable experience — look to informal learning — where the process, location, purpose, and content are determined and controlled by the learner.
You don’t have to go back to school to learn things. That’s where informal learning comes in.
2010 study: 90% of adults participate in informal learning activities. This is a facet of the knowledge economy in which we’re living.
Researchers tend to think that “lurking” really is a “legitimate peripheral participants” — the concept of ‘learning from the sidelines’.
How do we foster lifelong learning?
- capacity building — enable the choice to persevere through the struggles
- organizational supports — examples: a list-serv for new employees that allows them to lurk on the conversations that are happening; weekly progress reports on projects allows a ‘rookie’ to shadow and follow along with their development
Newsflash: you, right now, reading this blog, are an informal learner. Celebrate it! Embrace it. Seek out more informal learning opportunities that will benefit you – and you’ll be a model to others.
And now… Michael Sauers with “23 Things”
The original program (learning 2.0) was done with staff in 2008, and ran over about 16 weeks. It was successful enough to expand!
The second interation “Nebraska Learns 2.0” was available for fifteen CE credits — there was over a 50% completion rate, which is remarkably high for this type of self-directed learning. Partial completion didn’t earn partial credit, but did up-boost continued participation.
Evaluation remarks said ‘do more of this’, ‘keep going’, so the third iteration was born and started with “Thing 24”. They are currently on thing 66! The topics have gone all sorts of directions. They’re also doing a “BookThing” program – this month’s book is You Are Not A Gadget. They’re trying to foster collaboration by putting a sort of ‘time stamp’ where you need to complete XYZ within period 123 to get # of CE credits.
Look, it’s gonna happen – people sign up before understanding it and then drop off if you don’t keep telling them what’s going on. Constant promotion is necessary – “the new thing is up! Go learn it!” – and it needs to be promoted across the board.