Webinar- Technology Skills Training Programs for Library Staff – 2016-01-27

Webinar- Technology Skills Training Programs for Library Staff – 2016-01-27


Hello and welcome. Thank you for joining us
for today’s TechSoup for Libraries webinar, Technology Skills for Library Staff:
Effective & Engaging Training Programs. My name is Crystal and I will be your host.
In just a minute we will be joined by 2 guests for today who will share some of the successful
staff training that they have been offering. Because technology changes so rapidly it can
be difficult to keep our staff up to speed. So our panelists will share examples of how
they have developed fun and engaging training for staff. But before we begin I have
just a few brief announcements to share. We will be using the ReadyTalk platform
for our meeting today. Please use the chat in the lower left corner to send
questions and comments to the presenters. We will be tracking your questions
throughout the webinar and will answer them at the designated Q&A sections during
the webinar. All of your chat comments will only come to the presenters, but
if you have comments or ideas to share we will forward them back out to
the entire group as best we can. You do not need to raise your hand to ask a
question. Simply type it into the chat box. Should you get disconnected during the
webinar you can reconnect using the same link in your confirmation email. You
should be hearing the conference audio through your computer speakers, but if your
audio connection is unclear you can dial in using the phone number in your confirmation
email or that we shared in the chat. If you are having any technical
issues, please send us a chat message and we will try to assist you. This webinar is being recorded and will
be archived on the TechSoup website. If you are called away from the webinar
or if you have connection issues, you can watch a full recording later. You will
receive an archive email within about 2 days that will include a link to the recording,
the PowerPoint slides, and any additional links or resources shared during today’s
session. If you are tweeting this webinar, please use the hashtag #ts4libs. We have
someone from TechSoup live tweeting this event, so please join us in
the conversation there. TechSoup is dedicated to serving the world’s
nonprofit organizations and libraries. TechSoup was founded in 1987 and has a global
network of partners. We connect libraries and nonprofits to technology, resources,
and support so that you can operate at your full potential, more effectively
deliver programs and services, and better achieve your missions. TechSoup has helped to distribute over
14 million software and hardware donations to date through our product donation program.
And we offer a wide range of software, hardware, and services including software like
Microsoft Office and refurbished computers. For more information about TechSoup’s
product donations and to learn about technology donations of interest
to libraries, please visit TechSoup.org and click on Get Products and Services
or visit TechSoup.org/libraries. All right, so we have 2 guests joining
us today. Diana Laughlin joins us from Estes Park Colorado where she is the
Tech Guide at the Estes Valley Library. Diana will be telling us about their
competency-based training program to help make staff become more
tech savvy. Rachel Schmidt joins is from Sunnyvale California where
she is the Adult Services Librarian at the Sunnyvale Public Library. And she is
going to tell us about the Tech Ninja program they developed to create an inclusive and
self-paced learning experience for all Library staff. My name is Crystal Schimpf and I
will be your host for today’s webinar. Assisting us with chat and with Twitter
we have Ginny Mies and Susan Bard from the TechSoup team. We will be on
Twitter using the @TechSoup4Libs handle and the hashtag #ts4libs.
So we hope to see you there. Now we will have time for questions throughout
the webinar so please send us your questions using the chat as they arise, and we
will address as many as we are able to. If you ask a question that we are not
able to address during the webinar, we will follow up later via email with a
response. Now this webinar again, is being recorded and all of the slides, resources, and materials
will be included in the archive of this webinar which you will receive in about 2 days. Now we’d like to know a little bit about you as
well and what brought you to the webinar today. So we are just going to do a few quick polls.
So this first one we would like to know, are staff in your library or nonprofit
if you are joining from a nonprofit today, are your staff excited to learn about
technology? And try to think of staff as a whole. And what you can do is select one of
these buttons and then click Submit and then you will be taken to the results
and your result will be shared with us. And you will be able to see what
everybody else as saying as well. I’m going to give you a few seconds for this.
I know this can be may be hard to assess. Some of you might have rather large staff, so we
are just looking kind of at the big picture here. Are your library staff excited about learning
new technology, or learning about technology? All right, so it looks like we have,
well, about three fourths of everybody have submitted a response. So I’m going
to give you just a few more seconds and I will close the poll in 3,
2, and 1. I’ll close this now. All right, and it looks like there is a pretty
clear majority here that some are and some aren’t. So we have a real mix among our staff.
I’m happy to see that about 14% of you say that yes, yes staff are enthusiastic and
excited about learning new technology. And I know that for some of us that may not be
the case, that the people are really resistant to learning about technology. So
hopefully in the stories that we hear today you will get some ideas for how to increase
that enthusiasm, or maybe capture that enthusiasm if it already exists. All right so let’s do one more poll
here. Now this one we are curious what library technology topics would be most
needed for staff training in your library. And you can just select one of these.
Which one of these would be most needed for staff training in your library?
We do have an “other” option here. You’ll see that the options that we gave
you really relate to the library resources. And of course there are so many
different technology topics out there we couldn’t list them all. But we thought well,
maybe let’s start with these library topics that are most important the library
resources, catalog, that sort of thing. So let us know which of these is most
needed for staff training in your library. And I know it might take a few seconds
to think about this. And of course if you are putting in “other” we will see it
in the chat. That’s nice for us to see that. And seeing definitely things about the
e-book, not just the e-book but e-book readers coming through in the chat, office software,
the desktop computer technology itself. Of course supporting people on
their devices is a big concern. And then also talking about some of the internal
library systems, ILS, that sort of thing, integrated library systems that people have that
they need to learn in order to work in the library. Those are important technology tools as well,
aren’t they? Things about coding and robotics. All right, we are seeing lots and
lots of responses coming into the chat. That’s great to see. And
also seeing that most of the – the poll is really slowing down at this point. So
I’m going to close it in just a few seconds here. I’m seeing things coming in the chat
also mentioning upgrades to new software like Office 365 for example. So again,
definitely lots of things to be worried about when it comes to staff training. I’m
going to close the poll now in 3, 2, and 1. A few of you got your answers
in right at the last second here. We have a clear lead here
with library e-resources, so those are the different digital
resources, subscription databases, other tools that the library offers that you really want
your patrons to be able to know about them of course, but also that means that
staff needs to know how they work. And there are so many of those, so
I can understand that. Also e-books and public computer software at kind of a
tie there, so definitely a big need there. All right, well thank you for sharing in
these polls what your biggest concern was and also kind of what your general status is
in your library as far as technology training. And this is really just to set up our
panelists today. So what I’m going to do now is I’m going to hand things over to Diana
and she is going – again, Diana is joining us from the Estes Valley Library which is
in Colorado. And she is going to tell us how she has helped and her library has helped
bring staff from tech shy to tech savvy. So Diana? Diana: Thank you so much Crystal. And it’s
so great to be here with all of you today. So I am Diana Laughlin. I am the Tech
Guide at the Estes Valley Library. And I’m actually only 20 hours a week here
at the library. I was hired 2 years ago. And for the first 6 months of my position my
only responsibility was to train the library staff in technology. Now I offer tech classes
to the public, book librarian sessions and I train our new staff. So we are one branch
library serving the town of Estes Park Colorado and outlying communities. A few
things that make our community unique, we are overall a retirement community,
so about 50% of the people who live here are over the age of 50. And we could be
defined as a very well educated community and also a well-traveled community. This
means that our library, the adult programs are very popular and our
community values lifelong learning. I’ll tell you a little bit about our staff. We
have about 25 people on staff, of course it varies by one or 2 people from time to time. Our teams
include admin, circulation, technical, services, adult services, youth services. And we use
substitutes who cover the shifts on our desk in the event that one of our circ team members
is not available. And every single person on our staff participated in our tech training.
This came about because our library director wanted to increase the tech literacy
of our staff before offering programs to increase tech literacy of our community. So
we created a formal training process for the staff to learn technical competencies. And this
included preparing for a tech final assessment that the staff completed at the end of the 6
months of training, so that we would have a way to measure each staff member’s skill level.
Here are the skills that we focused on in our staff tech training; e-services,
connecting mobile devices to the library’s Wi-Fi, setting up the AV in our meeting rooms
which includes a projector and airplay for connecting Apple devices, just some basic
file management, you know managing pictures and files on our staff share server, and
using copiers and printers both for the public and for things that the staff do with copying
and creating flyers and things like that. So as we started this tech training process
people were afraid. The message the staff was hearing was kind of like you have to
learn these tech skills to keep your job. Well, that was true but we were also giving the
staff so many opportunities to learn and grow their skills over time
that success was attainable. I started with a one-to-one meeting with
each staff member so I could introduce myself and ask what kind of tech skills were important
to them, ask what they wanted to learn, find out what their colleagues needed help
with. And then we started by having each member of the staff fill out a self-evaluation on their
tech skills. Then the first phase of our tech training was based on what people most wanted
help with. So especially at the beginning, I did things like just sit in the
staff lunch room and get to know people. And I tried to keep asking, how
can I help you do your job better because that was really my role, not
to be some scary tech learning enforcer. And we could take it slow. We had 6
months to complete our tech training. And I told the staff that they don’t need to
know the answers to our customer’s questions right off the top of their head. What we are
asking them to do instead was just to start by trying to figure out what the
customer’s question or issue was, and then look for a resource that might help
them. If they are not successful in that process, then of course they can pass on the
question to our technical services staff. So it is just like any reference interview
where we would say, I’m not sure of the answer to your question but let’s
look for an answer together. So during most of our trainings I would try to
provide as much hands-on learning as possible. So often times I would sit back and I would let
our staff read through step-by-step instructions for what they were learning and take
turns with hands on on the devices. This is kind of a silly picture. We have a
tech, we have a tech scavenger hunt once a year that the staff get into a team and have matching
bandannas and have to go all over the library and complete different tasks together. So
I’m not quite sure why she is holding a cow in the picture, but there you have it. So
anyways, back to our 6 months of training. So the group trainings typically have
2 to 6 staff members attend at a time so it was small groups which was great
for learning. And these group trainings weren’t actually required. They were all optional.
Instead, the staff might choose to meet with me one-to-one for extra help, or they might choose
to go to our staff website to get some resources where I had step-by-step instructions. And
the idea was the staff could learn these skills anyway they like. They are responsible for their
learning and the way that works best for them. So I will give you some specific
examples of how I train the staff on connecting a mobile device to our
library’s Wi-Fi. And I’m sure this is going to sound familiar to many
of you who are listening. So in order to connect a mobile device to
our library Wi-Fi, the customer has to agree to terms of service which pop up in an
Internet browser. Of course, on older devices the Internet browser won’t pop up automatically,
or it pops up and people ignore it, or people don’t know to scroll all the
way down to the bottom of that pop up where they need to push a button to agree.
So in order to keep this training relevant for our staff, I showed the staff exactly how
all of those common ways that our customers get stuck so that they would know how to help.
In our group trainings I would demonstrate how to connect a number of different mobile
devices to Wi-Fi, like iPad, Kindle Fire, Android tablet, iPhone, and some of those
were older devices. So the staff had to learn, okay, I open Safari or whatever the
Internet browser is on the device in order to get the terms of service to pop
up. And then I made this learning available in multiple formats so I had step-by-step
directions on our staff website about how to connect to our Wi-Fi and all
these common issues that come up with it. Then finally, on the final assessment
the staff completed, one of the tasks is a technical reference interview where
I was pretending to be a library customer who was skipping the step of
agreeing to the terms of the Wi-Fi and just trying to go right to my email on
my mobile device. So staff had to troubleshoot through that common situation with me. Now of course, any time we are
asking people to learn new skills and to add additional responsibilities to
their positions, of course there is going to be some resistance to that. Resistance is normal.
And the way it looked for the staff at my library was a question that would come up and I
actually never heard the question directly but I would hear it through the grapevine.
And I think it was a good question. The question was, “Why do we have to
learn how to do the Tech Services job?” Well, the answer was you don’t. So we
were asking the staff to learn how to use all of the tools that a customer can use
at our library, but we weren’t asking them to learn the skills that the staff do.
So for example, we wanted all the staff to be comfortable checking out and
downloading an e-book to a mobile device. However, they didn’t have to learn how
to install the app for the e-book on 5 different kinds of devices. That was the
responsibility for the Tech Services staff only. We wanted all of our staff to learn how to
log on to and print from a public computer, but they didn’t have to learn how to manage
the print queue. Does that make sense? I think it’s an important distinction.
And the other way that I noticed some resistance was I just needed to
remind the staff to practice these skills. It is not enough to come to a group training
and try a skill once, and have it work and be like okay, I’ve got it. You know,
they won’t really have it the next time the situation comes up, especially
when it comes up with a customer, and they have a line of a dozen
more customers waiting at the desk. So I got to say annoying teacher things
like, I noticed that the people who practiced did the best on their midterm. That just
seemed to help to remind people to practice. And I kept reminding the staff that
the goal of all of this training and all these extra responsibilities and
learning that we were taking on is just to help us feel more confident in helping patrons and to
help us support the tech literate community. It helps to keep these trainings as light
and as fun as we could. I don’t know about at your library, strangely, I noticed that
costumes are actually a motivating factor for us to have at our library. So I have a lot
of success with like borrowing costumes from youth services, letting the staff dress-up
in a goofy way, and take a picture of themselves with the green screen. I don’t
know why, but they loved it. And I wanted to point out in this picture,
there is a woman in the center of the picture with her bandanna on her head and she is
wearing a pretty necklace and a purple shirt. That is actually our library director. So
every single one of our staff participated in our tech training. And here is our
library director on the yellow bandanna team at our tech scavenger hunt. I think that
was a great model for our staff to follow. So it was important to our library
director to have a quantitative way to assess the staff tech skills. She
really wanted to see that after making this big investment in our staff, 6 months
of training, hiring me as a 20 hour per week position just to train the staff, she
wanted to see some outcomes from that, and see that our staff had learned our list
of tech competencies. So we created a midterm and a final assessment to measure the
staff’s tech skills. And those were done as one to one appointments with
me. So staff met with me one to one. The midterm took about 30 minutes. The final
took about an hour. And with both assessments the staff received a list of tech
tasks that they needed to complete. And then I was just their shadow following
them around as they completed those tasks. And in order to help me evaluate how they were
doing, I created some really clear scoring. So the score that they received on each task
of their assessment was based on how much time it took the staff member to complete the task,
and also if they needed any hints or helps from me while they were completing the task.
They were welcome to bring any resources that they wanted. So they could bring
handouts, or look at thing on the website, or have the step-by-step instructions with them.
And all of that didn’t change their score at all because that is how it is in real-life, right?
When we get a question we have our resources available to help answer that question. By the way, Crystal is going to make
these resources available to you, so you will get an archive email after
this webinar. And included in that is going to be a link where I’ve made the
midterm, the final assessment, the scoring. Also I listed tech competencies available.
And you’ll also see that handouts from all of the tech glasses that I offer to the
public. So please feel free to look through that information and adapt it
for use at your library. So with the scoring system in place for their
assessments the staff earned a score of an A through F on each of the tasks. And
they really had to earn their scores. I was definitely holding them accountable.
And that’s why I have this quote about someone I overheard saying how proud she was of
her B. So we decided that an 80% or better was required for their score on the final
assessment. And 3 of our staff members had to retake their final assessment
because they got D’s or F’s on it. Out of those, 2 of them ended up getting
A’s when they retook the final assessment. So it appeared the final assessment was
that final nudge and motivating factor that they needed to be successful. And I will tell
you that actually one member of our staff retired as a result of this tech training. And that was
really sad. That was really hard for our staff. This process absolutely was challenging
at times for our staff. I was asking them to learn new tech skills during some
of the busiest times of our year. But I found that they absolutely rose to the
occasion. Now we are seeing that our staff feel more confident helping our customers with
their tech questions, that our customer’s needs are being met more efficiently, because
now more often the first person they ask is able to help them. Our Tech Services
staff is grateful for this training process because they are finding that they can
better focus on their responsibilities and they are not getting as many
calls for help from our staff. So with an average score of 90% on the
final assessment, we can conclude yes, our staff is tech literate. Of course, that is
not the end. I continue to take new staff members through a similar process to get them up to
board, up to speed after they have started with us. And we maintain those skills by having
an annual tech scavenger hunt for the staff which as you can see from our pictures is a lot
of fun. They get to go all around the library doing different tech skills including dressing
up in costumes in front of our green screen. So thank you so much for listening. Please
send in your question so I can try to help you understand and think about how to bring
a program like this to your library. And Crystal, thanks for having me today. Crystal: Great. Well Diana, thank
you for sharing this training program that you’ve put together. And certainly
you have given us a lot of detail. And I’m sure everybody’s looking
forward to taking a look at the resources that you have been so willing to share.
We have had a few questions come in. And you can continue to send your questions
in and we will get to as many as we can. And we have a few minutes for questions right
now. And one area that I want to ask a couple of questions Diana, is just getting the staff
and how you were able to able to allow the staff time. The first question is, can you just repeat,
how many employees you have at the library? Diana: Great. We have 25 employees
who all participated in this training. Crystal: Great. And you mentioned
there were, were there substitutes that also got to participate? Diana: They did. So we used substitutes
on our circ desk, on our service desk who help when circulation staff are unavailable
for their shift. And they participated too. Crystal: And were those librarians
or library assistants or a mix? Diana: Everybody is kind of unique in
that we actually don’t have a lot of people who have completed their masters and who we
would call librarians. So actually the majority of our staff we could classify as library
assistants. They are bringing other kinds of talents to our team. Crystal: Great. And then this question about
time, so was the training done during work hours and was the library still open during that time?
I know you said you did it in some smaller teams, so how did that work? Diana: Right, that’s a great question. And I
see a lot of those questions here in the chat right now. So when we did that tech scavenger
hunt, that was pretty much the only time when every single member of our staff
was required to be in the same room at the same time. So we accomplished
that when the library was closed. We close the library 2 days out of the
year for staff development, so that team was kind enough to give me a few hours during
one of those days. All of the others trainings happened pretty much while the library was
open by me reserving one of our meeting rooms for us to use. And I would hold like with
the group trainings, I would offer each one at least 3 different times so that it
would be more available to different people based on their schedules, based on their
shifts. It was absolutely paid time for everyone. So in the case of someone who works on our
service desk, they don’t really have many hours beyond their on desk time. So they were able
to get from their supervisors, permission to spend extra additional hours to their normal
schedule in order to fit in this tech training. Crystal: And then as far as the practice,
I’m not sure you quite got to that part. So when people were working on individual
practice did they have to ask for time for that? Was it during their
workday? How did that work? Diana: Oh that’s a great question. So it was
during their workday. And if it wasn’t possible for them to fit in that time because they
are always on the desk or we have so many other responsibilities, they were allowed to
have extra time to come in a little earlier, leave a little later. And they were encouraged
to spend that time even if it is by themselves just spending an hour to go into the meeting
room and practice connecting a computer to the projector. They were encouraged
to spend that extra time in their schedule so that they could
accomplish this training. Crystal: Now we did have some specific interest
in the scavenger hunt. And the first question is in the resources that we’ll be sharing
out in the archive, on that resource page do you have an example of one of the
scavenger hunts? Or is that something you would be able to
share with the audience? Diana: Oh, that’s such a great question. I
actually don’t think I have the scavenger hunt listed at this time. Oh, I do actually.
So I just checked the link. And yes, I have the scavenger hunt tasks available.
So yeah, when you get this archive email link, you will see the tasks that our staff got
through the scavenger hunt. Great question. I’m glad that I thought
to share that with you. Crystal: Great. We are getting a
whole lot of new questions coming in. We have about one more minute right
now before we are going to move on and hear from Rachel. But I just want to let
everybody know that if you’ve still got questions we’ll follow up. We might have
time before the end of the webinar, but if not we will follow up with you via
email later on. So just to let you know, if you’ve still got questions
keep sending them in. But one more question about the scavenger
hunt which is really, was the goal of the scavenger hunt to kind of
familiarize staff with what was out there, or was it to give them a practice opportunity?
What was the purpose of the scavenger hunt in your mind? Diana: Right. I feel like the purpose
was maintenance, to maintain the skills that they had learned. A lot of the tasks were
repeating things that they had already done. But maybe giving it a new shift making
it more fun, like adding costumes, like adding stuffed animals. So the idea
was we’ve completed the 6 months of training. Everyone passed their final assessment.
But of course we need to keep practicing. We need to get you back into the
meeting room. We need to get you with an iPad in your hands again.
So maintenance, but then adding some more fun and throwing in
a few new things as well. Crystal: Great. Well it sounds like people
really had a good time with the training. And despite one person not sticking with the
library afterwards, it seems like the majority really enjoyed it and that it was
a very fun and engaging training. So thank you for sharing it with us. Diana: Thank you for having me today. Crystal: Great. We’ll see, we might have some
more time for some more questions for Diana at the end, but I know we
also want to hear from Rachel. So at this point I’m going to hand
things over to Rachel. Just to remind you, she is joining us from the Sunnyvale Public
Library in California. And she is going to tell us about the self-paced Tech Ninja training which
they implemented for their library staff. Rachel? Rachel: Hi everyone. So excited to be here with
you all virtually. And I just wanted to start with sort of a description of
our library here in Sunnyvale. We are located probably about 30 minutes,
40 minutes’ drive from San Francisco, in between San Jose and San Francisco.
So we are in the heart of Silicon Valley. We have one library in the city of
Sunnyvale and it is a very big library. Our city is about 147,000 people. And we have
about 55,000 people coming through the library every month, over a million checkouts a year.
So that’s just sort of a picture of our library. So I have a few questions for you. And
obviously I won’t be able to hear your answer but I think your answers will be yes.
The first one is, do you want to see your Library Management Team
do something embarrassing? I’m going to just say that you’d say
yes. So in this picture you see one of our library administrators,
Patrick Sweeney, doing a sing-along. He is playing the song “The Load”
by the Band, so that song that goes, “Take a load off Fanny. Take a load for free.”
It was great. Basically the staff got to see him do that, and sing-along with him.
On the right we have Sue Kaplan who is one of our children’s supervising
librarians. And she did the best, very entertaining silent
performance of Green Eggs and Ham. And that was like a great picture
of her face. My 2nd question is, does your staff training need a recharge?
And I think most of you will probably say yes. This is actually a picture of my puppy and one
of my best friends after a long weekend camping. And we were pooped out as you can tell.
So check out our staff in Sunnyvale. It’s a very large staff. We have anywhere from 35
to 65 staff members in the building at all times. As I said, were pretty large library.
And so what we wanted, we had a few goals with this Tech Ninja training. We
wanted to get everyone on the same page with our customer service. So when
you walk into a library, many patrons have the same questions. How do I find
e-books? How do I sign up for 3-D printing? How do I access my account online?
They are all very similar questions, and we wanted to make sure that staff
in every department felt comfortable answering these questions, maybe not
helping people download the e-books, but kind of as Diana was talking, there is
a difference. But we want our staff to feel comfortable with pointing them to the
resources and just being aware of the resources that we do have. So what we did was we
created a 7 week Tech Ninja training. And the training consisted of answering
these, showing people how to access these frequently asked questions,
like I said, examining the OPAC, where do you find e-books, where do I find
this on the web page, things like that. And when we took this to the management team
originally, we asked how can we give the staff prizes for this all staff training. Is there
a fund we can touch? Can we have a pizza party? And the Library management
staff said there isn’t a fund. So we had to get extremely creative. And
what we did is we asked the management team if they would share a little piece of themselves
with the staff if they all completed these goals. And so when I said that the management
team were going to do embarrassing things, they really weren’t embarrassing,
but they did go out on a limb and share a piece of themselves.
So Patrick did play on his guitar. Sue did do a Green Eggs and Ham. My boss
Christine Mendoza played Love Is an Open Door from Frozen on her flute. And our
director at the time, Lisa made brownies if we completed all these goals. And so
this was an all mandatory team challenge. Everyone had to participate. And what we did
was each week you had to go to this website that we all created. It was 3 librarians that
got together to kind of make this training exist. And so if you visit Svalelibrary.wordpress.com,
you can check out all of our challenges. And basically, I just want to read to you a
little description of how we sort of started. So this kind of gives you the feel of
what this ninja training is all about. “Welcome young ninjas. You are embarking
on a tech journey. Here are the steps. You found this site. Yay! Each week
look for new mission to complete. Each mission has 3 tasks and an optional
bonus. You are not alone. Ask anyone for help. Upon completion, click on the
mission’s name and leave a reply. In that reply you say “Mission accomplished.”
We are all working together to win prizes donated by the managers. Master the tasks, log
your comments, and watch the ninja meter rise. Together we will all
be come ninja masters.” So that’s sort of the style which we took. It
was extremely fun coming up with this language. I think I definitely looked at 80s Nintendo
games for sort of Legend of Zelda style for the these descriptions.
But we wanted to make it fun. We wanted to make it very accessible for staff.
And all staff was able with granted free time to do this on a weekly basis. So we did
7 ninja skills. And each week over 7 weeks they would have to do 3 tasks.
And at the end of those 3 tasks they would complete their mission. So that’s
kind of how it works. And we set up laptops all over the Library if some staff
weren’t able to access a computer, so that it was very accessible. We
checked in with all staff to make sure that they were really trying to complete
the tasks and they felt comfortable. And we would, all the librarian
mentors would walk around and make sure that they were comfortable with these tasks.
So these were the topics that we did cover. And like I said we went over OPAC,
how to find stuff. We use Discover & Go which is a museum passes service. And all
these things are sort of hidden in our website. Library websites are not the best things. Ours
definitely is not and it’s pretty hard to find certain things. So just even showing
staff the quick way of accessing things is really important. And so I’ll give you an
example of one of the tasks that we did do. So the DVD car rolls out. Customers are
hovering waiting for their moment to pounce. I’m sure you guys have this at your library
too. A guy walks up to the desk and asks, “How do I find what the newest movies are?”
And then on our site actually, this is our OPAC. There is a picture. We actually, we create a link
for all of our new arrivals which that large arrow is pointing to. And that’s a very hot link. I mean
that link is really helpful for all of the librarians for sure, but staff and people that
want new movies are all over that link. But our circulation staff doesn’t necessarily
use that. So we wanted to make sure that people realized that that is a quick
way of getting the information. Another example is everyone wants to know
about e-books. They know when they walk up to our information desk – by the way, our
information desk is combined circulation and librarian desk. So it is
a reference/circulation desk. So when people walk-up they are not sure if
they’re talking to a librarian or whoever. And so they might just say, “I want to know
how to get free e-books.” And most of the staff, pre this training, just handed it off to
a librarian. But what we wanted was people to just be able to show where to
access these things on our website. So it was more of a clean hand off. And so this
is just a picture of someone wanting e-books. And we just did a sample task like, “You plan
on traveling to a warm tropical destination once this whole ninja thing is over. How will you
use the catalog to build a virtual list of items you would like to read on the beach?” And then, “Hint: You must find
and add the items to your cart.” And we are just giving people sort of tips on how
to find those and how to help patrons find them as well. And our circulation staff actually
answers a lot of the phone questions too. So that helps them when they are talking to
someone and patrons about accessing things through their account online. So yeah, that’s
another example that we used for our tasks. And then our last task was, “Would you like
Fries with that? The art of up selling.” So once they were, once all staff were
able to find and navigate to these resources and perhaps also show patrons how to do
that, how do they share that information with the staff? So we really wanted
just like when you walk into a Starbucks when they try to offer you a muffin or
whatever, we wanted our library staff to be able and feel comfortable doing that as well. So
when someone says, “Oh, here is your library card you can also access Consumer Reports. And
we have a 3-D printer which you can sign up through this way.” So I think that in the
end, we had a pretty high participation. We did get Lisa’s brownies at the end which
was great. We accomplished all the missions. But what we really did is we bonded together
as a staff. So this was like I’ve been here almost 5 years and this was the first all
staff training that I had participated in. And probably like a lot of your libraries,
you are going through an influx right now where there are a lot of new staff
members coming in. People are retiring. So we’ve been hiring like crazy. And it’s
just what we really needed was a fun way to bond with staff in a library way. So that’s
kind of what we did do. So yeah, that’s about it. Crystal: Great. Well, Rachel, thank you for
sharing your Tech Ninja training program, your library’s Tech Ninja program. And
interesting, because it’s a very different style going about the training, than what Diana shared
with us, but still obviously very effective and very fun. We’ve had a few questions
come in and we have time for that now. And I’ll just let everybody in the
audience know if you have any questions you would like to send and, there is
plenty of time for you to do that now. We will get as many as we can before our
time is up today. Rachel, one of the questions that has come up so far also relates to time,
but really relates to the time it took you and your team to create the online ninja
challenge. So how much time did it take and was it easy, or was it difficult? Rachel: It was extremely fun. If you go and check
that out, we definitely, I think the fun part was trying to create this lingo of whatever
Tech Ninja v. Legend of Zelda is or whatever. I don’t think it took too much time. I would
say may be 3 librarians worked on it together from different departments, and we probably
spent a total overall of 3 hours each maybe. And that includes like our meetings
because the tasks are not terribly hard. If you go and check it out, there are things
that we talk about every day in the library. And so it was pretty easy for us to come up
with these things. I mean, and then there is the website part which maybe took a little
extra time. But we’ve done WordPress a lot here so we’re pretty
comfortable with using it. Crystal: Yeah, yeah. Now speaking of the website
I just want to clarify. So on that website are we able to see all of the 7 challenges
that you had? Are they available there? Rachel: You are. WordPress is a little
weird in that it shows the 7th first because it’s sequential, so it will just
show the last one first. If you scroll down you should be able to see
every mission that we did do. Crystal: And just again to remind everybody
listening in, that we will share that link in the archive which you will receive by the
end of the week. So if you didn’t snag that URL then we’ll get that to you soon enough
and you can go take a look there. So another question that is coming up, was
there any resistance to this being mandatory? And I’m sure you have many different job
classifications, so was there any resistance there? And if so, how
did you handle that? Rachel: Well, I mean, our mandatory was kind
of mandatory. So yes, everyone was in theory supposed to do these things. Now
did everyone do it? Probably 80% did. And actually, we as the team that led this tried
to encourage our librarians, fellow librarians, colleagues to participate, and
they were the least to participate and the same with the management team. So we
actually had a really high participation rate amongst the staff that we wanted to
really connect with as far as circulation, our tech services, people that are on
the desk but maybe have never had the okay to answer these reference style questions when
they are really informational based questions. So it’s sort of a shift in the way our library
was thinking as well. So basically, I mean, I would’ve hoped to had more
participation from the librarians here, but it was a little lower
than I thought, I guess. Crystal: Yeah. Now in terms of participation,
it sounds like you kind of handled this in a way where you wanted it to be
mandatory. It sounds like there wasn’t really any consequence, is that right? Rachel: Right. Crystal: For not completing it.
What about, was there an assignment? So how did you see if staff had actually
participated? What was their end product? Rachel: So if you visit the webpage,
they were, each week they had 3 tasks and they had to complete those in theory.
We never knew for sure if they did them. But at the end of completing those they
would leave a comment with their name on the WordPress blog saying “Mission
accomplished” with their name. And that way that is how we knew that they
completed the task or the mission for the week. Crystal: And you mentioned that some people
worked together on this. How did that work? Or did you hear how people were
using that collaborative effort? Rachel: Well, we just set up sort of laptops
over in circulation because most, the majority of their computers are used for working, or
checking in materials. So we would see people sort of trying to enter these tasks
together and then librarians would also go in and sort of walk around. I mean, these weren’t
scheduled, so they didn’t have to do them at a certain time. You just basically
had to do it by the end of the week. But we saw a large collaboration
amongst the staff as they were talking about how to complete these things. So
amongst circulation staff for example, they’ll have some people that are just
a lot more techie than some other ones. So they would work together to complete
those tasks together. Does that make sense? Crystal: It does. It does to me. And if it
doesn’t to those of you listening please send us more questions. We’ve still got some time and
we are making our way through the questions as we go. So another question similar to the
collaboration, but did anybody approach you or the other creators of this training
for help? Did anybody come to you and say, “I’m having difficulty with
this could you help me?” Rachel: Oh definitely. We sort of
called ourselves the Ninja Masters. And we were like okay please. I mean, and I
did my best on a weekly basis to sort of drum up the excitement because I think this could
be a boring thing. But if you talk about it and you say – I mean, if you check out our
tasks you will see that they’re quite funny and it could be a fun training. So what I
would do is sort of walk around and you know, at the beginning of the week say, “Oh we
posted the things. Let’s go check it out and let me know if ” sort of making
sure that people knew that if they needed to ask a question that we
were all there to answer. Crystal: Now one more kind of serious question
just about the way you planned this all out. Was there a –have you’d done any formal
evaluation, or is it the anecdotal feedback that you’ve been getting so far? Rachel: No formal eval. Crystal: And do you think you’ll
do something similar to this again? Rachel: I think so. We are actually in the
works right now of getting a new website. So I was just talking about – and I do think
this worked well, but I think in the next stage I might go a little bit more along the lines
of Diana’s, because hers seems more interactive. And I want to sort of force people to
be interactive, not just on a computer. So you know, I love Diana’s approach. I
don’t think at the time we had that much time to spend or dedicate to that. But once we get
a new website we are going to need that time of training, so I’m pretty
excited about working on that. Crystal: Great. Well I have one more
question for you Rachel and then I think we will bring Diana back on the line and have a
few questions for both of you before we sign off. But we got a question Rachel, about the
style of this training. And somebody says, “It’s fun and maybe a bit outrageous.” And
does that style match the corporate culture or the culture of your library, or did you
have to kind of stretch or push the organization in that direction? And a person who
wrote this says, “I love what you did but I’m in an academic library, so no one
has done anything that is off the grid.” So tell us a little bit about
the style of this training. Rachel: I definitely think like I said,
I had not seen any kind of training at all since I had been here, especially at an
all staff level. And so I think we wanted, as the training team got together, we wanted
to definitely be extremely lighthearted because I think that there were
areas of sensitivity among staff, especially with tech issues. So we wanted
to be very lighthearted. And the culture here sort of didn’t, hadn’t been that. But I think
this sort of brought in a lightheartedness that we really needed. And we pitched it
really well. So I think actually this was a step in a new direction of culture,
you know. Does that make sense? Crystal: It does. And it’s actually interesting
to hear that because I think in watching it you think “Oh, gosh, this library did all this
fun stuff.” So it’s really interesting to hear that this was a new step in that direction
for you to do something more fun and engaging. And that you saw that as a way to
engage people in a very difficult topic. So I’m glad you shared that with us. And
thanks to the person who asked that question. And actually that leads us to a question
I wanted to bring Diana in on this one. Maybe Diana if you are there, we’ll
have you take this one first which is, we’ve had a few questions now about
the resistance or people participating. And one person asked, “Do you think that
age was at all a factor in the acceptance or resistance to this training, or did
that not really seem to be the issue?” So Diana do you have
anything on that note? Diana: That’s such a good question.
You know, I probably can say that yes, I interacted with I’d say 2 members of our staff
who are kind of what everyone has in their mind right now, someone who is a few years
away from retirement, has done enough to keep their tech skills up to date
but doesn’t exactly reach out and embrace all the new technologies that are coming to
us these days. So yes, I definitely worked with a few people that I think would fit that
category. But I also found that it varied. I noticed a couple of our younger staff members
who you’d think would be really tech savvy, and I’m sure that they are at home in
their personal lives. I almost saw from them this kind of like, “Oh, I’m sure I can figure
this all out. I don’t have to come to training. I don’t have to come to practice. I can
usually just figure things out and that’s how I’ll do my final assessment.” And some of
them didn’t do as well on their final assessment, because it really does help
to practice these skills. Crystal: And Rachel, what about you,
did you have any issues related to age? Rachel: I wouldn’t say age. I would say the
division amongst departments from the past. So I think since we are such a large library
that each department does what they do, and they do it well, but there’s not a lot of
cross. So when someone walks up to the circulation, they’re like, “We do this, they do that.”
And that’s the thing we were trying to fight. And that’s the thing – sorry, it
seems crazy, but that’s the thing we were trying to sort of breakdown, I guess I
should say. Because we wanted a comfort level. So I wouldn’t say it was age at all, it
was just maybe the culture from before and then what we were trying to bring in is
what we were working with and dealing with. Diana: I’d like to add one thing. I noticed
in terms of departments that Rachel mentioned, I think I saw the same thing you did which
was the participation was most challenging with the tech services staff ironically,
because we were trying to help them. And also with management
just because they are so busy. They have so many responsibilities. So
those are the ones I had to follow up with I feel like more often just to make sure
they were scheduling their assessments during the time frames they
needed to and that sort of thing. Crystal: Well, thank you so much for
sharing both the answers to these questions. I know they weren’t all easy questions
to answer. But also, clearly we can see that you both put together very well thought
out programs and that you gave a lot of care to the way that you worked with the people
in your libraries to help them develop these new technology skills. I
know there were some questions that we weren’t able to get to but we
will follow up with those via email. If we did not answer your question
you’ll be hearing from you soon. But right now it is time for us to wrap up. So I
will just remind you that you will get an archive email within a few days that will include all of
the information from this webinar, the PowerPoint, the recording, and also the links
to each of the resource pages. You’ll be able to access those on your
own. I do have just a few announcement so if you will stay on the line and then we
will have just a very brief survey at the end where you will be able to tell us
what you thought it today’s webinar. But a couple of announcements you might be
interested in, first of all if you are interested in a product called GrantStation, this
is a very special product from TechSoup that is on a discounted one-year membership
and today is the last day for that. So we wanted to make sure that you know it is
$99. It’s a $600 discount off the retail price. And you can get that through
today at TechSoup.org/GrantStation. We’ll put that link in the chat. Also
we have several upcoming webinars too that may be of interest is next week
on Wednesday we have one about a product called Silk that can help bring
your organization’s story to life through data visualization. So that’s pretty
interesting. And then our next libraries webinar will be on February 17 and we will have guests
from DPOA Digital Public Library of America sharing resources for getting started
with digitalization. And you can find that on the TechSoup webinar page and also
view archives of past webinars there. I’m happy to share with you that the TechSoup
for Libraries web page recently got a new look, so check it out if you haven’t been there in
a while. TechSoup for Libraries is a division that addresses specific technology needs for
public libraries. We collect and share stories from public libraries about utilizing
technology, and we share them via webinars, blog posts etc. So visit us at
TechSoupforLibraries.org to share your story and read stories from
others that have been shared. Again, just one more brief moment. We
will share a survey with you at the end. But I just would again like to thank Diana and
Rachel for sharing their training programs today, thank ReadyTalk for being our sponsor, and
of course, thank you for joining us today and hearing what we had to say. Have a great afternoon everybody.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *