Webinar – You Can Do I.T.! Empower Library Staff with Basic Tech Management Skills – 2017-02-08

Webinar – You Can Do I.T.! Empower Library Staff with Basic Tech Management Skills – 2017-02-08


Crystal: Welcome and thank you for joining
us for today’s TechSoup for Libraries webinar: “You Can Do I.T.! How to Empower Library
Staff with Basic Tech Management Skills.” My name is Crystal, and I’ll be your host. In just
a minute, we’ll be joined by our guest for today who will share their curriculum and examples of
how it can be used to build your own IT skills, to build the skills of your staff, and
to better serve library users as a result. But before we begin, I have just
a few 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 section at the end. 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 with the
entire group. You do not need to raise your hand to ask a question; simply
type it into the chat box. 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 that
we’ve also shared here in the chat. If you’re having 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’re called away from the webinar
or if you have connection issues, you can watch a full recording of this webinar
later. You will receive an archive email within a few days that will include a link
to the recording, the PowerPoint slides, and any additional links or
resources shared during the session. If you’re tweeting this webinar,
please use the hashtag #ts4libs. You can join us in
the conversation there. TechSoup Global is dedicated to serving the
world’s nonprofit organizations and libraries. TechSoup was founded in 1987
with a global network of partners. We connect libraries and nonprofits
to technology, resources, and support so that you can operate at your full potential
to more effectively deliver your 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.
We offer a wide range of software, hardware, and services including products like
Symantec, which provides enhanced security for individual devices and networked
computers. Symantec donations include products that can be used in small, medium,
and large enterprise environments. For more information about TechSoup
product donations or services, please visit techsoup.org and
click on Get Products and Services. Today we have three guests joining us
to talk about IT tech management skills and building tech management skills in libraries.
Carson Block has led, managed, and supported library technology efforts for more
than 17 years. He’s been called a geek who speaks English and enjoys acting as
a bridge between the worlds of librarians and hardcore technologists. As a
consultant, Carson is often brought in to help align the library’s public
service mission with its technology efforts to serve the needs of patrons and staff. Cindy is a library technology consultant for
the Texas State Library & Archives Commission where she travels around the state to
serve the needs of small and rural libraries with the You Can Do I.T.! program. As a
former learning technologies librarian, Cindy loves teaching technology and believes
that empathy is the heart of teaching along with equal doses
of patience and curiosity. Henry is also a library technology consultant
at the Texas State Library & Archives Commission and is also the state E-Rate coordinator.
He provides training and consulting for library staff across the state with
a focus on emerging technology trends and broadband connectivity. My name is Crystal Schimpf, and I’ll
be your host for today’s webinar. Assisting us with chat, we have Susan
Hope Bard from the TechSoup team. And again, if you’re on Twitter, we hope to
see you there using the #ts4lilbs hashtag. Just a reminder, we’ll have time for
questions at the end of the webinar, and you can send in your questions as they
arrive. We’ll keep track of them and address as many as we are able to. This webinar is
being recorded, and again, all of the slides, resources, and materials will be included
in the archive at the end of this webinar, which you will receive by email
as soon as it is available. Now we’re ready to begin today’s topic. And just
to give a refresh on what we’re covering today: The library field relies heavily on technology,
but few front-line staff receive training in basic IT concepts that can
build the confidence we need when managing public access
computers and in working with patrons. The Texas State Library faced this challenge
in more than 400 small public libraries in rural areas, and they responded with
the You Can Do I.T.! program, a friendly, approachable hardware, software, and
networking skills training program. Today, Carson, Cindy, and Henry are going
to share their approaches to IT training to engage different learning styles, to free and
adaptable resources, and their lessons learned from hands-on experience in the field.
So now, I am going to hand things over to Henry who will
start things off. Henry? Henry: Hi everybody! Hi! This is Henry
Stokes! I’m the library technology consultant at the Texas State Library and Archives
Commission, and I’m excited to be here today. Without further ado, we wanted to
learn a little bit more about you, so we launched a couple of polls here for
you. This first poll asks the question: In what type of library do you work? We’ve got
public library, school library, academic library, special library, and other, and in that case
just go ahead and type the “other” into the chat. When you’ve finished your selection,
you can click the submit button and go and observe the results as they happen
in real time. Or if you don’t want to put in a selection, just click the skip to
results button and go straight to the results. Let’s give people a
chance to fill that in. [Pause] And I’ll go ahead and close the poll
in 3, 2, 1. Ok. Let’s see here. Ok. We’ve got three quarters of you are
from public libraries. The rest – most are from academic libraries,
and then we’ve got some from other and some from school libraries.
Great! Glad to see you all here. Alright. For our second poll we ask: What
size community does your library serve? This is – You can report on how you feel your
library – which one best fits your library: tiny, small, medium,
large, or very large. [Pause] And the results are coming in. Thank
you. Go ahead and click those buttons. Let’s see here. Great. Alright. Seeing results start to slow down, I’ll
go ahead and close the poll in 3, 2, 1. Great! Alright. Here we go! Looks like
we’ve got 39% in medium, 32% small. So the majority in small/mediums with also
a good portion consider themselves large, and then next is tiny and very large.
Alright! That looks good. One more poll. This one is asking for how you feel like you
relate to technology. What’s your geek factor? How comfortable do you feel with
technology? Are you a super geek? Do you live and breathe tech? Are you
an aspiring geek? You want to learn more. Are you a reluctant geek? I wish I didn’t
have to learn it at all. Or none of the above. Something else. Go ahead and type those
into the chat if you’ve got something else as far as how you’d like
to describe yourself. [Pause] Ok. Folks are putting
in their responses. Alright. Very good. And we’re closing
down the poll to check out the results now. Alright. The vast majority of you consider
yourselves aspiring geeks. Makes sense. Then a good 19% or so of you are super geeks.
But we’ve still got those folks that are reluctant about it, 9% or so. Welcome, everybody.
Welcome all tech comfort levels to our webinar today. So let’s get
started! Again, I am Henry Stokes, and I’m really excited to be here. I wanted
to tell you about our You Can Do I.T.! program, but before we get started, let’s go over
some of our outcomes that we hope to get from this very webinar. First off, identify
some IT concepts that can help front-line staff troubleshoot tech; also learn approaches
to gauge and tailor tech learning to different skill and knowledge
levels; and finally, to obtain resources to share with your colleagues and IT staff.
That’s what we hope to accomplish today. Let’s start off with a little history.
Again, we here at the Texas State Library serve the state of Texas’s libraries,
and we used to have 10 regional systems for the public libraries, and each one
had a dedicated IT – Or most of them had a dedicated IT staff that could
help the libraries out with their IT. But in 2011 our budget was cut, and we had to
close all the regional library systems down. Now we all know that maintaining public
access computers is an essential task for all library staff. It’s become
more than just a building of books. We’ve got to keep maintaining
these public access computers. And basic IT skills become necessary for
all the staff trying to maintain them. So we knew we had quite a loss on
our hands when we had taken away this major support system for our
libraries. We had to figure out what to do. In 2013 we conducted a survey to all the
public libraries in the state to ask them how they would rate their IT skill
level but also their level of support that they were currently getting. We had a
suspicion that the small and rural libraries were less likely to have
the reliable IT support. So we put that survey out there and we
determined that yes, indeed, it was true; small and rural libraries did in fact report
that they had less reliable IT support. And we also found in that survey that
the more knowledgeable the staff were about basic, fundamental IT skills, the
better they felt like their support was which makes sense. So it seemed necessary to
try to figure out a way to help those folks who have maybe less IT skills build on
those foundations. Sort of the whole idea of teaching someone to fish so that
they can have fish for a lifetime. So what we decided to do was create
whole program, a training program called You Can Do I.T.! where we could
focus on these foundational tech skills to help out particularly small, rural libraries so
that they could really feel empowered, confident, and able to tackle those IT skills and really own
them. So we put in an RFP to find an instructor, and Carson Block was selected. And we
started developing a whole curriculum. We came up with two different face-to-face
workshops, which we are converting to online. The first would tackle the topics of networking,
so covering things like broadband, speed test, cables, Wi-Fi, everything to bring
in the internet into the library. And then we get into the nitty-gritty
hardware/software in the second workshop which actually goes into the getting into
a computer itself, talking about the parts, talking about the software you use, and
learning how you might make purchases for that software, purchases for the
hardware. So we’ve actually been conducting these two face-to-face workshops
over the last couple of years. In 2015 it was the network workshops, which
we’ve since converted to an online course. And in 2016 we’ve been doing face-to-face
workshops on the hardware/software topics. The whole idea of these workshops
is to really focus on empowerment. So we call them You Can Do IT! which
is, of course, a nod to Rosie the Riveter You Can Do It! or We Can Do It! posters from
WWII. We kind of made up our own character, IT Heidi. She holds an Ethernet cord
with pride and strength. So the whole idea was to really push that for our participants so
that they could feel like they could really own the topic. Here you can see some pictures
of our participants striking the Rosie pose or Heidi pose for photos and really get people
on board with that and sort of change the way they maybe think about IT
and their own role with it. You can check out what we’ve got so far.
We’ve put up a website with most of our content at this address: www.tsl.texas.gov/youcandoit.
There you can actually check out the first course on networking with
videos and exercises and quizzes, and everyone can have
access to that curriculum. Then we’re working on the second one for
hardware/software, so stay tuned for that. We’ve also hired Cindy Fisher, our
new library technology consultant to spearhead the whole project. So
without further ado, here’s Cindy. Cindy: Alright! Thanks, Henry!
Now we’re going to take a look at four common library technology issues
that the You Can Do I.T.! curriculum can help you resolve. Think of it as a little
preview, and there’s much more information contained on the website that
Henry was just talking about. Something to consider, this is just our – The
four bullets you see here are the four points that we’re going to go through. Alright. The first problem that maybe
some of you have encountered before: The public computers at your library load at a
snail’s pace, but your Internet Service Provider claims that you’ve got 50mbps.
What gives? Ok. Here we go. Think of your library’s internet capability
like you would a car traveling on a highway. At rush hour, the highway is jam-packed
with other cars trying to get home, and everyone is slowly creeping along
at 25 mph. A few hours later, however, when rush hour has ended, fewer cars are on the
road, and you’ll be able to reach that 75 mph speed. The same is true for your internet
network; when there are a lot of people on your internet, you’ll never
reach the advertised speed. But what’s really important to know is
the speed you’re getting when no one else is on the network. You can find this out by
testing your library’s internet connection speed using a tool called the speed test. If
you’re not getting the advertised speed when no one else is on the network, you can
use the data that you get from your speed test to communicate to your Internet
Service Provider that there’s an issue. If you are getting the advertised speed
when no one else is on the network, you can still use the data to make a
case to purchase additional bandwidth. And having this data is a very
effective communication tool, especially if you are not the
decision-maker at your library. It helps to speak the same language to
convey your need. And this is just one step towards bridging that IT/library
divide. The You Can Do I.T.! curriculum provides explanations of broadband, network
traffic, a demonstration of a speed test, and links to multiple
free speed test providers. On to the next problem. Staff computers
access the internet much more slowly when your library is full. According to
your speed test that you’ve just done, now that you know that the tool is there, you’re
receiving the full capacity that the ISP provides. So how can we resolve this issue? So much of the technology that we rely upon
in our libraries can literally be hidden behind the scenes in closets, in ceiling
tiles, or in the stack. So drawing an actual map of your library’s network can really help
visualize your library’s infrastructure and forces you to investigate the cabling and
devices that connect your library to the internet. Not only does it make you more
knowledgeable about your technology, this exercise is a great communication tool for
you to converse with your library’s IT person or IT Service Provider. And maybe you don’t
have an IT person for your library, and it’s you; then it makes you more capable of
conversing with the people that do provide this library service. Maybe they’re
contractors or could be staff or volunteers. The material in the curriculum will help
you to find new networking vocabulary and break down some of their anxiety-inducing
technology barriers like acronyms that we never seem to know how to stop
using. But getting back to our example, there are a number of solutions we might
find to where you can deal with the IT problem of a slow internet connection. As
you’re mapping your library’s network, you might find you’re using
outdated hub technology or cabling that can easily be replaced as part
of the library’s technology budget or its E-Rate funds, and that will resolve
your library staff connection speed issues. Ok. You Can Do I.T. Problem #3. You just
won funds to build a new technology lab, but you’re unsure which computers will
perform best. Where should you start? Before we get to the answer, first let’s
celebrate that you got the award. Hurray! Champagne, etc. Yeah for you getting
your grant. Alright. Now moving on, it’s time to get to work. With so many options
out there and a dazzling array of features and prices, it can be overwhelming to try to find
the best fit for your library’s programming needs. An important step, which often gets
overlooked in the rush to purchase technology, is to gain an understanding of what your
users’ needs are and then compare them with the characteristics of specific hardware
and software that can meet those needs. For instance, using our technology lab
example, maybe you want to provide workshops in documentary filmmaking or using photo
– editing software to digitize old family scrapbooks. In either scenario, you’ll
want to select computers with fast processors, a good amount of RAM, or random acts
of memory, and a great video card. All three components work together to process
instructions that you provide into the computer while also processing instructions
for the application software. So to completely over-simplify this,
the more robust these components are, the faster you’ll be able to work. If
you were to decide to purchase computers for your new tech lab, using price as
the only consideration, you could end up purchasing equipment that is too slow for
your users’ needs and has the unintended result of frustrating your users where you could
have built their technology confidence. Since we definitely don’t want that to happen,
you’ll find a list of technology review sites and resources to evaluate technology
within the You Can Do I.T.! materials. Remember, purchasing technology is very
similar to doing collection development; all it takes is having the right resources
to guide you and awareness of what’s out there and an understanding of your users’ needs.
And I just want to say as a quick side note, though our example states that you’re
doing the investigation of your tech after you’ve been awarded the grant, it’s
probably more likely that you’ve had time to do some preliminary technology
sleuthing in advance to assemble a budget. So it just goes to show, no matter where you
are in this process, having a working knowledge of the basic components of the hardware
and software are incredibly useful in our technology-powered library. Ok. Final problem: Your public
computers keep coming down with viruses, but you’re not sure what the problem is because
you know that you run antivirus software. This situation is critical! So what can you do? I promise we’re not
trying to scare you with this scenario, but it’s such an important aspect of keeping
our busy and well-loved public computers happy and healthy. And we know that those are the
characteristics that we also want to apply to our patrons, of course. There are a number
of ways that we can protect our technology, our library data, and our users’ data.
It’s unfortunately not a one side, set-it-and-forget-it deal. On the contrary,
it’s more like an onion where new layers provide an additional area of protection.
So while you may have things like antivirus and antimalware software running, adding
system restore software like Deep Freeze can ensure that the way you’ve configured
your computer can easily be reset if someone downloads unwanted
applications or makes unwanted changes. But don’t stop there; there are a number
of other steps that you can implement and use to strengthen your public
and staff computer security. Using the Computer 101 resources
in the You Can Do I.T.! program, you can ensure that you’re covering all of
your bases. And finally, what’s also included is a background on how to back up your
data and construct a data recovery plan in the event of a security breach. So it
may sound intimidating, and I promise you it sounds – Well, we all promise
you, it’s a lot easier than it sounds. But we just want you to
be prepared for it all. I’m going to hand it off to Carson, and he’s
going to talk a little bit about what it’s like to be the IT teacher in the classroom. Carson: Cindy, thank you, and Henry,
thank you so much. It’s amazing. That’s what it’s like to be. It’s so much fun
to be in front of people in a live situation. People with problems to solve, by golly. People
who are curious enough to come to a class, to have that bravery. Is that a word
used properly in this context? Braveness? To come and learn something brand new. That’s
something that we, in designing the class, and especially as we practiced it, as
we went across Texas over two years, that’s something that we wanted to make
sure happened really, really, really well. So I’m going to actually come back to
this concept as I’m talking about it because creating the right environment for
learning, especially something like technology in libraries, especially for folks who
are mostly lay people or sometimes people who don’t like technology will be doing this
reluctantly. That is such an important step to do. One of the things that we had – A question that
I had when I responded to this opportunity – To me the big question – Is it possible to
teach complex technology concepts to lay people? Because, frankly, much technology
information we see can be gobbledygook. There’s all sorts of requirements for people
to learn, all sorts of terminology and concepts. And especially if you’ve been with a
bad IT person, and they’ve used language to keep meaning away from you. I think all
of us have been through that including me. I’ve had that experience with folks. Of
course, it’s a little bit easier for me to call BS on somebody when that happens.
So realizing that that was important, we wanted to make sure that everyone had that
opportunity. The answer to that big question – is it possible to teach complex tech concepts to lay folks
– yes. And that’s a yes with lots of exclamation points
behind it because that is what we found in training opportunity after training
opportunity. And I want to be clear, too. This is not a case of “don’t make me
think,” which is a famous book on – These are experienced design, and it’s a good
idea for web design to not make people think. In this case, we wanted to teach people how
to think about tech; the ways to bridge things that they’re familiar with, with
things that might be brand new. So this was, like I say, a super,
super interesting way to go about this. On the side there, you see “Technology can
seem intangible.” It can also seem invisible, so we really wanted to be sure that we took
things from the invisible to the visible. Answering questions like, what are inside
these black boxes anyway? What’s happening? I see blinky lights. I see wires. I’m plugging
stuff in. But what’s actually happening? What is the function of this? That’s
really important to have an understanding of not just how to work with it but to
understand things when they’re going through. Walking through these things
together, step-by- step, was key. And you saw exercises on the previous page.
And I’ve got to say, my absolute favorite was the massive speed test. We did
something a little cheeky. As the instructor, I would test the library’s internet connection
just by my little ole’ self, and of course, got pretty good result. Right? I’m the only
one on. And then, to illustrate what happens after school lets out, for instance, when
everyone’s data networks kind of bog down, we had everyone perform the same test that
I performed, and then we compared numbers. Doing a test like that makes it instantly – all
the things that might be esoteric or mystifying – it makes it really clear to everyone
involved. It’s like, now I know why we are having this sort of issue. So
that was super, super, super powerful. Technology makes some people nervous
and anxious. A lot of it is around the, I’m afraid to break it. Right?
People are afraid to touch something because they might break it. But we
didn’t want folks to be afraid of that. So especially for round two, the second
year of the training, we bought computers that could not be broken because
they would never be turned on again. My wonderful friends in Colorado donated
computers that were formerly in great service, were public computers, and we took those out,
and we allowed everyone to get their hands on. So this photograph that you see,
and we’ve got many more online, this is an actual photograph of librarians
happily tearing apart the guts of a computer. That barrier was really, really, good,
especially knowing that it’s like, wait a minute. I can do anything to this? And I said,
“Yes. Of course you can. Of course, we need to put it back together for
the next class. So keep the blow torches and the pick axes in your purse or
your bag. Don’t take them out here. We’ve got to put them back together.
But anything short of that, yes. In fact, we want you to take things
apart and ask these “why” questions. Like what are these different components
of the circuit board? Etcetera. These are really, really, really
important.” Some folks really got surprised by some of the hands-on, and they
became alive because they felt like – And these are people who were former
technologists in a different age when it was more of different types of
computing devices, especially mainframe things. And they would remember things from their past
like punch cards or working in different factories where things were made, computer-aided in the
early days. And this was really, really great because that would allow us to bridge
past experiences from class members with our current environment and to
think about the future. So through this and some other methods, we built on
lots of opportunities for community time, the hands-on. But also, we wanted people
to be able to talk with each other. An important part of making the classroom
safe, I think, is not telling people how they can use their time when it’s free time
and allowing them freedom in exploring things. And especially in pushing back.
Much to my difficulty sometimes because we can’t handle every situation
perfectly, I encourage people to push back and to ask questions, especially tough
ones because a lot of people came to class with tough questions, and we wanted to
at least have a chance to address those. The other wonderful thing about bringing
the community together in a classroom is we need to illustrate a truth about technology,
and that’s that no one knows everything. Smart phones have leveled the playing
field a bit, but we need to show that IT and technology problem solving is
actually not one person knowing everything; it is really a bunch of us knowing parts of the
puzzle and coming together and talking about it. That is the healthiest part of
technology troubleshooting we can do. Everyone has an opportunity to share;
everyone has an opportunity to learn, and that’s really, really good. Digging
in like this really inspired confidence, and that’s a take-away I
want you to have from this. This may be the most important thing to
steal, again with this “steal the curriculum” sort of thing, start by connecting and
building trust. So I’m speaking to those of you who might be teaching, if you’re in
this situation when you’re teaching. Don’t feel like you have to know everything.
The important thing, again, is more on that “guide on the side” part of the teaching
question rather than the “sage on the stage.” Now, there has to be some setup, formal
type of instruction, just so that we can talk about definitions and get grounded. But the
best and most energetic parts of the class actually came when we were working
side-by-side, and people took that base knowledge that they had from the earlier parts of the class
and then applied it and started asking questions and asking really, really good questions. The
other thing that I had to be very careful to do was modeling good tech behavior.
This may be an apocryphal story, but I’ve heard that the way that some bank
tellers learn to spot counterfeit bills – and I don’t care if it’s a lie or not – the
way that they learned to spot counterfeit bills is they just handle real money all day. And
then when something that doesn’t quite feel right comes across their hands, they know
that there’s something up with that. Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but
I do know it’s true that if I’m a technologist, and I’m coming in to teach, that I will
have to walk my talk. In other words, respond to questions in a way that is positive
and in a way that is healthy so that students can understand if they’re being treated well,
and they have a good technologist in their life, or perhaps they’re not, and then
strategies on how to deal with that. Another thing, too, is we didn’t really want
to make experts here, and we made that really, really clear that we did want everyone
to know that we wanted everyone to have a basis of the lingo, some of the terms
that are used, and the concepts that are used to communicate with technology
people especially. And we know that that was eye-opening for a lot of folks, and
I’ll tell you a couple stories in just a moment. Another thing that’s very, very important is if
you’ve been in a small area, you may not realize that there’s more than one way
to solve a technology problem. In fact, if you’ve been in a large area, you
might not realize that there is more than one way to solve a technology problem. There’s generally
multiple, multiple ways. In fact, on the chat a little bit earlier that came up, someone
had asked for a link for the speed test. A couple of us entered a link, and then we
had another person enter an alternate link that could be used requiring fewer resources
from the computer to be able to test the speed. That is exactly what I’m talking about. There’s
always more than one way to solve a problem. Depending on someone’s technology
experience, they may not know that, and especially by not knowing that,
that may inhibit their own ideas. The other thing that was probably
the biggest challenge as an instructor is tailoring the class content to meet needs
of all attendees from novice to advanced. And when I say novice to
advanced, I mean in my first class where we were just trying everything
out, on one hand I had a class participant who had programmed a Cisco router and
was doing that actively for her library; on the other hand I had a person in charge of
the library, a very small library in rural Texas, who had said that she’d never held
a book before she’d gotten this job. She was an over-the-road trucker for her
professional life and had kind of retired and was taking care of the community
library. That’s quite a gap. Right? So I thought, this is awesome. It’s never
going to be this wide. So what that means – Part of that is building the comradery
in the class and being very clear that we expect people who know more to
share what they know and to help teach their neighbors and to share ideas. We also
expect our people that have less experience to speak up and tell us all what their
needs are. So it’s really, really good. And a big way of doing that, too, is inviting
people to discuss their actual problems no matter how wonderful or how difficult those
problems were. Some of them are kind of tough. Some of them were enlightening. All of
them were enlightening for all of the class. Of course, that’s the instructor’s job is to
make sure that everything is relevant to everyone there as best as they can. I also want to give a shout-out to
Holly Gordon because during these – Holly was involved in year one of
the training, and she was invaluable especially in terms of some
of these class activities and encouraging wonderful
participation from our classes. Let’s see. Double click is supposed to advance
the next slide. I must not be doing something correctly here. It’s not clicking up, but
I’m just going to go ahead and talk anyway. If someone else can get in there
and advance that next slide for me, that would be wonderful. That would
be wonderful. It’s not showing up. I wonder if there’s a connectivity
problem. Ok. I’m also going to tell you that we had gotten some wonderful, wonderful
success stories as we’d been out in the field. And after the fact, if you can see
the postcard, and perhaps you can, we had a wonderful postcard from Gwen,
who’s in a small town in west Texas, talking about the actions that she
took. Now a key to success that we feel is basically having a basic understanding,
having some vocabulary to be able to communicate with others or even to form your own
thoughts into solutions, and then finally, feeling empowered to do something. So I have
just a brief story I wanted to tell you about, and that is we had a student who was having
some problems with their Wi-Fi router, and their technology professional
who they were working with – Thank you for advancing the slides.
Whoever got in there and saved me – Their technology professional told them
that – He wasn’t being very helpful. They were having kind of a communications
gap. After taking the class, she was able to communicate
effectively to her IT pro and said, “Hey. I’ve learned about signal strength
of my router, and it seems to me, having our router in the back of the
library where there are no patrons might be out of its effective range. Perhaps
we should move the router or even the antenna or access point, the AP part of our router, to the
public areas so that we have a stronger signal.” So of course, her IT professional took her very
seriously and moved the AP into the public area and improved the performance just like that. So
just by going to the class, learning a few basics, she felt confident enough that she could
do a diagnosis of what her problem was that she was having and then seek
the solution that she was looking for. And I was so proud of her. I’ve got more
of those stories. Ask me about them any time because they were one of the
best parts of teaching this class. Alright! I’m going to hand
this right back to Cindy. Cindy: Thanks, Carson. Knowing from the
teacher’s perspective how important it is and how empowering it is and just have fun!
I’m so glad that you brought up fun again because, I mean, we really did have
a great time with these workshops. Sure, it was scary at first, but I think
overall everyone left not only feeling a lot more confident, they also left knowing
people in their area who they could talk to about other questions. With a state like Texas
– as there are many Texas participants. Now I recognize some of the names in the participant list
– We have a big state. So knowing your local folks that
have that expertise is so, so helpful. But also, when you are going through an
experience like this and learning this technology which can be anxiety-inducing, learning it
in a comfortable situation with other people you then know people you can call upon.
“What was that? What was that thing we did in order to unlock the router?” You can call upon
that local expertise. That’s really wonderful. Let’s go ahead. I’m going to just go back over. I
just want to reinforce that you really can do IT. As Carson was saying that Gwen, who sent
this postcard to us out from west Texas, she does not have a lot of library staff,
but she felt empowered by this curriculum. I really do – and Henry I know does too – really
feel like you can do this. We, along with Carson, of course, made this curriculum so
that you can feel empowered to do that. Again, we highly encourage you to go to
this website and download the exercises and the handouts. As Henry mentioned
earlier, we have turned one of the workshops into an online course and are
working on getting the second one up. I did see a question earlier in the
chat box about resources for knowing how to take apart computers. One of the
videos that will soon be up and online is actually a dissection of some of an
actual PC. So you’ll see that as well. I also wanted to give a huge shout-out,
though, to the Colorado State Library as well. A few years ago – and I’m pretty sure your
webinar host, Crystal, was a large part of this – created the online tech training for staff
materials that you can also find at this website. Ok. That is what we have on our end. I want to just
say thank you, all, so much for your attention, and you can contact us at any of our emails
or twitter handles, our twitter feeds, etc. But we are really excited to answer
any of the questions that you have, and I know that there’s been
some good ones coming in. Crystal: Well Cindy, thank you. Also thanks to
Carson and Henry for giving us this presentation so far and really for developing this curriculum
and delivering it and then making it available. I just have to say, it is a tremendous
body of work, and from what I’ve seen in the curriculum itself, it must be very helpful
for libraries. Judging from those success stories you’ve heard from libraries in
Texas, it certainly is so far. We’ve been getting a lot of questions, so we’re
going to get to as many as we can right now. Fortunately, we have a good amount
of time until the top of the hour. Before I dive into those questions, though,
I just want to mention a couple of things. One is that you will receive an archive recording
of this webinar and all of the links and resources that we’ve shared today. That will come out
later this week, and it will come to your email, the same email that you registered for.
So that is coming. Also, we will get to as many questions as we have, but we
know that there are a lot of questions, and if we don’t happen to answer your question
today, we’ll follow up with you later via email. I just wanted to make sure that you know
that. So now I think we’ll maybe start off the questions. I just want to bounce back
to this slide because I love this header: Steal this curriculum. You’ve got this link to
the curriculum but I think it may have actually caused a slight bit of confusion.
So Cindy, I just want to ask you, what is the cost of accessing this curriculum
and sharing it with your library or your nonprofit or your organization’s staff? Cindy: In my attempt to be cheeky, I’m
sorry I was a little unclear. This is free. This is funded in part from the
Institute of Museum and Library Services and from the Texas State Library. This
is all freely available. We want you to – It all has the Creative Commons license
attached to it. We want you to take this, adapt it, use it, and of course, if you’d like to
use it, we would love to hear how you’re using it. If you have additions to make or different
versions that you’d love to share, please let us know. We want to make this
a useful resource. We can see by the number of questions and also by the number of
participants that this is at least of interest to a lot of people, so it’s
free. Short answer: it’s free. Crystal: Excellent. I think that you did say
that, but of course, sometimes it’s hard to believe that something that is this well put
together is, in fact, freely available. So thank you to the Texas
State Library for doing this. I know that the Colorado State Library
resource you shared is also freely available. And of course, in libraries we like to say
steal this, but we really can use it, of course. So that was a fun way of saying
that. Another question that we got about the curriculum itself, and just to kind
of clarify a few things because of course, we are in a webinar today; that’s
a form of professional development, and I got the question if we do
certificates for this webinar. The answer to that is that TechSoup
doesn’t provide certificates, but you will get an email that says that
you attended. So it’s kind of confirmation that you attended. But we also got the
question about the You Can Do I.T.! program. Is there a certificate and is that available
only to Texas libraries, or is that available to library staff from anywhere? Henry: Anyone can – This is Henry – Anyone
can actually go, if they are willing to log in and set up an account with our Moodle, which
is our online learning management system, if they set up an account, which is free,
and they make sure to enroll in that course, the You Can Do I.T.! course, then they
can actually get generated a certificate for taking the course, which they can use. If
it’s honored where they are, they can use it. Of course, in Texas it’s honored. So yes,
but you have to make sure to enroll first. Crystal: Excellent. And I assume that means
it’s also possible to view the resources without enrolling. You can just go to
the site and view some of those resources? Henry: That’s right. It’s open for folks just
to access without having to enroll or log in. Crystal: Excellent. Thank you for clarifying
that. There’s also an interesting question that came up. We’ve been talking about how
these course materials, this curriculum, is used for library staff, but is there any
adaptation here for use with library patrons or library users? Have you heard
of that happening? Might that work? And I think maybe Cindy or Henry, you
might be the first to take that one? Cindy: Sure. I haven’t heard of anyone using
it with their library patrons or their users, but I could see this certainly being – This is a
number of options. Maybe they’re helpful or not. But you could start with a
children’s programming with people that are interested in taking apart a computer.
I think there’s some potential examples that you’ll see online and certainly on the
YouTube videos that could be really engaging for people to do hands-on work. Taking
apart a computer, working inside a router, doing the speed test, doing a little
101 class where you can mix and match some of the curriculum for your
users. That could be really neat. And that could be a taste if
– Maybe a career day or something like that for people that might be interested in getting into IT.
This could certainly be one toe in that water. But I haven’t heard of anyone doing that yet,
but if you wanted to, that would be great, and let us know if you do. Crystal: Excellent. Just a clarification on
the URL. Of course, we’ve really been careful with this acronym of You Can Do I.T.,
but if it’s not coming through clearly, we will share the direct link in the
archive, and we’ve shared it in the chat. But I just want to make sure you know
that in the URL, it’s “youcandoit.” And of course, in the first part of the
URL, it’s “tsl” for the Texas State Library. So if you are trying to jot that down
by hand, it will come to you in email, and you don’t have to. But I just wanted to
clarify the characters you’re seeing there in those long URLs. We’ll share those
out later. I just wanted to go back and just share a nice example somebody
shared. Maria shared this example about – This shows why learning IT can be helpful even
if you aren’t necessarily an IT person yourself. And Maria says that her IT person
always encouraged her to get hands-on with any software or hardware upgrades.
And this early exposure to the ins and outs of how a computer functions has helped to keep
libraries running since their regional library system disbanded. So they were able to
basically take that knowledge and move forward with it. And of course, we have many
different types of libraries here and different configurations, but
I know sometimes we find ourselves being accidental technologists
and having to keep things running. So that’s one good selling point for
why it’s good to learn these IT skills. Another example and a question. And I think
that, Cindy, I might pitch this one to your first, but I think Carson might have something to
add to it. It’s about – let me just check down the question here – getting staff
onboard. This question comes from Julia. She says, “I’m a tech-savvy person in a mid-size
library. We wanted to get our non-techy staff up to speed. But they’re not making
purchase decisions or fixing computers or setting up computer security. How
can you help staff who use the computers but don’t set up or maintain the computers?”
And perhaps, how does the You Can Do I.T.! curriculum tie into this? Cindy: That’s a really great question.
Sort of a question about motivation. Right? How do you get someone motivated to learn
a topic that seems like there might not be relevance for it. Even if you’re
not making purchasing decisions or necessarily updating the computers, I think
one way, which maybe this is a simple out, but we all use technology in our life. That’s just
how things go. And as librarians and library staff, I think it’s really important that we have
a breath of knowledge about technology. It not only makes us better at our
job, but helps us help our users. I have heard in some situations where
there’s maybe one person that always seems to get the technology questions, and wouldn’t
it be nice if we could spread that out to an entire staff of librarians that could
answer those questions? So I think one way to kind of engage people, if they aren’t
the decision-makers or IT staff people, is to think about some sort of example
where – And I would recommend looking through some of the resources that we
have online and picking out something that might just be fun. I think one of the
great ways to do that is doing the speed test because I think we’ve all probably
experienced some sort of network slowness, whether at our home watching Netflix or
something like that, and talking about that and then maybe working through some of
those resources. It can be a difficult sell. I think Carson knows that for sure. That there’s
a little bit of trepidation when approaching this if there’s not relevance, so finding that hook
can be hard. But I think since we use it every day, maybe finding something along those lines
would help. Carson what do you think? Carson: Absolutely, I agree. I think maybe the
key in your situation is, as Cindy pointed out, there’s a real danger in letting somebody hold
the bag for all things technology in a library, and I see that over and over and over. It’s
like, “Hey, that’s so-and-so’s problem, not mine. I don’t have to think about it anymore.”
And that’s really super dangerous, and it’s a dead end because increasingly we
use technology to do our jobs to serve patrons. So we have to understand how these
tools work even in a basic sense. So if you can help with understanding
the person’s job first and then looking at what sort of jobs they rely on technology
to perform, that might be your foothold. As a kind of blunt analogy, when we’re
thinking about tools, we have a tool kit. Right? So when we’re working in the physical world,
if we need to pound a nail in some wood, then we’re going to use a hammer.
We’re probably not going to use a knife. Conversely, if we’ve got bread to slice,
unless we want to make a terrible mess, we’re not going to use a hammer to
slice bread; we’re going to use a knife and slice it up nice and fine. That’s why
it’s very important, I think, to understand each staff member’s work that they’re
doing and how technology applies and use that as your gateway to, perhaps,
bringing these things up and teach. Crystal: Great. And Carson, you’re making
this transition to the next couple of comments and questions that I want to share very
easy because I think for front-line staff, in particular those who are engaging with
the public, there are certainly applications of IT knowledge. And we’ve had a few people
share them, so I’m going to bring these up now and then see if there’s any other
comments that either you or Cindy have. Leann says we have issues, problems
when people bring in their computers. And the example given here is that
they don’t know how to access their USB. It may be an older computer, and it
may not have popup windows when the USB is plugged in. So that’s a very specific
example of patrons needing help with technology that crosses over into IT. Then Molly
says, “How do you deal with members of the public who get upset because they
may not know how to use the public computers and expect you to know how to fix what
they’ve messed up or what maybe has gone wrong on the computer? What do we say to explain
that we don’t know right now how to fix it?” Also, I would add to that, how does a
greater knowledge of IT perhaps put us in a better position to help those
patrons troubleshoot those situations? Carson do you have anything to add
after those comments and questions? Carson: Yeah. Those are good, tough
questions. Right? Because especially the patron who comes in with no knowledge of
technology, has come to the library because this is a place of trust
and a place of knowledge for them. They do something that doesn’t go as expected
or is not desired like lose data. Right? That can happen. And then of course, they look
at the librarian or the library worker and say, “Hey, it’s your fault. Fix the impossible.”
That’s really an untenable position to be in, but it’s one that many folks are in, indirect
customer service. I know that the example that was given, that’s on one end of the
extreme of that experience with folks. Some libraries handle it through – If there’s
a lot of people – If it’s a onesie-twosie, that’s a whole story altogether. But if
there’s a lot of people in the community who need more education, if the library has
the resources, then they will put together training classes for folks. I have seen,
though, that overall throughout the country, those basic computer classes are going away.
That doesn’t mean that there’s still not a need there. The only strategy suggestion that
I would give is number one, of course, having as much knowledge as you can
about how the computing environment works, then understanding your boundaries
as well. When you don’t know something and feeling ok about saying, “I don’t
know how to do that. We need to stop here.” The other is going through appreciative
inquiry with the patron starting with what it is that they’re trying to do. One thing that
I found that’s been super successful for me, and it’s been a long time since I’ve
been in direct public service this way, especially when someone’s really, really
hot, acknowledge that something bad happened. That’s a really good way to start. You’re
not trying to pretend like something horrible didn’t just happen. But then backtrack and ask
what problem it is that they’re actually trying to solve. Sometimes they’ve applied
the wrong tool to the wrong problem, or there’s a different way to help them,
perhaps, depending on what they have to do. Cindy: Can I just jump in there real fast too? I also
– Sort of tandem to what Carson was just saying, which is such great advice
– especially the part about trying to be calm in those situations, which are always fun
– is there are a number of questions, too, that were about what other resources are there
available to librarians in this situation? Like, ok, what are the reference
sites that we need to know about? Just like we need to know about what
other places online we might answer another kind of reference question. And I just want
to say that there are a number of resources out there. Like How-To Geek is a great,
fantastic resource that can talk you through a lot of these tech questions. A new site that
I was investigating yesterday from About.com called Lifewire – I know it’s under the
About.com headline, so grain of salt, but so far looks really helpful. Look at
things like Instructables. Search YouTube videos if you’re looking at stuff for hardware. These are
alternate sites that I think we sometimes forget about exist that can actually have a really,
really great impact when trying to augment our knowledge about technology.
So I just wanted to mention those. And also searching forums. It might take a
little while in that moment with that hot patron. Might not be the best result, but
these are sort of alternate ways that folks that are troubleshooting tech often
will go to in order to resolve some of those issues. Crystal: Excellent. Thank you for
sharing your perspective on that angle with working with patrons. And I think
the advice you’ve both given right now is very helpful and very true to that experience
of being a front-line staff and working with patrons in a library. So very good advice
there. Thank you for sharing it. We have time for just one more question right
now. And I will say, I know we have a lot of questions we haven’t had time to answer.
So if you’ve been hanging on the line, and we haven’t gotten to your
question, we will follow up by email. And especially with some of these
questions that are a bit more detailed, we’ll be able to get you a better response.
So we will follow up within about a week or so with those responses. The last
question I want to ask is really about working with IT departments that maybe are
outside of the library or are not library-focused and maybe don’t always understand some of
the things we might be asking or those needs for public access technology, public access
computers. Really just a general question around this: Do you have advice from
your experience or from your knowledge in working in and with libraries on how
library staff can more effectively work with IT departments from outside the
library or outside of the library world. Any tips? Just a quick tip or two before
we leave? Maybe, Cindy, I’ll start with you, and then we’ll go over to Carson. Cindy: If you don’t mind, I think I’m
actually going to kick that one over to Carson because – Crystal: Absolutely. Carson: That’s a tough one and an ongoing
question. The first thing is to try food as an entry point. I know that sounds
cheeky. Right? But it’s actually just to show that you’re bearing a nice gift, and
there’s no Trojan horse in that gift and to create a relationship in any way that
you can at any level in that IT department. It’s helpful to do it with the department
head; it’s even more helpful to do it with whoever is assigned to the library.
And the idea is to show them something that they may not have seen before, and that
is the purpose of technology in the library is probably way different than any of the other
customers that they serve in the municipality, the city, the county. Show them
the effectiveness that you have when you are able to help somebody fill
out a job application, for instance, or some of the struggles that happen.
Show them how kids are learning because there’s bandwidth, and
there’s access to the internet. How they’re coming in after school, and
they’re relying on these tools and machines to make things happen. By
building that understanding first, that’s how you get off of square
one into more complex issues like, “So we have to err on the side of access
instead of security. How do you feel about that?” Well, you don’t want to start with that
conversation, even though I have many times. But the way to do that is to actually show
them the purpose of computing in a library and allow them to draw their own
conclusions. Some people don’t care, and don’t waste your time on them. Just
find the ones that actually understand and get what we do and give them cookies and
show them the wonderful world that we have. Crystal: Great. Carson, thanks for that
advice. For those of you who might be out there working with a city or a county IT department
or from a college, maybe that will help you out in working with those situations.
We’ll follow up on the questions we didn’t have time to answer, again, via
email. I have just a few things to share before we wrap up, so stay on the line. We
have just a brief survey where you can tell us what you thought about today’s webinar. But
one more time, I just want to thank Carson and Cindy and Henry. Henry had
to step away a few minutes ago, so he couldn’t answer as many questions, but
thanks to all of them for sharing this curriculum and for being a part of this
webinar today. So thank you, all. A few quick announcements. Excellent.
Excellent. Just a few quick announcements. One is that TechSoup has training courses
in addition to what you’ve seen today from the Texas State Library and Colorado State
Library and the materials they’ve put together. Check out the TechSoup Training Courses. The
topics include tech planning, tech training, web design, and Adobe design products.
Those are available at techsoup.course.tc, and we’ll share that link in the archive.
We also have some upcoming webinars. One on tech planning on Thursday,
February 16th with – One on March 16th about protecting patron privacy in public
libraries. That’s a library-focused webinar. And of course, protecting patron privacy is a top
issue right now that we want to be talking about, so we’ll see you on March 16th
for that one. Save the date. And just a reminder that TechSoup
for Libraries is a website that exists to serve the specific technology needs
of public libraries, and we have a blog and library spotlights and other
bits there. So please visit our site. Alright. Thanks for hanging around. I want to
give thanks to ReadyTalk, our webinar sponsor, for today and just ask you to stay on the line
for a brief survey to tell us what you thought of today’s webinar. Thanks so
much, and have a great day. Bye-bye.

Leave a Reply

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