On 28 January I attended my first ever WebJunction webinar. This was a free online training/learning session that anyone with internet access could join in.
The session was called Staff Training in Tough Times and it was an excellent opportunity to share ideas and concerns with library folk from across the US and beyond. As far as I know I was the only one participating from the UK and I did wonder whether non-US participants would be allowed. Not only was I allowed but I was made very welcome and it was great to have an opportunity to ask about how library staff are being trained in the US. The session was very well organised and the team at Webjunction worked very hard to keep track of both chat and audio participation. The only difficulty was keeping up with the conversation in the chat room at the same time as listening to the audio and again the Webjunction team did highlight issues as they were raised in the chat room and try to keep us on track!
A full archive of the session is now available via BlogJunction including the 14 pages of chat! It was a fantastic experience and one I would certainly recommend.
Free training/networking is great but not always well publicised. From mailing lists to webinars, what would you recommend??
It’s been a while folks but I’m back! Please take as read the usual list of excuses and distractions that have kept me away, it would be a boring list and I don’t want to be responsible for anyone falling asleep at work…
To get back into the swing of posting I’ve set myself a little challenge. If you read a lot of library related blogs you’ve probably heard of 23 Things or the Learning 2.0 programme. For anyone in the dark, the original “Learning 2.0 Program” was a learning program for staff working at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County which was such a fantastic idea that it caught the imaginations of library people around the world. According to the original site over 250 libraries and organisations worldwide have now duplicated the programme. Much more information on the Learning 2.0 blog
I’d love to try doing something like this at work for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the ideas and online tools covered are those rarely covered in any formal training for library staff but frequently used and mentioned by readers and library managers alike. Secondly, the focus is on learning through playing then reflecting on what has been learned and sharing those reflections with others via a blog. What’s not to love??
Looking at the original list of 23 things I think I’ve already tried most of the sites and tools mentioned. So for me this will be more an opportunity to reflect on which worked for me and how I use them personally as well as highlighting some of my favourite library sites.
Finally, I had a look at the list of libraries worldwide to see if anyone in the UK had registered a programme.
Imperial College London Library appear to be the only UK library listed so I’d love to hear if there are any others…
In case you haven’t already come across them, Michael Stephens has posted his Tech Tips for Every Librarian over on Tame the Web. The articles were originally published in Information Today and cover subjects such as using Meebo for IM, Flickr for library marketing and Netvibes & RSS for an info-portal. Go have a look… right now!
An interesting post by Meredith Farkas We have wiki has prompted me to write a little about the wikis I’ve experimented with over the last 6 months. Back in June we needed a tool to collaborate on the training for our new LMS. It needed to be easily accessible by all of the trainers and allow us to share thoughts on the material and programme without sending hundreds of emails round. I was pleasantly surprised when a wiki was suggested and we ended up using pbwiki as it was very easy to set up and had a WYSIWYG editor that anyone could use. We then demonstrated the wiki at the end of the training sessions and opened it up to all staff to ask questions and add their own thoughts. Although it then gathered dust for a couple of months while the LMS was delayed it was then resurrected when we went live and again had a need to share information and answer questions that everyone could see. Now things have settled down, we’re getting used to the LMS and the wiki has gone quiet again but the great thing is that over the last few months nearly every member of staff looked at the wiki for information and a number of people have had a go at adding information. Six months ago most of them had never heard of a wiki! The lessons I’ve learned from this so far include… not calling a wiki a wiki unless you want to spend a lot of time explaining what a wiki is; spend some time setting up pages and writing a useful front page so that people can jump straight in and start typing; use a wiki for people to ask questions and then not only can everyone see the answers but you can also search for them easily when you need to update the information; use a wiki with WYSIWYG editor as any amount of HTML is hugely offputting!
The second wiki I’m involved with is a conference wiki set up for our annual Forum for Interlending conference this year, Interlend 2008. As our conference committee is spread from Scotland to the south of England we are only expecting to meet a couple of times in person and last year the amount of emails we used to organise things was incredible. As my email client is not great at searching I spent a lot of time saying “I know I read that somewhere…” and sending and receiving information that had already gone round at least once. So far we have used the wiki to plan out the conference programme, discuss and share information on possible speakers and create a list of questions and answers about the practical aspects such as costs and transport. Next week we plan to open the wiki up to delegates so that they can see the programme develop and share their thoughts and questions on the delegates’ page and I’d like to have an update blog that people could read via RSS or on the wiki. Anyone interested in seeing the conference wiki in action after next week can email me for the password.
I’m very excited at the moment because we’re using a wiki as part of our LMS training project! Only been going for a week or so but most people have edited it now and it has been a very useful way of sharing ideas. At the moment it is more a collection of conversations than an interactive wiki but it has been interesting to see how people use it and what their first steps are. It also saves me sending out an email with attachment every time I edit the training documents, instead I can upload the updated file to the wiki and everyone knows that the version on the wiki is the most up to date version. Final versions can go on the intranet as usual but this way I can make drafts easily available for comment. It’s a useful way to try out a wiki because it is a short term project with a small group of people involved. Hopefully I will be posting more on this over the next couple of months looking at how we use it and what the pros and cons turn out to be.
Last night I attended a thought provoking CILIP event at Basingstoke Library – RSS, Blogs and Wikis by Karen Blakeman. Organised by my local sub-branch this was a very popular event – interesting as I had seen very little publicity and had wondered if we would be the only ones there! At the beginning Karen did a quick hands-up assessment to see how many folk had heard of the different 2.0 technologies. About half of the room had heard of RSS feeds although not everyone was sure what they were for; blogs were only used by a small number of people and wiki knowledge was mostly limited to the odd search on Wikipedia. Probably quite indicative of an average group of UK library staff but it was good to see how many people had given up their evening to come along and find out more. I’ve been reading Karen’s blog for a couple of months now and had come across most of her recommendations before but it was really interesting to hear which services she recommended for beginners and how to get experimenting. Today Karen posted her presentation and recommended links on the RBA website and I’d recommend having a look as it is a useful introduction to the subject.
I’m looking forward to getting together with my colleagues who also attended and seeing how we can start to use this technology to improve our library service. Maybe an internal wiki for library procedures and ideas or RSS feeds for readers to get news of new books/library events etc. There is always the standard difficulty of permission, getting the powers that be to agree (or even the IT department!) will probably be the biggest battle but I’m hoping if we start small and demonstrate something that works and makes a difference we can move onto bigger things. Watch this space…
My list of posts I have saved to read later or the magic posts that made me hit the ‘Keep New’ button…
Phil Bradley’s post on 11 Things to Do in Tescos One of those posts that you just ‘have’ to forward to your friends on a Friday afternoon :o)
Phil Bradley’s Surrealism Stalks the Library This should be required reading for senior management when they try to sell RFID as the ultimate way to “free up” library staff!
Random and cold medicine-induced thoughts on screencasting From Information Wants to Be Free – unfortunately I am one of those mentioned folk who hadn’t heard of screencasting but having followed some of the links I’m really interested in seeing whether we could use this for staff training.
Phil Bradley’s post on Internet Detective” Promise this is my last Phil Bradley link for today! Links through to the Internet Detective site which is not just a great example of teaching HE students how to use the web for research but also an interesting reminder of just how confusing the web can be to anyone trying to sort fact from fiction!
Library Delivery 2.0: Delivering Library Materials in the Age of NetFlix A TechEssence.Info post on library delivery in the web 2.0 era. Particularly interesting for me as I work in interlibrary loans and am looking for ideas about end user delivery. Always good to think about what the Amazons of the world have to teach us in libraries.
Meme attack! Sorted science fiction Velcro City Tourist Board is one of my favourite blogs at the moment, although some of the Sci-Fi is beyond me it did prompt me to read and thoroughly enjoy Ursula LeGuin’s Dispossessed recently. Now this post makes me want to go and make strange towers from the books at work tomorrow!
Book Review: ‘The Dispossessed’ by Ursula le Guin And here’s the book review by Velcro City Tourist Board.
Ok this is taking some time so part 2 may have to follow tomorrow (I keep getting distracted by clicking on links!) – to be continued…