Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries


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The Technology Trainer is in

Today marks the start of my 2nd week as Technology Trainer.  Although I still have no furniture (beyond the desk) and it took 3 days to get a working computer, last week was just out-of-the-park productive. I facilitated 6 hours of Excel training (this week is Access, which may well cause my brain to melt!) and set (and made progress on) a few priorities.

I now chair the Technology Training subcommittee, and I hope those poor souls won’t revolt when they see the agenda in their inbox this morning! In the past, this group has been advisory to the Coordinator of Staff Training, and responsible primarily for putting on our 23 Things program. That’s a lot of work, in a compressed time. But since Tech Training is now a full time gig for someone (me! me!) obviously there’s going to be more going on. Part of that is deciding the role of the committee.

Essentially, last week I set my priorities for the next 3 months. These include:

  1. Outreach. Creating (and then maintaining) a blog to gather training opportunities, in-house and from outside, and raise awareness of the training resources we already provide. Weekly news blasts. Office hours-on-the-go (your office, not mine)
  2. Clarifying (and then updating) our in-house experts list
  3. Planning & implementing staff management and training for 4 major software updates this summer
  4. Creating an eBooks task force to bring public services and technical services into closer communication and improving the finadability of ebooks on our campus
  5. Developing Technology Proficiency baselines
  6. Determining essential trainings, currently only password management (with all the changes this summer, I’m afraid to push much more)
  7. Start more conversations among staff and librarians around technology via social media brownbags  and a tech toy petting zoo
  8. Investigate options for incentivizing training
  9. Work with IT to compile a list of approved and forbidden software license click-throughs (this is a huge problem here. We aren’t supposed to ever click OK on a download, because that constitutes signing a license for the state. But someone somewhere must know whether or not it’s OK to click through on Dropbox, iTunes, Evernote, Mendeley, Firefox & Chrome extensions….)
  10. Including as many webinar platforms as possible on the above list
One of my ongoing problems is never knowing what “enough” looks like. What do you think? Is this insanely optimistic for three months? Or is this just the first half of my summer?
Have you done any of these things? Do you have any tips to offer, or documents or websites to recommend (especially for points 5, 7, and 8)?


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Finally!

Finally indeed! After many many weeks in process, I am finally able to announce that I am now UIUC’s Technology Training Librarian, in Staff Training and Development, working for the marvelous Beth Woodard.

I enjoyed my work in the Learning Commons, and hope to have the opportunity to do more in the future. I love the Commons movement, and think it is truly the future of Library.

The Undergraduate Library Learning Commons has now been operationalized into the daily flow of the Undergraduate Library, under the direct administration of the UGL Head. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish in that position (even though I still have a growing wish list of things to develop and implement there!), and happy that most of it has been refined to the point that it no longer requires my hand on the till.

We have big big changes coming the technology pike this summer, and I am looking forward to helping it all unroll as smoothly as possible. I’ve spent the last 4-6 weeks preparing for this move, and have been immersing myself in leadership, facilitation, and change management literature (as much new software as we’re expecting this summer, I see myself doing as much or more anxiety management as skill training). Beth and I have been brainstorming and I have just been chomping at the bit to get started.

In additional to meeting the immediate operational needs (we’re moving to Lync, Win7, Exchange 2010, and Office 2010 this summer, all at once, yikes!), I’m especially looking forward to some specific things:

  • Working more closely with staff, getting to know their needs, and the ways that technology impacts their work. I’m also oddly looking forward to studying the civil service rules, and identifying  room in them to incentivize training for civil service staff.
  • Working in explicit and defined partnership with IT, in some sense becoming an outreach member of the IT team
  • Trying to implement emerging technology, developing digital branch tools, and trying to make sure we remain relevant and useful are still core goals for me.

This last point is especially important to me.  I’ve become very aware that we (the Library)  can’t evolve and grow into robust providers of the digital infrastructure and outreach environment incoming students will increasingly expect unless all members of the library staff are comfortable in a technologically changeable environment. I don’t know how long I’ll be doing this work, but one of my strongest hopes is that I will be able to work out a way to train for change. Really, I’m just talking information literacy here, or transliteracy, or 21st century skills (whatever you want to call it!). Aimed at adult learners who may see little in it for them, but that’s just a node on the digital divide, and I am so excited to see what I can spin from it!

I’m new to training, and both excited and looking forward to the challenges and opportunities moving ahead. there will be much more in this space as I move into it!

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