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Technology Competencies: a path to training Sarah Houghton-Jan Information & Web Services Manager, San Mateo County Library

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Presentation on theme: "Technology Competencies: a path to training Sarah Houghton-Jan Information & Web Services Manager, San Mateo County Library"— Presentation transcript:

1 Technology Competencies: a path to training Sarah Houghton-Jan Information & Web Services Manager, San Mateo County Library

2 Technology competencies are a list of things staff should know how to do with technology in order to do their jobs.

3 You dont need competencies if …every staff member is an expert in every technology you are currently using. …every staff member is self-motivated to keep up with new technologies and self- train on everything.

4 You do need competencies if Some staff know more than others You want everyone to be able to help your users equally

5 You do need competencies if Your library is adding new technologies to the workplace The library lacks a coordinated technology training program

6 How many of us might need competencies?

7 How will competencies help? Job descriptions Evaluations Reveals training needs Addresses feelings of inequity Help staff adjust and handle change

8 Create a Purpose Statement Guides planning Explains process to all staff members

9 Competency Types Descriptive –Understand how e-mail folders work to create an organized file-keeping system. Task-based –Delete e-mails, move e-mails between folders, and archive old e-mails. Maybe some of each…

10 Ten Questions Before Starting 1. Who does the lead work? –project manager and/or team 2. Who identifies the competencies? –Position reps, management, how many people? 3. Tech competencies or all competencies? 4. Core or extensive list? 5. Do you have a timeline in mind?

11 Ten Questions Before Starting 6.What constitutes technology? 7.Specific to the hardware and software you have now, or more general? 8.Essential skills and extended skills? 9.Base on classification, position, location, or pay step? 10.Base on full-time/part-time/substitute, or desire for promotion/bonus?

12 The Competency Cycle

13 Getting Staff Buy In Ask staff for their input and use it. Keep everyone informed at all steps. Have a purpose statement. Reassure staff that they dont have to have all competencies now. Train managers first (if possible). Managers must allow staff to attend training.

14 Brainstorming for the leaders Literature search (find articles & competencies) Existing position descs. or requirements Professional associations requirements Librarys strategic goals What do your customers need to know?

15 Brainstorming for everyone else Elicit input from staff through: –brainstorming session –e-mail discussion group –Blog or wiki –committees Elicit input from outside experts and stakeholders (consultants, governing bodies, public, students)

16 Structure Option 1 Organize by staff position or area –Reference, Circulation, Tech Services, Management –Library Assistant 1, Library Assistant 2, Reference Librarian (Adult), Reference Librarian (Childrens)

17 Structure Option 2 Organize by competency –Allow local managers to determine if the competency applies to their staff

18 Organizational Options Personal vs. professional competencies Basic competencies and accelerated / advanced competencies

19 Categories: Broad HardwareSoftwareSkills Source prefers to remain anonymous

20 Categories: Moderate TerminologyHardwareSoftwareSecurityTroubleshooting Library Resources Search Skills Public Computers California Library Association

21 Categories: Specific Computer Operation/Setup/Maintenance Word Processing/Introducory Desktop Publishing Spreadsheet/GraphicsDatabasesNetworking Knowledge Areas Telecommunications Media Communications and Integration Design and Management of Learning Environment and Resources Learning Diversity Social/Legal/Ethical Issues Building Level Technical Support Etc. Colorado Dept. of Education

22 Format Options Format can include one or both elements: the competency and the assessment tool Formatting could be… –Grid –Short Outline –Narrative paragraphs

23 Skill Applies to Job MeetsComments Open browser xx Show/hide toolbars Know library URL xx Create bookmarks x Cant find on toolbar Grid 1

24 SkillBasicAdvanced Internet Browser xx Printer Troubleshooting xx Catalog Searching x File Organization x Grid 2

25 Outline Library Resources Be familiar with and able to locate the librarys technology-related policies & procedures Be familiar with the librarys intranet, if applicable Be familiar with the librarys e-resources – –Know the webpage address for your library – –Know what resources can be found on your library homepage – –Know the webpage address for the librarys catalog – –Know how to search by author, title, keyword, and subject in the catalog California Library Association

26 Paragraph The operating system is the software foundation that enables computers to process information, manipulate data, and provide output to users. It stands to reason that a rudimentary knowledge of how it functions is critical if staff are to be successful in manipulating the information resources. Staff must have a working knowledge of the platform on which their computers sit, an understanding of the interface and desktop environment, the ability to format floppy disks, the ability to create and manage files, and a thorough understanding of how to gain access to the various networks available from a given platform. Upper Hudson Library System

27 Text or web? Use a text or web option –Word document –Blog with entries for each competency (tagged) –Wiki –Simple HTML page Web options would allow hyperlinks from each competency to a brief how-to.

28 Include Inspiring Competencies Include ongoing learning: Continually develops skills in using technological tools (King County Library) Include critical thinking: Demonstrating an understanding of the librarys role and responsibility for introducing applications of technology to the public. and Demonstrating willingness to step outside of the box to achieve and maintain smooth library operations. (U Alabama U Libraries)

29 Competency Tips Beware subjective adjectives If using self-assessments, have three choices: yes, no, or maybe Provide a technology terms glossary All new-hires should complete the assessment

30 Assessment Objective assessment (test or quiz) –Automated by computer –Manually by supervisor Subjective assessment –Self assessing from a checklist Who reviews the results of the assessments? of the assessments? Authority Important

31 Assessment Tools Online (on the cheap) –User SurveyMonkey etc. –Create simple webform Paper –Multiple choice quiz –Essay questions –True/false questions –Simple Checklist of skills

32 Training Is Essential No Training = No Point Training should be viewed as a necessity, not a luxury; as mandatory, not voluntary; and as comprehensive, not superficial…. The consequence of poor training will be that our users will lose confidence in librarians… -- A. Krissoff and L. Konrad. Computer Training for Staff and Patrons. Computers in Libraries, Janusary 1998, Vol. 18 Issue 1.

33 Ongoing Learning Give staff 15 minutes a day to study/learn. Schedule 1 off-desk hour specifically for self- study. Encourage conference attendance. Online tutorials, printed materials, demos.

34 Scheduled Learning One-on-one buddy system training Location-by-location training for common and important topics Large centralized group training –Consultants, in-house trainers? Hold each session at least twice!!!

35 Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County Learning 2.0 Initiative Blog: 23 Things Finishing staff received MP3 players

36 Preparing a Training Session Chunk out the various topics Clarify the purpose of the training Decide the session format Prepare a lesson plan Have take-away handouts Advertise the class to all staff in multiple media

37 During the Training Session Teach new procedures sequentially Stop for questions (count to ten) Periodically ask for group comprehension Interactive and collaborative Follow-up sessions, especially when teaching a new procedure © Kevin Eikenberry Group

38 Training Tips Increase training budget Keep trainings under 2 hours. Open trainings to all staff…period. If using buddy system, match skill levels. Set goals and rewards Use real world examples There is such a thing as untrainable. –What to do?

39 Holding People to It Annual reviews Goal-setting Rewards for success Consequences for failure –Transfer –Pay step decrease –Demotion

40 But Sarah, youre so mean! If staff dont meet the bare minimum required to do the job, who suffers? –Other staff –The image of the library –The customers Allowing that is whats mean.

41 Determining Success Compare first round of assessments to assessments after each round of training Survey staff before and after about their confidence in their abilities Anecdotal evidence from tech staff, patrons, managers

42 Reassessment Review competencies periodically New competencies require new training

43 Top 5 Tech Competencies St. Michaels College Library: California Library Association: The Library Network: Oakland Public Library: ALA Gov Docs RoundTable:

44 Other Resources My upcoming book for ALA TechSource in the Spring Skills for the 21 st Century Librarian by Meredith Farkas: 20 Technology Skills Every Educator Should Have by Laura Turner:

45 Questions? Sarah Houghton-Jan IM: LibrarianInBlack

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