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Creating a Technology Education Program for Patrons

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1 Creating a Technology Education Program for Patrons
Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don't think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other. Bill Gates Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths pure theatre. Gail Godwin Introduction?

2 The 5 W’s and an H Who: Who will be leading the training, who will be the target audience? What: What is the method of training to use. 1 on 1, classroom, etc. What are the benefits/downsides to the program? Where: Where are we going to teach? In a room, on public computers, laptop lab, etc… When setting up a technology training program keep these words in mind:

3 The 5 W’s and an H ctd… When: When are we going to start, and how often are we going to teach classes? Why: Why are we teaching? What are our goals in teaching technology? This is the most important of them all- if you don’t know why you are setting up a program then why bother to do one in the first place. How: How are we going to teach our patrons? Hands on, let them watch, or a mix.?

4 Why We Did It Reference staff was spending more time answering technology questions and issues than reference ones Our older patrons who had never used computers and related technologies were increasingly asking for in depth help. Emergence of E-books, iPads, tablet computers, etc… created more questions for our reference staff.

5 Why We Did It Ctd.. We saw it as a way to relieve pressure on reference staff by devoting specific training sessions to patron technology needs. Most importantly, we saw it as a way to bring in patrons who might otherwise never come into the library. And bringing them into the library provided us an opportunity to show them what other resources the library has to offer.

6 Why Might You? (Why) To relieve pressure at reference and circulation desks by offering patrons an alternative to have their technology needs/requests met. To increase program attendance numbers while helping patrons at the same time. Plus, referring patrons to self help books on particular subjects can help increase circulation numbers. To Bring in new patron clientele. To show patrons that libraries realize technology can be frustrating and we are here to help.

7 Initial Setup (Who, When)
See if there is a need for this type of service. Informal polling at reference and circulation desks can help you decide. Make sure to have an IT person or someone knowledgeable with technology willing to teach patrons. Volunteers and library patrons can be good teachers too. Find times that are good for staff to teach patrons. In the morning, afternoon or evening. Once a week; twice a week; monthly. Get the word out. Social Media; radio; newspaper; newsletters; websites, and word of mouth are some examples of what we use.

8 Volunteers (Who) Volunteers can be a great resource to find teachers for these classes. Retired teachers, trainers or patrons with technical knowledge often are willing to help. Volunteers can help to allow staff members to teach other classes or resume other duties.

9 Staff Benefits (What) Creating appointments help relieve pressure on other staff to help with technology while letting patrons know they can get help with technology instructors. Helping patrons in technology will teach them to use technology by themselves, and decreases the need for library help in the future. Use appointment times as program attendance for statistics. Teaching education programs will help libraries figure out the areas patrons are most interested in or need help with. Ex: Facebook, E-Books, , Job applications, etc.

10 Administrative Benefits (What)
Results of surveys can be shown to library board and other administrative officials to show the importance of library and it’s programs. Keeping up with current technology costs money. A Technology Training Program will help justify buying new equipment, hardware, and software.

11 Drawbacks (What) Getting patrons to sign up for appointments to get in depth help can be hard initially. Once patrons know who the technology instructors are, they can ask for them whenever they need help instead of waiting for appointments. Technology Education Programs can take time away from librarians doing other library duties.

12 Implementation (Where, How)
Use technology available to you in the library. I use our library’s internet computers, laptops, and projector. Teach what you are comfortable teaching. I let patrons know what areas I was comfortable teaching in our newsletters and displays in the library. Set up sign up sheets or something similar with appointment times so that patrons know when training is and isn’t available. I teach classes twice a week, but other libraries might be able to do more or less. Decide on a teaching style. One on One training seems to work best, but fit the teaching style to the trainer.

13 Grants (How) If you have a grant writer, try writing for technology grants to purchase technology equipment. Laptops, projectors, screens, and even software are just some things we have bought with grants. Grants can be a great way to get technology training programs started in your library and increase your technological abilities.

14 Keeping Track (How, Why)
Create patron training surveys or questionnaires so you can see how effective or not the training programs are. is a great free survey creator for this. Keep track of appointments and training sessions to add to program attendance and help figure out what areas of technology people are asking for the most help. Ask what other training and classes patrons want/need on surveys to help plan other technology education programs in the future.

15 Contact Me Douglas Keith, MLIS Systems Technician Augusta County Library Fishersville, VA Phone:

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