Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Breakout Session B (30): Implementing Library Learning 2.0 - Bobbi Newman, Robin Hastings, Missourri River Regional Library

Bobbi and Robin began by explaining the background to an innovative training scheme undertaken at Missourri River Regional Library based on the 23 Things programme created by Helene Blower for Charlotte-Mecklenburg County libraries. Missourri were the first in US, and only the second in the world to implement 23 Things (though they actually did 29 things!)

Tools used were:
  • gmail (entire staff got one to get blogger access)
  • blogger
  • bloglines (this was pre google reader)
  • (all links from all classes and bundled by class no.)
  • Odeo (website that allows production of podcasts)
  • Email (staff were not completely technologically savvy)

  • Myspace (it was clear that users were there)
  • Gmail
  • Map of Visited States (from Steven Abrahams 42 things)
  • Search Engines (remind folks that Google isn't the only player!)
  • Google Labs (some things in Google Labs

  • Life time Learners (just went ahead and skipped that part - that was probably a mistake!)

How the programme worked for them
Lessons went out on the blog, weekly emails sent to staff (fit with normal use of email) and added incentives. Everyone who completed the original programme got an MP3 player and they would give candy, certificates etc as they went. Incentives included public acknowledgement at staff meetings, little candy, oranges, toys, pens etc. on desks - peer pressure in a nice way! And a little mp3 player was given at close of course.

Staff demands
We took the ideas from Charlotte Meklanberg and applied directly but that just didn't work for them. It took staff longer to complete (4-5 hours/week) so divided out lessons a little. The proximity of peers and distractions tricky so a dedicated computer space was set up by Bobbi's office so they could ask questions (though suppossed to be self-sufficient programme). The team are also running advanced workshops (e.g. Flickr, MySpace and tagging).

Staff reactions
Good responses, helpful for keeping up with users and the method and self-led style worked well for some. Meanwhile Bobbi and Robin thought it worked amazingly and wondered why they hadn't thought of it themselves!

Lessons Learned
  • Find out what works for you
  • Find out what works for your staff

Now what?
  • Library Learning 2.1 next - didn't want to just be done with this programme. In fact Charlotte Meklanberg did the same thing too. We have taken what we learned from round . Each lesson goes up one at a time, and all are 1 hour micro lessons. All about interesting things if not all 100% work focused.
  • Public classes - Facebook class at end of April
  • The library goes 2.0 - library now on facebook, flicr and myspace etc. and also manage the blog (now a pool of writers though). So now we continue with it.


Library Learning 2.0
Week by week lessons (which look super!) which staff had to blog on each week.

Library Learning 2.1
Is similar but each week is a new tool - staff only have to comment on each lesson to show participation shown - wide variety of libraries doing this programme and many many libraries are involved (as shown on the originating website:


Q: In Library Learning 2.1 do you intend to encourage choice in other blogging software for instance
A: We encourage staff to ask what they want to learn. Sort of wish we'd done Wordpress this time. But we use same platforms to track use for Incentives again - mp3 player again and a prize draw for a digital camera. Doing step by step instruction is harder across multiple platforms. Our staff weren't very tech savvy so telling them to go get a blog would not have worked well. Most of our staff were probably around 1 on a scale to 1 to 10 on a tech-savvy scale. Most had not heard about what they were teaching about. Some attitudes about MySpace dangers etc. changed when they actually learned about tools. Patrons were coming up and asking questions about how to, for example, block someone on MySpace but the staff in the computing centre could not answer those questions so the staff really need to know what's going on.

Library 2.1 is going really really well. Incentives from the dollar store are still appreciatted and it's working really well!

Q: you are doing technical training, what about cultural training?
A: yup we're talking about personal identity safety, instant messaging etc. We talk about it a lot face to face as well. In the original programme al lot of the younger staff didn't take part, some of the older ladies jumped on and adapted really well and went for it. Online privacy is the second lesson in Library Learning 2.1 - including ad that gives a good idea of the risks. Once somethings online its there. The ad sparked some fascinating discussions online about this.

Q: In terms of mobile the first reaction is to ban and shut out of our systems. Younger people adopt regardless of that approach but as adults we should facilitate new environments anf you must take risks and learn to use tools and environments.

A: We spent a lot of time talking with someone whose library had blocked Myspace (in us myspace scare stories all over the place). Robin's son wanted a myspace page and she took him through a compromise set up - they set up a cat page for a neighbours cat and chatted through privacy etc. in the process of creating. Bobbi has had a personal and professional Flickr account - when she put a foot picture up though all kinds of weird types appeared out the woodback

Q: Increasingly our identity is online so management of that will have to be really important. Child identity issues etc. can be raised.
A (Bobbie): I really want to teach a class on that but its hard to know where to go with that as its all very very new. And you can't teach your kids/users about online safety without knowing about it yourself

Q: we have an it department to pick a single platform so one blogging software for instance, very difficult.
A: we're very lucky that our director buys into this and Robin is our IT manager so we are in a good position. You may just have to pick one and start with something. \

Q: we get students complaining about other students using Facebook etc on institutional PCs and we have to say that they may be doing work
A: you do hear about places where VLEs have worked badly so moving to Facebook, Ning, Myspace etc. Loads of really creative work going on that are definitely educational - eg math equation son myspace. The more staff that know and understand this stuff, the easier it is to build defence.

This slideshow on Google Docs:

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Anonymous wholesale dollar store merchandise said...

My first Skype video chat!! Thanks to Bobbi’s grant writing skills, we have fabulous new training laptops for our use. I was playing with one of them this week, trying to see if we could use it to send out with staff members going to various festivals around town so that they could sign folks up for library cards remotely (they can - I’ve got it set up now!) when I heard the call from Andrew Morton, of the University of Richmond, for a volunteer to do some video conferencing. I immediately thought of the new laptops - all decked out with an integrated webcam - and my Skype account and told him I would be available. He was leading a session on their new Library Learning 2.0 program and wanted someone to come and chat about the glories of Web 2.0 *stuff*. I got everything set up on my end, tested it with him, and at 12:40pm CST we started my very first Skype video chat. Andrew asked me to talk a little about our LL2.0 program, and I did, then he opened it up for questions. I got a question about how the staff has used the lessons learned in their work since the end of the program - and I told them all about our “2.0ified” homepage - the Flickr, Twitter and Blog feeds that make up the majority of our homepage are not all created/written/uploaded by Bobbi (though she coordinates it and does an awful lot herself)! The staff that went through the program and got comfortable with the tools are helping by writing blog posts, taking and occasionally uploading pictures and sending out the occasional tweet announcement as well. I got another question about the incentives we used, too. They are still in the process of deciding on incentives and were very interested to hear what we had used at MRRL!
It was great fun, and I hope I was of some help to the folks deciding whether or not to embark upon the LL2.0 journey at the University of Richmond - and I got to try out a bit of video conferencing to boot!


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