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Technology Competencies: Can Your Staff Do This Stuff?

A Clovis point, made via pressure flaking
Need to update your tech skills?  Image via Wikipedia

WebJunction has published a wonderful new document that details the basic skills that library staff should have – from management skills to tech skills to public service skills and everything in between. Of course,  I was particularly interested in the Core technology skills section.

I think most of us are doing great with the basics of using our computers, email, word processing and getting on the Internet. I remember the days when every trouble shooting call had to begin with “is it plugged in and turned on”!  When I’m teaching classes these days, participants rarely have basic skills issues any more. Indeed over the last year I’ve been adding more content to my classes because people aren’t getting bogged down with basic computer skills issues and are getting through the class content much faster. Yay for that!

Where I think many of us aren’t all doing so great is with the competencies in the Core Web Tools section. “Understands and uses common social networking and online collaboration tools.” This includes things like reading blogs, familiarity with RSS, able to use webconference software, instant messaging and more. And my favorite, and core to all we do, being able to find the tools and help we need to acquire new skills!

The skills listed in this section are repeated throughout other sections including Adult Services, Children’s & YA Services and Web Design. Take a look at this summary Competencies for Social Networking in Libraries to see how essential these tools are for so many different service areas.

What can we do to improve? The answer is in the competencies!

  • Provide opportunities for staff to explore new technologies in the library environment

Give staff the time and encouragement to EXPLORE and PLAY and SHARE. Your staff and customers will reap the benefits.

Kudos to editor Betha Gutsche and all the individuals who contributed to this. Download the PDF: Competency Index for the the Library Field

4 Comments

  1. Rob Carle says:

    We at Upper Hudson have run into a wall when it comes to implementing Web Conferencing. We find the really good tools ( i.e. Webex, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro) way too expensive. The free Google and Skype tools tend to be clunky and not necessarily a valuable teaching tool.

    As a meeting tool, it may work fine, but we see no real advantage beyond the ability to see someone while listening to their voice.

    Has anyone had any luck making webconferencing work as a method for delivering instruction?

  2. polly says:

    Rob – have you looked at DimDim? Free for up to 20 participants. Only one webcam though. I don’t have any experience with it, but it looks like a good option for small groups.

    I’ve attended quite a few training sessions & meetings using Elluminate. Always been a good experience. I’ve used some others too, but forget what they were, was too focused on the session and didn’t pay attention to the tool – which is as it should be!

    Quite a bit of discussion of webinar tools at the Pres4Lib meeting a few weeks ago.

  3. Rob Carle says:

    Thanks, Polly. Also, a great post on Technology Competencies! I printed the Webjunction document and placed it in a prominent location at UHLS. I hope people will take a look at it.

    We tried DimDim and had problems with consistency from screen to screen. It was not user friendly when adjusting for screen resolution, and found that it might be more trouble than it was worth. Our goal was to make this as simple as possible. We could always try it again.

    Elluminate looks like you have to pay. Is there a free version?

    I may be old fashioned, but web conferencing leaves me a little cold as a way of providing meaningful instruction. It could make for a quick demo, but I think screencasts do this effectively. Screencasts do not require the scheduling and you now can comment asynchronously, via seesmic video: http://wiki.seesmic.com/Wp-plugin

    1. polly says:

      Will check out the seesmic plugin. Thanks!

      I really like being able to attend webinars with presentations and participants from around the world. And appreciate the wide range of topics offered by different organizations. And I can see using the format for meetings with clients that aren’t local. For local meetings, I do like face to face generally – preferably over coffee and lunch!

      But even if it’s not be the best tool for some of your group meetings, I think it’s great that you’re helping staff get comfortable with this technology. They’ll then be more likely to participate in sessions of interest to them.