The T is for Training Challenge

Maurice Coleman, wrangler extraordinaire for the T is for Training podcast group, has challenged each member of the group to answer these 27 questions as a getting to know you exercise. Who am I to ignore orders!

1) Your One Sentence Bio

My business card reads: librarian . techie . trainer . consultant – to which I’ll add amateur gardener, foodie, reader, photographer, traveler.

2) Do you blog? If yes, how did you come up with your blog name?

Yes, here at, very uncreatively named for my uncreatively named business, PA Farrington Associates.

3) What is your professional background?

17 years in academic  libraries with stints in interlibrary loan, gov docs & maps, reference, technology & systems. 13 years as a consultant & trainer to libraries & schools.

4) What training do you do? staff? patrons? types of classes?

Library and school staff. And just occasionally for parents, grandparents and kids! Technology, online outreach & marketing, web site development, web 2.0, social media, etc. etc. etc.

5) What training do you think is most important to libraries right now

Anything that will help staff think outside of our boxes (really hate that phrase though!) and help them find their way during the exciting (and sometimes exhausting and scary) sea-change we are in the midst of.

6 ) Where do you get your training?

Conferences, webinars, reading, books (oh my, yes, books!), friends, classes.

7 ) How do you keep up?

Twitter, facebook, meetings, conferences, delicious links, webinars, google reader, magazines, colleagues.

8 ) What do you think are the biggest challenges libraries are facing right now?

Evolving and redefining what a library is and how we can continue to meet the changing needs of our customers, even when our customers aren’t always aware that their needs are changing.

9) What are biggest challenges for trainers?

Keeping up, keeping ahead, seeing what’s coming down the road and meeting the needs in #5 & #8.

10) What exciting things are you doing training wise?

Creating a bunch of new classes for this spring and summer – not sure what they’ll be yet, but they’ll focus on how to improve library websites and how to get library content and info out of the library and into the digital spaces where many of our customers ‘live’.

11) What do you wish were you doing?

At this very cold icy dark wintry moment? Warm sunshine, sandy beach, good book, good friends and dare I say, a margarita?

12) What would you do with a badger?

Write a wonderful children’s story about a badger and a mole and oh.. whoops, it’s been done.

13) What’s your favorite food?

Anything fresh and spicy and wonderfully tasty. I love meals of appetizers and snacks, get to taste lots of things that way.

14) If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you want to have with you?

A boat so I could leave when I wanted to.

15) Do you know what happens when a grasshopper kicks all the seeds out of a pickle?

No, but I googled it.

16) Post it notes or the back of your hand?

Post it notes and the palm of my hand.

17) Windows or Mac?

I have an Mac soul, trapped in a PC body.

18) Talk about one training moment you’d like to forget?

I’ve forgotten…..  multiple days with a student who asked increasingly incomprehensible questions, tried to answer them himself and didn’t listen to anyone else. I feel I totally failed that student, but just couldn’t find a way to get through and still meet the needs of the other 11 students.

19) What’s your take on handshakes?

Firm and friendly, but don’t break my hand. Hugs are better.

20) Global warming: yes or no

Tonight specifically, no. Overall, YES.

21) How did you get into this line of work?

After 17 years in an academic library, I was ready for a change and looking for a new job, when a budget reducing buyout option was offered to all staff, I took it and never looked back. Instead of taking another job offer, I decided to take a few months off. During that time a colleague hired me to do some training and manage a grant.  And everything flowed from there.

22) What is the best part of your job?

Meeting so many incredibly smart, fun, interesting and passionate library staff and educators.

23) Why should someone else follow in your shoes?

Make your own path, but if you can find a way to work for yourself doing something you love (and make ends meet!), go for it.

24) Sushi or hamburger?

Veggie sushi please.

25) LSW or ALA?


26) What one person in the world do you want to have lunch with and why?

Pop. His roses and I miss him.

27) What cell phone do you have and why?

I recently joined the smart phone crowd, upgrading from an ancient little phone that, gasp, only made phone calls. I bought a droid the day they came out, it’s been a great time saver and a time sink at the same time.  A true confession for those who have actually read this far:  I had the phone for 6 weeks before someone called me and I didn’t know how to answer!  Hello, hello, hello….

Responses from some of the rest of the group:

8 thoughts on “The T is for Training Challenge”

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  6. Your post has reaffirmed my decision to make my own way now that I have been laid off. Thanks Polly!

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