Thank You and Lessons Learned: Cultivating a Culture of Learning in Libraries

Wow thank you to everyone who attended the webinar today on learning at WebJunction. Emily is working on uploading the archive which will include video and audio as well as a copy of the PowerPoint slides. I’m working on writing a post for BlogJunction summarizing some of the ideas and answering all of the questions that were asked. Feel free to email me if you have more questions.

In the spirit of learning I have to share with you what it was like today from behind the scenes.

First, it takes a lot of time to prepare for a webinar. Luckily I knew that in advance from reading Michele Martin’s post about her first webinar. In a face to face session you can wing it and adjust your content based on audience reaction. Online it’s a little different.

Second, you have to rehearse. I rarely rehearse for face to face training, but because online learning is so different it is essential to rehearse and ensure that your presentation is in synch with the technology.

Third, as Douglas Adam’s says, “Don’t Panic!” It does not matter how many times you rehearse, how well you know the material, or how fast your Internet access is. Stuff happens.

I delivered today’s webinar from home where I thought I would have faster Internet access and less distractions. I had two computers set up, one as a presenter, one as a participant so I could see both sides of the presentation. I dialed in on a land-line rather than rely on VoIP. I wore a headset so I could talk and walk around to keep my energy up. I was prepared!

But stuff happens anyway. Within the first minute my headset speaker fell off the headset. Then about 5 or 10 minutes into the webinar I asked everyone to answer a question in chat, “In one word what is the difference between training and learning?” I waited patiently for responses. None. I asked the question again. Empty chat box. I panicked and thought, “Wow no one is interested in this topic.” Little did I know that the answers were flying by on the screen.

From that point on I was pretty much flying blind. Thank goodness for Emily and her skills as a producer. I think she knew before I even said anything that something was wrong on my end technically. For some reason both my computers lost their connection to the WebJunction classroom. Rather than make a fuss about it, I just relied on the printed out copy of the slides. (Thank goodness I’m not 100% green yet.)

During all of this my cat decided to make an offering to me by puking a hairball at my feet. I’m surprised no one heard him. 🙂

Then the call got dropped. I didn’t even know that happened on land lines. Maybe it was the cat and he really wanted to tell me something. Like I said though, stuff happens.

It’s funny now looking back at it all. Think about it. How many things do we try to control or force? Some things are beyond your control.

Lesson Learned: You have to be flexible and able to adapt. You never know when the unexpected is going to happen and when it does you have two choices, panic or roll with it. Sometimes it’s probably a little of both. The key is knowing when to sweat (ideally do it before you have an audience) and never letting them see you sweat (which I hope I succeeded in doing today).

Again thank you to everyone who came today to hear my ideas about learning and libraries. Stay tuned to BlogJunction for some follow up discussions later this week.

About Lori Reed

Lori Reed, coauthor of Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Non-Profit Trainers, is a learning and communication strategist with more than twenty years experience in learning and development. A 2009 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and a 2010 "One to Watch" for paralibrarians, Lori graduated cum laude from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. Lori is a certified Synchronous Learning Expert and a North Carolina Master Trainer and has traveled across North America speaking about libraries and training.


  1. Wow–and I thought I’d had some troubles, Lori! Sounds like you handled everything really well and were able to roll with the punches, no doubt one of the most critical skills we have to learn in this business, huh?

  2. Wow, you really did a great job rolling with it! I had no idea there was cat-puking going on in the background. This is a sign of a true Training-Warrior 🙂

  3. Nice Work in the face of trauma, Lori!

    We just love Emily around here. She so cool under pressure. I had heard there were some “issues” but the cat puking hadn’t made its rounds of the office yet!

  4. Was really sorry I wasn’t able to attend the session; after reading your article–headsets dissassembling, improv offerings from your cat–I’m realllllllyyyyy sorry I didn’t catch this live. Looking forward to hearing the archived version as soon as it’s available. As for Michele Martin’s thoughts on webinars: I, too, devoured the piece when she first posted it and have used it as a primer for those I help as they prepare webinars. Thanks for adding to the literature with your latest post; I’m sure it’s going to offer some comfort and lots of laughs for others.

  5. Emily Warren says:

    Wow, I didn’t know about your cat trying to get in on the webinar action! Maybe he had some comments on training vs. learning :). Actually, Lori did such a great job, I didn’t even know she wasn’t seeing her slides. Here’s a link to the archived webinar:

  6. @Michele – I learned from the best 🙂

    @Stephanie – thank you so much for responding to the chats. You are the best!

    @Tim – “issues” is one way to put it!

    @Paul – I’m all about being open and making people laugh

    @Emily – I wish my cat would “learn” to just puke outside. She’s bulimic. Seriously. And both cats are on prozac.

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