I’m Joining the Team at NoveList

If you’ve been following my blog you might have noticed subtle changes to the site over the past few weeks. The logo for Lori Reed Learning Solutions has been replaced with a different header. Posts have become a bit more personal in nature. When I transitioned to full-time consulting last summer, I anticipated remaining self-employed for life (or at least a few years). I enjoyed working with a variety of libraries and library cooperatives. I loved teaching classes and receiving feedback from participants about how much they learned. I also enjoyed being home with my kids after school and having more flexibility with my schedule. So it’s bittersweet to announce that I taught my final workshop as an independent consultant today for LibraryLinkNJ.

Next week I begin a new position at NoveList® as the Customer Relationship Coordinator. The opportunity to work with the fabulous team there was too good to pass up and I’m looking forward to working with many different libraries in this capacity. As happy as I was to begin consulting full-time, I’m even more excited about working with the talented, creative group at NoveList®.

If you have a training need, please contact me and I will be happy to connect you with another consultant who is a good match for your needs. I am available for a limited amount of speaking engagements and look forward to presenting a full day preconference on training skills for non-trainers in May at the Maryland Library Association Conference and a keynote about coping with change as well as a breakout session about working with multiple generations in October at the UW-Madison SLIS-Continuing Education Service Conference for Circulation Managers and Staff.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the following people who were instrumental in my success as a consultant by serving as mentors, advisers, and trusted colleagues: Pat Wagner, Paul Signorelli, Nicole Engard, Andrew Sanderbeck, Polly-Alida Farrington, Chad Mairn, Dick Handshaw, and Guy Wallace.

Thank you also to everyone else who has followed me online through Twitter and Facebook and offered support and encouragement this past year.

So what happens to my blog? This site has transitioned since 2005 from one of the original 23 Things participant blogs, to Library Trainer, to my own domain name. Writing is a great way for me to reflect and share things I’ve learned. I searched for the right name for months and finally out of frustration made a joke on Facebook that I should just call this “A Work in Progress.” Ironically since my passions are personal and professional development, the name stuck. I plan to write about a variety of topics that relate to libraries as well as other organizations but mostly information that is relevant to you on a personal level. I envision this site as becoming the Oprah of library blogs. :) Much of what I share will be practical advice or information mixed in with personal stories. Look for upcoming posts about dealing with information overload as well as what it is like to work as a consultant. If there are topics you are interested in, please contact me. I look forward to sharing this new journey with you.

Feel free to also connect with me on:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lorireed

Facebook: http://facebook.com/lorireed

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/loribreed

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/russandlori

 

Announcing…Lori Reed Learning Solutions

One of the things I’ve most enjoyed over the past few years is visiting other libraries and working with their trainers and staff. Beginning July 1st I’ll do this full time as Lori Reed Learning Solutions.

My passion has always been to help others grow. Now I’m ready to take this to the next level and work with libraries and other organizations to maximize their investment in staff development.

 

 

Lori Reed Learning Solutions will provide the following services:

  • Consulting
  • Creating Online Learning Communities
  • Custom 23 Things Programs
  • Group Facilitation
  • Keynote Speeches
  • Staff Development Days
  • Strategic Planning for Training
  • Training Design & Delivery
  • Webinars

 

 

 

 

While I am available to travel to deliver face-to-face training and keynote speeches, my primary focus will be delivering high quality live, online learning experiences. As a certified Synchronous Learning Expert, I’ve been trained in the art of online facilitation and course design by the masters in live online training at InSync Training.

Please contact me at lori@lorireed.com for a free consultation on how I can help your organization maximize your investment in learning and training. Be sure to check out and follow my Facebook page for additional updates!

I’d also like to thank the following people who have both inspired me and help me get started: Andrew Sanderbeck, People Connect Institute; Dick Handshaw, Handshaw, Inc.; John LeMasney, LeMasney Designs; Pat Wagner, Pattern Research, Inc.; Paul Signorelli, Paul Signorelli & Associates; Polly Farrington, P A Farrington Associates.

Learning at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Learning at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has changed a great deal since I began working there 11 years ago when most training consisted of courses such as how to use Microsoft Office and how to search online resources and databases. In 2005 I moved from a busy regional branch library to the Human Resources department and created the Library’s Core Competencies program and then in 2006 I worked with Helene Blowers on our Learning 2.0/23 Things Program. Once those programs were complete we received less requests for computer training and more requests for soft skills training such as customer service and communication skills.

Why the change? I think our staff are more tech-savvy and willing to try new things and at the same time technology has evolved to become more intuitive for the end-users.

In 2009 we created a Learning Council comprised of about 10 staff members from all facets of the library. We have a person from technical services, IT, children’s services, adult services, and outreach on the team. There are also staff members from large branches as well as small. We’ve tried to have representation from all parts of the library. Once a year the Learning Council meets to discuss training for the next year. We discuss what’s working well, what’s not working well, what skills are staff lacking, what new products might staff need training in. I also meet with a random sampling of managers to ask the same questions.

Last year I took the time to go through the Library’s strategic plan and define competencies that support that plan. Then I focused training on supporting each of those competencies. You can take a look at the complete curriculum here. The courses for that program were conducted by subject matter experts within the library. We have a separate training curriculum for managers and supervisors that is administered by another member of our HR staff.

This year we face new challenges of reduced staff (from more than 600 to about 300) and reduced hours at all of our locations. The workload for our front line staff has not decreased though. If anything our libraries are busier than ever since the unemployment rate in the area hovers around 10%. This makes it difficult for staff to find time to leave their libraries to attend training.

We’ve been making plans to introduce online learning to our staff for the past two years. It took some time to get the infrastructure in place to do this (you need lots of bandwidth!). I knew what kind of solution we needed or at least what I dreamed of!

We use PeopleSoft for all of our HR functions such as payroll and training registration and record-keeping. I wanted a system where I could create content, then publish the content as courses for our staff to take at their convenience, then have the training records automatically updated in PeopleSoft when the training is complete. I knew this solution would be expensive so I posted this on my local ASTD email list to see what recommendations others might have. Dick Handshaw, president of Handshaw, Inc. contacted me to discuss my needs further, then donated hosting of the learning content management system Lumenix to the Library. You can read more about the LCMS in the April 2010 issue of Computers in Libraries. Look for the article When the Going Gets Tough, the Staff Needs More Training. Below you can see a preview of the course software and a demo course.

The hope is with self-paced learning modules, our staff can complete courses at their own pace and convenience. They will not have to sign up for a course months away and travel to a training site. Instead we can provide solutions for learning on demand. When you need the training it’s there and available to you.

Realizing that self-paced training takes a lot of up front time to develop we are also implementing WebEx for live, online or synchronous learning. WebEx will allow staff to attend training, remotely from any location with Internet access. There are a number of similar Web conferencing platforms available.

Because synchronous learning courses can be developed more quickly then self-paced courses, we’ll be able to get more courses out quickly to our staff. However keep in mind that synchronous learning is not the same thing as a webinar. Synchronous learning courses are limited to a small number of individuals and are highly interactive. If you want to become an expert online trainer look no further than InSync Training and their Synchronous Learning Expert certification.

Our plan is over time to have most of our training available online with supplemental face-to-face sessions offered with more hand-on activities. None of this would be possible without the great team of staff we have who provide content for me to put into the online courses. Training, learning, whatever you want to call it, is definitely a team effort. I work with an amazing staff who always find ways to share the information they’ve learned with other staff.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Staff Needs More Training

Be sure to check out the April 2010 issue of Computers in Libraries Magazine.

I wrote a feature about the new Learning Content Management System launching this month at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. The article tells the story from start to finish of my search for a solution to manage learning when we were faced with not only having less staff but also staff who are busier than ever as our usage soars.

I also want to thank Dick Handshaw and his team at Handshaw, Inc., who donated hosting and support for Luminex Suite for the Library. They have donated resources and precious time to get Lumenix not only up and running but fully integrated with our HR system, PeopleSoft. We need more people and businesses to step forward and help libraries the way Handshaw and his team have!