Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Nonprofit Trainers

Two years of writing and interviewing and our book is almost here. Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Nonprofit Trainers is available for pre-order from the American Library Association.

Workplace Learning and LeadershipThe best kind of learning is that which never ends—and a culture of training means that staff will be more flexible and responsive to new ideas and strategies, imperative in today’s libraries. In this practical resource, leading workplace trainers Signorelli and Reed offer guidance on improving the effectiveness of training programs. Their book takes readers through the entire process of developing, implementing, and sustaining training programs and communities of learning, in order to

  • Empower individuals to become leaders and teachers by cultivating a culture of ongoing learning
  • Connect library staff and users to information resources so they can effectively use them to their benefit
  • Develop skills among both managers and workers for practicing continuous formal and informal training

Using real-life examples of trainers who serve as leaders within libraries and their communities, this book sheds light on an underappreciated but important component of library operations.

You can read an excerpt from the book here.

Make a Nomination Today: The 2010 Edublog Awards

From http://edublogawards.com/
Welcome to the 2010 Edublog Awards.

Celebrating the achievements of edubloggers, twitterers, podcasters, video makers, online communities, wiki hosts and other web based users of educational technology.

Now into our 7th year!

And this year we’re going to run the nominations for each category just the same as we did last year 🙂

In order to nominate blogs for the 2010 Edublog Awards you have to link to them first!

Nominations: Close Friday 3 December!
Voting: Ends Tuesday 14 December!
Award Ceremony: Wednesday 15 December!

Categories include:

  • Best individual blog
  • Best individual tweeter
  • Best group blog
  • Best new blog
  • Best class blog
  • Best student blog
  • Best resource sharing blog
  • Most influential blog post
  • Most influential tweet / series of tweets / tweet based discussion
  • Best teacher blog
  • Best librarian / library blog
  • Best school administrator blog
  • Best educational tech support blog
  • Best elearning / corporate education blog
  • Best educational use of audio
  • Best educational use of video / visual
  • Best educational wiki
  • Best educational podcast
  • Best educational webinar series
  • Best educational use of a social network
  • Best educational use of a virtual world
  • Best use of a PLN
  • Lifetime achievement

To learn more and to find out how you can nominate your favorite library and education blogs read the rest of the post at http://edublogawards.com/.

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.

Get More (important things) Done

Earlier this month I presented an online training session to the great folks at NEFLIN on time management and getting things done. The training was based on my personal time management style which is a combination of David Allen’s Getting Things Done and Sally McGhee’s Take Back Your Life which gives detailed instructions on how to implement GTD with Microsoft Outlook.

The slides from the session are below and over the next few months I will be writing a series of posts about time management with the best tips and techniques that I have learned. Time management is my passion, so I hope you will follow along and pass this along to your friends.

Upcoming Webinars and Book Release

Here’s a list of upcoming webinars I am facilitating. If your library or organization is interested in any of these or other topics please contact me at lori@lorireed.com or 704.350.5421. You can see slides from all my learning sessions at http://www.slideshare.net/lorireed.

Get More Done! Time Management for Library Staff
North East Florida Library Information Network
Online
August 5, 2010 2-3pm

Microsoft Office ’07: Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts
Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative
Online
August 10, 2010 10-11:30am

Microsoft Office ’07: Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts
North East Florida Library Information Network
Online
November 3, 2010 2-3:30pm

My colleague, Paul Signorelli, and I are finishing up the final chapters for our book. Workplace Learning and Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Nonprofit Trainers will be published next summer by ALA Editions–just in time for the ALA 2011 Conference in New Orleans. In the book we are compiling best practices in leadership in learning from experts such at Peter Bromberg, Pat Wagner, Jay Turner, Maurice Coleman and many others. Stay tuned for more details!