IL2009: Sneaking the Social Web Into Your Library & Going Beyond 23 Things

I presented this session Monday afternoon with Bobbi Newman and Erin Downey-Howerton. My portion of the session, 23 Things & Beyond, reviewed Learning 2.0 and 23 Things. There were people in the audience who still had not heard of this great program. I introduced the key principles of 23 Things programs connection, collaboration, play, and prizes. Then I presented some ideas for what to do after a 23 Things program.

The challenge here is how to continue the momentum when the prizes are given out and the official program is over. When does learning become its own reward for staff? I shared the Learning 2.1 site which is where PLCMC continued its Web 2.0 learning.  I also shared Learn Chat a twitter based discussion group for trainers that takes place on Twitter on Thursday nights.

One of the keys to engaging learners online is to reach out to them in their native environments. Many of our staff are already on Facebook so that has become a natural place for me to reach them. I’ve begun posting status updates during the day to let staff know where I am and how they can reach me. A few staff contact me regularly through Facebook chat to ask questions about training and registration. I foresee some research in my future about demonstrating the value of allowing staff to use social networking sites while at work.

I ended the presentation with the steps to creating a marketing/learning/really any plan.

  1. Identify a need.
  2. Research.
  3. Identify the audience.
  4. Identify objectives. Output or outcome?
  5. Craft your message.
  6. Find the right platform/tools.
  7. Develop a plan.
  8. Evaluate. How will you know what worked?

Notice that you don’t even consider whether to use Facebook, Twitter, or blogs until step 6. It’s crucial to first identify a need, your audience, and objectives before thinking about how to get your message out. That’s not to say that you can’t play. Play is essential for learning! But when you are creating a strategic, long-term plan it’s important to lay the groundwork for success.

Technology Competencies Webinar

Tomorrow from 2-3pm EDT I’ll be part of a webinar with WebJunction regarding technology competencies and the core competencies program that I helped create for PLCMC.

From BlogJunction:

This Wednesday, April 29, we’re hosting a free webinar about libraries that are using technology competencies to identify what training staff need and how staff can succeed at their jobs. We’ll be joined by the following speakers:

Lori Reed, Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (NC)
Phyllis Winfield and Kim Gales, Worthington Libraries (OH)
Kris Rosenburg, St. Johns County Public Library System (FL)

The presenters will discuss how they implemented a competency-based program in their library, including steps to

  • create a training program
  • define job descriptions
  • assess staff needs

You’ll hear their suggestions for implementing such a program at your library, and also field your questions.

Librarians share their experiences to help you to avoid “reinventing the wheel” and to save you time and money. There is always a lot of work involved in launching a new program or initiative in your library, but this webinar is an example of how you can build on what others have already done and customize it for your staff.

To learn more and to register for the session, please visit the WebJunction Events Calendar:

Hope to see you there, and I can’t wait to “meet” co-presenter Kris Rosenberg who works with the library system of my hometown in St. Augustine, Florida!

23 Things Summit

“23 Things” is a revolutionary staff development learning concept centered on social collaboration tools. Helene Blowers successfully created the first program while at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

Thousands of libraries and library organizations of every size and type have adapted the idea for their staff. Hands-on, self-directed, and innovative, 23 Things style programs have introduced many, many library staff, volunteers, trustees, and others to 2.0 tools like blogs and wikis.

During this 2 hour Summit, organizers from several successful programs around the nation will share best practices and lessons learned. Participants will be able to ask questions and seek advice to help in implementing a similar program.

Who should attend? If you are involved with library training, if you are thinking about implementing a 23 things style program, or if you have already implemented a 23 things style program and want to share what you’ve learned, then this session is for you!

WebJunction, MaintainIT, the State Library of Kansas, and the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library are collaborating to create this event.

Date: 3/3/2009
Start Time: 2:00 PM EST
End Time: 4:00 PM EST

Register here.

Wrapping up Employee Learning Week(s)

For the past few weeks I’ve disappeared from my virtual worlds–blogs, RSS, Facebook, twitter, FriendFeed–as I’ve been immersed in Employee Learning Week–which turned into weeks.

This year I had an ambitious goal at PLCMC. To celebrate Employee Learning Week I wanted to start with the basics of learning…learning styles. In my email to staff announcing ELW I included a link to a survey I created which would administer Kolb’s Learning Styles Inventory.

Over 200 staff completed the survey–about a third of our employees, and even though I had macros and mail merges set up to make tabulating the results easy it still took a while to create individual reports for each of the 211 employees who completed the survey.

Here is a copy of the email I sent out wrapping up the survey.

Curious how PLCMC employees learn?

As part of Employee Learning Week, over 200 PLCMC staff completed a Learning Styles Inventory.

The results are in!

When you look at the dominant learning style for those who took the survey:

35% have a dominant learning style of Applier (Finding the practical application of ideas.)

29% have a dominant learning style of Actor (Action and getting things done.

27% have a dominant learning style of Thinker (Creating concepts and models.)

9% have a dominant learning style of Innovator (Offering ideas, alternatives and examples.)

This breakdown is illustrated in the following pie chart:

The bigger picture – we’re fairly balanced at PLCMC.

Although our indivudual learning styles vary, when you look at PLCMC as a whole, our preferences for learning are very balanced. Many staff were dominant in several areas and one person was completely balanced with 25% in each quadrant. If you total all of the submissions and plot the results as one unit, our overall learning style looks like this:

What can I do with this information?

As individuals, we each have our own unique learning styles and preferences. Each of the people you work with has a unique learning style as well. When we combine that diversity among our employees great things can happen. The key is to remember that not everyone learns the same way. Simply by being aware of our similarities and differences, we can make an effort to reach out to those who are different from ourselves.

Staff Day 2008

For the past few years on Columbus Day we close our doors and take a day to celebrate our staff. Nearly 600 staff members attend our staff day at ImaginOn. It’s a great time for us to connect with other staff who we may only see on this one day out of the year.

This year’s keynote speaker was Nancy Pearl who donned a cap bearing our library’s new name and logo.

The highlight of the day, as last year, was the staff band Dewey and the Decibels. Take a look at the links below for some video clips of our band and staff rocking out.

There is such a wealth of talent waiting to be discovered within your own staff!

p.s. Photos and videos courtesy of Serena (another talented library employee).