September 26, 2005

Info Literacy Class Guide

Tonight, I'm subbing for my colleague Joe Sipocz in his Info literacy class at IUSB. Here's the outline, courtesy of Nancy at IUSB. (And I added a few things as well...) I'm putting it here for easy access

1. What is the Internet?

A. Definitions
B. How does it work?
C. History
D.What is on the Internet? | Lycos Top 50 (via Stephen Abram) | Deep Web

B. Evaluation

Evaluation checklist:

Other criteria, the 3C's: context, comparison and corroboration.


In-class exercise:

III. Search engines/Directories

How they work: Spiders | Google Pigeons

Which ones are best? | Phil Bradley's Picks

Clustering: |

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September 20, 2005

Flickr as a Training Resource

Rock on Stephanie Zimmerman... her images came into my aggregator today. Hot stuff, especially this:

What a great way to promote training in a library!

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September 12, 2005

Trainers: Have you updated your Tech classes lately?

I meant to blog this a few weeks ago, but here it is...still timely in my book.

"The average American internet user is not sure what podcasting is, what an RSS feed does, or what the term "phishing" means..."

Pew lists eight techie terms in the report and I kid you not, your public/student/employee technology/internet classes should define and discuss everyone of them!

These did ok:

Internet Cookies

These didn't:

RSS Feeds

(I'd add blogging and image sites too!)

This is important knowledge... every librarian on your staff should be able to define these terms as well as your users. Sorry to preach, but I'm just saying: let's dive into to our role as info literacy trainers and beef up those classes!

For folks that say "RSS isn't catching on.." Guess what? It is, really...slowly but it is. What we can do is help push it along by adding Bloglines or the like to our classes.

For those HOT HOT HOT librarians out there actively training this stuff and staying on top - well done! Comment here if you have any good tips...

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August 09, 2005

Instructing Peers

Chad, making the move to his first big library job, posts this:

I've had a slight change in my job description. Together with another new hire, I'll be in charge of most of UAH's student instruction efforts. So glad I took a course on it last semester! I admit to being a bit nervous: In some cases, I'll only be a year and a bit older than the students I'm teaching. Has anyone else been in this situation? Any problems or success stories? I'd love to hear them.

Chad - I must say this is a great position to be in and if I was working at your library I'd be tickled to have a fresh out of school, and yes, younger, librarian doing the instruction.Why, you ask?

I know you will bring a slant to the program that will include newer technologies, newer ideas and a Millennial outlook. Bring yourself, your interests and your persepctive to the classes you design, teach or collaborate on. I think there's something to be said about reaching students in the library setting and who better but someone who probably gets them (because he is one).

You'll understand how students interact, their collaborative nature and the way they look for information. Now, here's the hard part: you may find resistance amongst people on the staff that "have always taught such and such this way" and are not ready for new innovation and methods of communication and collaboration.

Be cool. You can also learn alot from the seasoned staff and hopefully they will learn a lot from you. Those folks, open to change and the future, really rock my world. And take every opportunity you can to show them how our proffession has changed, how our new users are growing up and where the library might fit in the whole picture.

Good luck! An keep us posted with your blog!

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June 23, 2005

Millennial Librarians Training the Boomer Librarians

Skagirlie ponders:

And I wonder, as she does, if this is a global thing. We had a wave a few years ago of embracing the Web as a one way information tool (for the most part) and now social software, such as blogs, IM, flickr, etc, (as well as Gaming which can really heat things up) has created a whole new divide between the Millennial librarians who ache to implement and use these hot tools and the Boomer Libs who proceed with caution and possibly trepidation.


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May 17, 2005

Rob Trains Librarians in Curacao

My library train ing colleague Rob Coers has been "on the road." This, my friends, is a sweet training gig! He's covered weblogs, RSS, databases and more!

This my friends is a sweet training gig! He's covered weblogs, RSS, databases and more!

Here's what Babelfish had to say about the picture above: "Lianne Leonaora thank me on behalf of the group for my commitment, patience and the terribly instructive days. And that did them in very nice, kind bewoordingen. And that once more I got underline gifts still two of them. As jazzliefhebber and gitarist I will enjoy fixed the CD Evolushon of Randal Corsen, winner of the Edison jazz Award 2004th and my throat what rests to give a small pocket with medicinal kruiden from the kruidentuin of Dinah Veeris. Very nicely considered!"

I get the gist! (in Dutch!)

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May 06, 2005

The Key to Excellent Tech training AND an Excellent Staff

LiB has posted her Tech Training Competencies! And I am a happy guy!

I did a similar thing a few years ago for SJCPL but this stuff is incredible, current and useful. Read it! Do you have these skills? (SKILLZ) Does your staff?

This set of competencies is intended to serve as a base model for technology
competencies among California library workers. California's libraries are
incredibly diverse; there are many different types and sizes of libraries,
different staffing, and different technology. The purpose of these
competencies is not to be the guidepost by which all libraries measure
technology skills, but rather to serve as a starting point for libraries to use in
assessing their staff's technology proficiencies, and to assist libraries in
building their own sets of tailored competencies to fit with their unique staff
and library.

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March 16, 2005

3 Classes I Wish I Could Teach At My Library (But Can’t):

Aaron's | Jessamyn |Rose Read

Classes I Wish I Could Teach At My Library (But Can’t):

Music for the Masses: This workshop will teach partipants how to mount their entire music collections for sharing on the Peer to Peer networks. Best practices, innovative tips and legal advice if you're busted round out a dynamic two hours in the library training room. Requirements: 1 Terrabyte firewire Hard Drive and a $200 legal retainer fee.

Camcorder Cinema 101: Join us for a field trip to a showing of Return of the Sith! We'll provide a sheet of handy tips on making the best recording, the bus, popcorn, beverages and a ticket. Requirements: blank tapes, the coat with the big hidden pocket, a $200 legal retainer fee.

Hooked Up on the Web: The ins and out of the dating sites and those Web sites that specialize in "Ordering In." We'll cover the lingo, precautions and how not to get burned. Requirements: Face pic before private chat.

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March 02, 2005

David King Gets It (or Learning from Your Learners)

No one is born knowing everything

Ya gotta learn sometime

I know lots about library techie stuff, but not everyone is like me

I don't know much about other areas of librarianship.. but someone else does.

Read his post here and don't miss the last paragraph! This is perfect LIS blogging, friends!

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February 02, 2005

Training with the Branch Heads (Library Administrators Please Read)

I am a tech trainer librarian at heart folks. Probably always will be. Those moments of turning people on to new ways to get information or do their jobs when the "AHA" sparks in their eyes. Yes indeed.

Yesterday I did a 2 hour session for our branch librarians at the request of their supervisor -- the Coordinator of Extension Sevices at SJCPL who consistently rocks my world with her forward thinking and insight. She IMs. She reads a whole bunch of LIS Blogs via RSS and comments on posts with me time to time. She has an iPod! She uses FIREFOX!

Anyway, this time she requested a general "how to post to the library blog session" and an RSS session because she really wants her heads to be "in the know." Even if the librarians are not consistently posting to the SJCPL Lifeline, Nancy wanted them to undertsand the process and how it all works. (How many of you have had this encouragement and opportunity? Have you taken advantage of it if you have?)

We zipped through the blogging portion pretty quickly because they were quick to catch on. We went through some RSS basics and this time I demonstrated Bloglines. After they subscribed to a few feeds we had extra time, so I asked if they wanted to see a couple of other new things.

We took a look at flickr and I defined folksonomy for them and then, at Nancy's urging, we touched on podcasting. I showed them Greg's blog and podcasts and Karen's freeverse post. With the speakers up high in the training room, we played Karen's full podcast and used it as a discussion point: what is SJCPL doing with some of the TTTs? Did they know what bthey all were? What have the branch heads encountered in their libraries -- portable storage,etc.

What an incredible way to get people talking and pondering what a library might be doing or planning to do. Have a staff meeting coming up? Play that post and ask your librarians how they feel about the TTTs... what they know about...what they don't..

So the jist of this post is: Adminstrators: look for teaching/learning opportunities for your librarians and encourage them. Lead by example as well! A plugged-in, "in the know" adminstrator can really sell new technologies and plans to the staff. And don't be fooled -- if you are afraid of your computer - your staff knows it! Keep on top of the Top Technology trends and look for cool ways to illustrate them and educate your staff - Thanks for the inspiration Karen!

Posted by Michael at 09:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 23, 2004

Defining Information Literacy

Via the Information Literacy Weblog: "CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Council has officially approved the definition of Information Literacy produced by a CILIP working group:"

Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.

This definition implies several skills. We believe that the skills (or competencies) that are required to be information literate require an understanding of:

a need for information
the resources available
how to find information
the need to evaluate results
how to work with or exploit results
ethics and responsibility of use
how to communicate or share your findings
how to manage your findings.

Good Stuff! I'd make this the foundation of a library staff Info Lit training program.

Posted by Michael at 03:37 PM

November 30, 2004

Teaching RSS to Reference Librarians

Someone who saw the presentation on Teaching Weblogs Steven and I did at IL2004 wrote this to me:

I'm new to the public library world  -- I've been trying to get folks excited about the possibilities of RSS & XML. The problem was that I didn't have a lot of concrete examples of how public libraries could use these tools, and I'm not techie enough to implement things on my own (yet). Now I'm really psyched. I had no idea that public librarians were doing such fantastic things. I was bouncing off the walls after I attended the RSS and blogging sessions at IL2004. Anyway, when you do teach blogs & RSS to library staff, which feeds get staff the most excited? In particular, I'm interested in the feeds like ResourceShelf that even the stoggiest librarian will see as an excellent use of his/her time. Do you have any feeds you would strongly recommend to use in a demo to reference librarains at a public library (beyond ResourceShelf, and maybe NYTimes)?
Yes! Public Librarians are doing incredible things with RSS on their Web sites. I am constantly tickled to see more libraries offering their new and important content this way.

I have done a bunch of Intro RSS training sessions for the librarians at SJCPL. Here's a breakdown of the class design:


Reference Librarians, Managers, Administration: All need to know for different reasons as well as staying in the know. I also tell them it's a great way to know what new things might becoming our way AND folks that use RSS can speak up in meetings with ease: "SFPL is implmenting RFID and ..."


Librarians will understand the basics of what RSS is and how it works.
Librarians will locate and subscribe to feeds of interest via various web sites.

Useful Resources:
Free Range Librarian's RSS Category
Steven Cohen and Jenny Levine's RSS PPT
What is RSS and Why Should I care?


We did the training in the SJCPL Technology Training Room.

To get them excited, we looked at the feeds available at:

BBC News
USA Today
Yahoo News Feeds

And I told them to look for feeds that they were interested in. Not library-related necessarily, but something to show them how cool it can be. We were using NetNewsWire, a program for the Mac that has simple ease of use and a fun interface.


Using these directories:


Library Weblogs ( - Peter Scott’s directory of LIS Weblogs ( -LIS Weblog author Amanda Etches-Johnson’s list of LIS Weblogs

The Internet Courses: Weblogs ( - Dr. Laurel Clyde’s directory related to her work with LIS Weblogs


Librarians will locate feeds they are interested in. They can pick and choose from all. They were to report back with a list of feeds they were reading and send me a sample of a post they liked!

Posted by Michael at 11:21 AM

August 31, 2004

Here Here

Read. This. Now.

It should be the goal of staff technology trainer to get all library workers well versed in the basics of library projects. Patrons should not be met with blank stares if they ask a shelver about a library’s screen name or new self checkout terminal. It is likely unrealistic to be able to meet with every single library employee, but it shouldn’t be unrealistic to get all employees to check a staff blog. walking paper

Posted by Michael at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

TC Librarians have RSS & More Training

Jeff up in TC reports that not only is wifi doing well at TADL, but "tomorrow's reference staff meeting, my co-worker and i are doing a 15 minute intro on, rss+aggregation, cool librarians that blog, and wikis. crazy sampler of "let us know if you'd like us to do sessions on any of this stuff..." AND they will be using wifi to do it!!! (yet another chance to educate!)

EVERY public library staff should be so lucky!

Attention Tech trainers: have you taught all of your librarians about blogs, RSS and the cool stuff going on with collabortation? If not... ponder doing it soon!

Posted by Michael at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2004

Technology Training Questions for Public Librarians

Goodness! I love emails like this one:

Hi--I'm the Technology Training and Website Supervisor at ______ Public Library. This is a new position for the library and for me, and I'm looking for contacts and gathering info. My questions include (but are not limited to--)

So I asked the person who wrote me if I could answer via my blog because maybe some other folks might find this stuff helpful. Here goes:

1. How many machines in your computer lab? How do you staff it? What software is available?

We have a lab of 15 computers that is only open to the public for classes. We do not open it for public hours. The public uses the 40+ Macs and PCs scattered around our building.

When classes are given, there are always two staff present to oversee the room and teach.

We also have two portable labs consisting of 8 wifi compatible Macs or ten wifi compatible PCs that can travel anywhere in our library system.

We have a standard software list on each: browsers, Microsoft suite, Filemaker, IM software, etc. The training room is filled with Macs -- so all the hot Mac OS X software is on them.

2. What classes do you offer the public, and who teaches them? Anything that's wildly popular?

Currently we offer a super-popular “Senior Seminar” over five weeks for seniors who want to learn all about computer basics and Web stuff. We have searching classes, some special topics like “Online Auctions” and “Digital Camera” that I teach and that usually bring out a lot of folks. We just started Basic Computers and Internet in Spanish and a Word processing class.

When the fall class schedule goes up it will be here.

3. Are you responsible for training the staff on new software releases, circ system, phone system, etc., or do you mainly coordinate outside trainers?

We are pretty darn lucky here at SJCPL, our administration recognized the need for in house technology training back in 1997 and my department, Networked Resources Development and Training, has been doing all of the technology training since then, including all of the things you mention. Robert Lewandowski came to us from Purdue Unversity with a Masters in Instructional Technology. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have someone with his background working at SJCPL.

We also have a part time circulation function trainer, Adam Tarwacki (his band is here), who works with NRDT 20 hours and on the circ desk for another 20 each week. Having someone training circ staff who works in circ as well is a good thing!

4. How many people are directly responsible for your website (which is outstanding, by the way)?

Thanks! Our excellent graphics/web page developer Dale Kerkman takes all the stuff we throw at him and makes into what you see at I oversee the scope and mission of the Web site and we pull content in from all over the system. Our Marketing manager writes content for the Web and edits it with me.

5. Are there any conferences related to public library technology that you'd recommend?

What a cool question! Do your best to get to Computers in Libraries or Internet Librarian each year. (If you can swing more: LITA, PLA and ALA annual.) These conferences are perfect for the library tech person. And if you go, be prepared to bring back ideas and new stuff and work hard to turn your librarians and administrators on to the stuff. Too many times, folks traipse off to a library conference and take tons of notes (hopefully into their laptops or devices) that never see the light of day when they get back to work. I would hope libraries that spend money on folks to go to stuff make sure they are getting a good ROI on those trips.

And finally, I’ll do a shameless plug for Internet Librarian 2004 – I’ll be co-hosting a community of Interest session Sunday November 14th for technology trainers with my SJCPL colleague and trainer Bob Lewandowski, Librarian, Blogger and Trainer Aaron Schmidt and Trainer/Blogger Michael Porter. We will be discussing questions just like these with whoever attends this informal gathering.

Posted by Michael at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2004

IOLUG Snap (before My Talk)

Posted by Michael at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

SLS Tech Summit Snap

Caught before the class: Jenny, Aaron & Bob

Posted by Michael at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2004

SLS TechSummit Class 5-19-04

Bob and I taught an afternoon session yesterday at the Surburban Library System headquarters for Jenny Levine. We had ten library folks from all different kinds of libraries in to talk about technology training. It was a blast! Bob and I play off each other well and I look forward to teaching with him again!

Jenny moblogged it here and here. Aaron worked the virtual Reference Desk and participated!

Our PPT is here!

Posted by Michael at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2004

Ten Tips for Technology Trainers in the Trenches

In honor of our program today at SLS, I've been pondering some trainer's tips...

Be prepared! Prepare the training materials, such as updating notes, URLs and facts and remember how quickly things change in the technology world. Prepare the training space: set up computers, test equipment and test software. Get to know the room if it's the first time you've been there.

Know your audience. Who are they? Plan for specific groups: Students, Faculty, Seniors, Novices or Teens. A class for seniors will be different than a class for your teen users. Check out all the stuff you can find about learning styles, presenting technology to various groups and successful program planning.

Know your training equipment. Understand the workings of the PC or Mac and the projector set up. Be wary of cool presentation technology JUST for the sake of technology. Your folks in class may just be confused about the sudden breakdown of a Bluetooth/USB/touch pad/smart board/wifi.MP3/whoosits in the middle of class.

But - don't miss a chance to show off new technologies. Adding circulating MP3 players to your library? Host "Meet the MP3" night at your library and give folks a chance for hands on contact and time for questions. Do the same for a new wifi initiative. Use your wifi savvy staffer who can explain such technology to folks and bill it as "The WiFi Wonder" will be available for support and questions in the library computer lab on Wednesday night" --- a darn nice thing to do to promote such a service.

Enjoy what you do! Have fun with teaching and bring your interests & life to the class. Do you collect Fiestaware gravy boats by buying on eBay? The group will love to hear about it. Enjoy training and don't sweat the glitches with'll always be something!

Rehearse and know your outline but don't just read the script. No one wants to see you standing stiffly and hiding behind notes. We want to engage learners with an easy style, patience for snafus and an environement that does not threaten the technoterrified. Be comfortable with the topic so you don't seem nervous.

Know your topic well or find a staff member, faculty member, volunteer or contractor who does. Assign the class to someone with an affinity for the subject -- your staff eBay guru can teach the auction class! Embrace new technologies like Digital cameras, PDAs and MP3 players. Farm out stuff that you just don't have time to master. Photoshop class?? Find a consultant that teaches such and work out a deal!

Feel out of the know? Read blogs, monitor RSS and seek out anything in the media that covers the tech world. It'll filter into your training soon enough. I always grab USA TODAY when they have an extra TECH section!

Promote your classes: Use your library's Web site & blog, e-notification and RSS feeds, create fliers and brochures, and alert the news media.

Listen to your audience. What classes do they want? What are they asking about? Ask, take note of trends and develop new and exciting training sessions as the technology world grows ever bigger!

Bonus: I repeat: HAVE FUN!

Posted by Michael at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2004

Update Your Digital Camera Classes!

Reuters Tech Story on Digital Cameras

And this!

Take a look folks!

"Digital camera shipments are seen rising to 68.6 million units this year from 47.9 million in 2003, research firm IDC said on Thursday in its Worldwide Digital Still Camera Forecast. Shipments rose 71 percent in 2003 from 2002."

Nice. This little article offers a lot of stuff for those Digital Camera classes!

Posted by Michael at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2004

"Silver Tsunami"

CJ at Technobiblio writes about our older users and a study from The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. "While we often talk about the younger generation and how their expectations will/are changing how libraries provide services, remember that there is also a large base of users who, once they get online, are just as enthusiastic about technology as the younger generation."

Well said and I wholeheartedly agree! We teach a "Senior Seminar" Internet series at SJCPL and it is POPULAR!

Posted by Michael at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2004

Google: Free Web Mail? Hooray! (Google has become a Portal)

CNN reports this am the Google announced yesterday a new Web mail service.

I have taught Yahoo Mail for years at my library and on other training/consulting jobs. I'm interested to see how Google stacks up. I can already tell, I may switch. Why? The Google name - be all end all for searching for most folks (I know...I know...) carries a lot of good connotations for me.

"But analysts said that Google -- whose technology is behind nearly four out of every five Web searches -- could shake up the free e-mail market."

The public uses Google big time. In this day of one stop shopping (one of my favorite terms for Web portals), folks may get a big kick out of having their e-mail at the search site. OH MY! The light just shines through -- Google has become a portal! Search, directory, discussions, catalogs, proiducts, local info and now MAIL... Was this discussed in a Google session I didn't make it to at CIL?

"Yahoo dominates the niche, with 52.6 million unique users per month in the United States, according to a February survey by online research firm comScore Media Metrix. Hotmail is next, with 45.4 million users. AOL has 40.2 million paying users.

To finance the service, Google will display advertising links tied to the topics discussed within the e-mails. For instance, an e-mail inquiring about an upcoming concert might include an ad from a ticket agency."

Sounds good - except my only concern is the perception that e-mail messages are read by someone to determine what ads get placed in what messages.

Trainers: be aware... and be ready to fold this new option into your e-mail classes.

UPDATE: I picked up on some of the commentary about GMail and the whole thing about the Google bots reading mail to determine what ad goes where -- especially Karen's post at FRL and I agree -- we have a ways to go with this sort of system. And Karen, I'm all for a big ole letstalkcommonsenseinthedigitalenvironmentfest... let me know where the gathering is and I'm there with the proverbial bells on. I love the idea of Google offering mail...just not this way!

Posted by Michael at 06:03 AM | Comments (0)