The PLA Blog | Official Blog of the Public Library Association

Registration now open for PLA’s online train-the-technology-trainer course in September

PLA is now accepting registrations for the interactive online course “The Accidental Public Library Technology Trainer.” This four-week blended learning program begins Sept. 10 and is designed for library professionals who have unexpectedly found themselves responsible for technology training for users or staff at their library.

Librarian, author and trainer Stephanie Gerding will guide participants through an engaging combination of live webinars, independent assignments, and online discussions from Sept. 10 to Oct. 5. See the full syllabus here.

As a result of taking the course, participants will learn great tools and techniques to help others learn; will be able to lead activities that increase learning, participation and retention; will be able to design and share workshop materials to create a learning community; and will receive helpful, personalized advice from Stephanie’s years of coordinating and providing training for public libraries.

Pricing for the four-week “The Accidental Public Library Technology Trainer” is $129 for PLA members, $159 for ALA members and $179 for nonmembers. Find registration details here. The deadline to register for this course is Sept. 7.

New Tool to Disseminate Digital Literacy Resources Info

In partnership with the Ad Council, Connect2Compete (C2C) will be launching a national campaign in 2013 to promote the importance of digital literacy and encourage individuals and families to access free community resources and training. The campaign will direct visitors to an innovative zip-code locator tool that identifies free computer access and digital literacy training course sites in their area. In collaboration with the American Library Association and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, C2C is asking libraries nationwide to submit their information to help populate the database for this tool. If your library offers any facilitator or trainer-led digital literacy training courses (e.g. Computer and Internet basics, How to search and apply for jobs online, Internet safety tips, etc), or offers access to self-paced learning resources or one-one-one training, please go here to submit your library’s information.

Please direct any questions to [email protected]

PLA’s upcoming webinar challenges attendees to shake up traditional thinking in public library management

At 1 p.m. CDT on August 8, the Public Library Association (PLA) will host a live, hour-long webinar, “Are Your Mental Models of a Library Holding You Back?” to inspire library directors, managers and supervisors to shake off assumptions about their library and start thinking outside-the-box.Join presenter Cheryl Gould, library training consultant, Infopeople, for an interactive webinar that will highlight mental models that can inhibit growth and new ideas in the public library world. Gould’s engaging style and instruction will help participants break free of those mental models and learn how to cultivate a professional environment of innovative, creative ideas. Registration for “Are Your Mental Models of a Library Holding You Back?” costs $28 (PLA Members), $31.50 (ALA Members) and $35 (Nonmembers). Groups of any size can register for individual webinars for $129. Register and get more information about this webinar here. Registration deadline is August 6, 2012.

PLA and partner ICMA receive IMLS grant to design leadership training model for librarians

The Public Library Association (PLA), in partnership with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), has been awarded a collaborative planning grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to facilitate the development of a replicable leadership training model that assists public library administrators, senior managers and staff who want to increase their capacity to lead not only within the library, but also in the community.

The PLA Leadership Task Force, chaired by Carolyn Anthony, director of the Skokie (Ill.) Public Library and the PLA 2013-2014 president, will take the lead on designing a training model with the assistance of ICMA and Adam Goodman, director of the Center for Leadership, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. The training model will be designed to empower librarians with the skills necessary to be innovative and successful leaders of change.
Marcia Warner, immediate past-PLA president and director of the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library, said, “While library science degree programs offer a wealth of education, they typically focus on preparing students to be entry-level practitioners. Librarians rising to new positions and even those already at the top can benefit from the advanced education this leadership training will provide. Learning how to rise above day-to-day demands to lead within the library and the community is invaluable.”

The training model will take a groundbreaking focus on developing skills for leadership outside of the library, teaching participants how to work with municipal officials towards enhancing the position and activities of the library within the community.
Ron Carlee, chief operating officer for ICMA, noted that “Public librarians are also public administrators who require the skills of networking and community building to fully integrate their libraries into the building of great communities. ICMA is committed to working with the library community to makes its leaders as effective as possible.”

PLA will receive $45,145 from IMLS with $31,017 in cost share, for a total of $76,162 to put towards this initiative. The funding will allow for design and pilot testing of the training model as well as creation of an outcomes assessment tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot training. “It is imperative that the final model not only be effective, but also replicable,” Anthony said. “One of our key goals is to extend the reach of the training, so it touches more people than single events or classes allow and has a mechanism to continually reinforce leadership concepts and skills. The grant will help develop a PLA leadership model that is all about partnerships and community collaboration.”
Grant activities begin in July 2012. For more information about plans for the leadership training model, please contact Barb Macikas, PLA executive director at [email protected]

Want to work for an innovative, risk taking, learning institution?

Check out the Pasadena Public Library!

Pasadena Public Library has an opening for a Deputy Director. For more information go here. Initial review of applications is scheduled for July 6, 2012.

PLA @ ALA Anaheim: Digital Inclusion: Libraries Transform Communities

I’m attending one of the 18 programs PLA organized for the ALA conference in Anaheim.  This program, Digital Inclusion:  Libraries Transform Communities, provides practical tips for creating technology labs to enhance the traditional library model and bring in new library users.  Staff from the  Colorado State Library and the Free Library of Philadelphia shared lessons learned as they implemented their BTOP grants (Broadband Technology Opportunities Program).

The Philadelphia program is administered by the city, through the library and park district, and is supplemented by a Knight Foundation grant (2 year, $760K).  As a result of these grants, there are 77 “hot spots” or computer centers throughout the city and a mobile center.  The most important service grants provide is staffing.

Who do the computer centers serve in Philly?  People who haven’t ever used the internet, job seekers, small business owners.

In Colorado job seekers are number  one users. Each community decides which kind of service center model they want.  Not all service centers are in libraries; some are in grocery stores,  senior centers. Geographic service areas are very large, there is “lots of dirt between light bulbs,”  20% of the population has no phone service; some schools are only open 4 days per week.  They have mobile service labs. Job seekers learn Word, Excel, photo editing skills,  often to users have never used a mouse.

Service model for Philadelphia, the “tech mobile.”  Philadelphia works with other service providers and has created a wiki that provides job seekers with resources specific to their needs.  See:  http://hotspots.freelibrary.wikispaces.net/welcome

How to determine where to set up tech hot spots?  Go where the people are, where there are partners you can work with.

What technology is in the centers?  In Philadelphia they replicate the library branch experience and go through library computer system.  Computers are multi-point servers that allow administrator to control actions of users; it saves on costs and admin can be handled remotely.  Typical hardware is 6-10 computers; may include laptops and ipads.  In Colorado, they also replicate the branch experience and use free software (Ultra V&C) –given large geographic area, it was critical to manage remotely.  They also use mobile labs for distance learning from universities.  In addition to computers, they use large screen TVs for presentations and have printers.  Colorado has an ADA station to increase access and made a conscious decision to improve access adoption rate for disabled.  Colo. partnered with an organization that specializes in assistance to disabled and provides training for library staff, it continues to be challenging but they are making progress.

Partnerships help create advocates for the library.  Your partners will better understand the library through your collaboration.  A challenge is getting potential partners’ attention; they are busy. Show the benefits of the partnership. It’s on-going work, developing relationships and trust.  One idea, create a letter of agreement that outlines each organizations role and responsibilities.  Number one indicator as to whether a partnership is sustainable is whether key staff remain in their positions.  If they leave, often the partnership will decline.

Public awareness.  Reach out often to community and attend community events to raise awareness about the computer center.  Usse social media to drive awareness too.

Curriculum. Adapt exisiting materials to meet the needs of your community.  Determine a few core computer classes; add topics based on demand.

Staff. Provide training; give staff opporutnities to share their knowledge. stay current.

Other resources:

IMLS-Digital Inclusive Communities

Philadelphia KeySpots PSA

Colorado Public Computer Centers

Tech Training for Libraries

GCF Learn Free


For more information about program and digital inclusion, contact:

Jennifer Donsky, Free Library of Philadelphia

donskyj at freelibrary.org

Jamie Hollier, Colorado State Library

jamie at coloradovirtuallibrary.org



New members

I am attending the new members roundtable exec meeting. I am so impressed with their caring, enthusiasm and organizational skills!

Federal Depository Libraries Task Force

Are you an FDLP library? this task force has the unenviable job of trying to find consensus amongst very disparate views. Some want to preserve the past, some want to embrace the digital world. Who is working on digital preservation of digitally produced government information? Go to ALA Connect and sign up to receive information from the task force.

Getting to ALA

Finally got here after a big delay in San Fransico. The town is noted for fog, why am I surprised? The Disneyland Express was a disappointment. I am a trained librarian. I did research, I made phone calls, I observed the sign for the shuttle….still, the shuttle drove right by me at the airport. When I called, I was told this time that there was construction at the airport and they couldn’t stop ….couldnt stop where their sign was. Their sign on a sawhorse. When I suggested they update their website, they said it was “impossible” for them to change their website for this two weeks they aren’t following their own instructions. I offered to program their web page for them, they still insisted that HTML could not possibly be changed..then changed back. Perhaps theirs is carved in stone and not in cascading style sheets.
But the weather is amazing, Gale is generously providing buses and I finally found my meeting room. I have a lovely sense of accomplishment. Read more ›

PLA Seeks Roving Reporters

PLA is looking for volunteers writers to fan out and cover all aspects of the upcoming ALA Annual Conference for the readers of the PLA Blog. Our bloggers cover programming, exhibits, social events, author events, anything related to the conference and public librarianship, and then share it on the PLA Blog. If you are interested, please contact Kathleen Hughes ([email protected]) for more information. Please pass this on to any email list or friend you think might be interested, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.