Are You Ready for Library 2.0?

Library 2.0 is the latest thing in all the library-related magazines and blogs. Hurry! Get on board with all the really cool stuff! Get your staff up to speed with 23 Things!

But in reality, is your staff ready for this yet? Are you?

My library held it’s annual Staff Training Day today. It’s a day where we close the library and spend a day together teambuilding and learning. One of the sessions was a wonderful presentation by Barbara Moore called “Gadgets.” Her intent was to show staff members the various items our patrons might be bringing into the library — just a brief overview so staff would know a PDA from an iPod.  We took a quick online peek at the upcoming iPhone from Apple. We talked about downloadable ebooks.

And we discovered that well over half the staff was baffled by their own cell phones.

All but two staff members own cell phones, but most of those who have them only know how to answer it when it rings and how to dial out. Some said they have no idea how to get their voice mail. Most said they don’t know what text messaging is. Some did not know whether or not they had a camera, and many do not use their contacts.

Clearly, some training is necessary to teach staff these basic technical skills before we send them off to create MySpace accounts and blogs or expect them to load their latest videos onto youtube. We could use a “Ten Things to Learn Before 23 Things” type of training. : )

Technology Leadership Institute

I attended an extremely invigorating seminar yesterday! The Monroe County Library System presented it’s Technology Leadership Institute in downtown Rochester. The presenters — Stephen Abram, Michael Stephens, and Ed Vielmetti — were excellent. It was a great opportunity to hear about what others are doing to take advantage of new technology to provide better library service. And it was also nice to have some of my own ideas validated. : )

Stephen Abram is very knowledgeable on all sorts of technology topics, and he’s also funny and irreverent. His talk was delightful. Two key points he brought up early on were that libraries need to shift marketing toward what patrons need, not what we have (they already know we have books), and also that we need to think about how our users Feel in our library. We need to provide a positive, comfortable experience.

Michael Stephens echoed this idea as he talked about “stories.” What are the stories our libraries are telling? Are we a welcoming place? Or do we have too many barriers that keep patrons from having a rich user experience? Michael provided specific examples of services we can provide — easily and cheaply — to positively impact the user experience. I’ll talk about these more when I’ve had a chance to look through my notes.

Ed Vielmetti, the Superpatron, provided a nice balance to the seminar by talking about library service from the patron’s point of view.

And during the break I drew up some sketches for a website prototype! This was an incredibly productive day for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll be writing more, like I said, when I’ve had a chance to go over my notes and digest it all.