Posts in topic: learning

Library staff learning surges on WebJunction amid COVID-19 closures

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As libraries have closed their physical spaces and adapted services to remote work, we’ve seen library staff spend more time than ever on professional development and online learning. In a poll conducted during the recent OCLC virtual town hall, 81% of attendees reported that they have engaged in more professional development since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a free resource open to all, WebJunction has long been “the learning place for libraries.” But the increase that we’ve seen in time spent learning on webjunction.org between March and April 2020 has been, put simply, extraordinary.

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Library Futures: Three very special kinds of networking

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I’ve been to literally hundreds of library events over the years. Of all kinds. The one thing they all seem to have in common—according to both attendees and people who help plan and produce the events—is the opportunity for “networking.” I put “networking” in quotes, because I think we use it as a catch-all term for a variety of activities.

“Networking” can be, I think, anything from informal hanging out with colleagues to actively cultivating specific professional relationships with new influencers. All of which can be enjoyable. But it leaves me thinking about the specific networking opportunities that events can offer.

Having just attended the first of our OCLC “Library Futures: Community Catalysts” Regional Council Conferences in Phoenix, Arizona, I realized that these membership events provide three different kinds of networking opportunities that are invaluable, especially to career-climbing professionals.

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Finding community and more in Phoenix

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In early October, leaders and staff from OCLC member libraries of all types across the Americas will meet in the Phoenix, Arizona, area for two days of learning, connection, and collaboration at the OCLC Library Futures Conference. Six keynote speakers from inside and outside of the library community will provide inspiration to get participants thinking creatively about how our libraries can be catalysts for change in our communities. The programming—planned by a team of leaders from OCLC member libraries—focuses on providing the leadership needed to guide these exciting changes.

This annual conference will be held in a unique Scottsdale hotel, The Scott, a venue that will enhance opportunities for networking breaks, collaboration, and fun. The agenda includes a dinner event at the Heard Museum, known internationally for its collections and advancement of American Indian art.

But if you’re traveling all the way to sunny Phoenix, you may want to extend your trip a bit to take in some of the many experiences and sights in the area.

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Supercharge your storytimes to make a real impact on early childhood literacy

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To an outsider, a library storytime can seem deceptively simple—grab a favorite book and ham it up. Use a puppet, silly voices, and everyone will have fun.

Storytimes are entertaining! But libraries are in a unique position to connect with families and their children from birth. Skillful, thoughtful storytime practitioners are key to the role libraries can play as anchor institutions within a broader community learning infrastructure.

When storytime providers are intentional in supporting early literacy, interact with participants, and take time to assess their programs, then early literacy behaviors increase.

It’s what we call supercharging your storytimes.

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Three things I learned about successful internships

Janelle Wilcox

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As part of the 2017 summer internship program at OCLC, one of the first things I learned was that many long-term employees really appreciate its culture. They told me they like working somewhere with a service focus, and where work-life balance is really encouraged. But for new student interns, it’s a whole new environment, and one that we have only a short time to experience. And while we came from many backgrounds and schools, our program’s focus on group learning is one of three things I’d recommend to anyone looking to make an internship program successful.

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Breaking the curse of knowledge

Kathleen Gesinger

knowledge-curseThere are many experts out there—on technology, customer service, management, information science and more. These experts may be deeply immersed in their efforts to explore a subject and push the boundaries of what may be possible. But bringing an expert’s deep knowledge into the context of working professionals can be a challenge.

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36 tips for making webinars that don’t stink

Sharon Streams

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DINAH: It stinks.

MRS. LORD: Oh, darling, don’t say “stinks”! If necessary, “smells,” but only if absolutely necessary.

Philadelphia Story (1940)*

 

Let’s not mince words, Mrs. Lord: webinars can stink in many ways—disorganized or dull, poor audio, boring slides, ploddingly paced, crowded with content, too commercial, no interaction, presenters running over time, technical glitches. Need I go on?

Even though webinars have been around since the 1990s and it seems that almost every organization does them, there is still significant variation in quality. This inconsistency has not only led to disappointing learning experiences, it has caused consternation among providers of continuing education and professional development that see the potential for webinars as an effective delivery format for learning at scale if used well.

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Is anything more important than convenience?

woman-hammockIn today’s fast-paced world, people want information quickly and conveniently. In almost all situations, they decide what services to pursue and what resources to use based on ease of access, ease of use and the situation and context of the information need. It doesn’t matter if the person is young or old, the deadline near or far, the task scholarly or personal—familiarity and ease of use within individual workflows reign.

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Mapping the role technology plays in your life

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Do you ever wonder about the role that technology plays in your life and what services and apps you use? OCLC began collaborating on the Digital Visitors and Residents (V&R) project with funding from Jisc (a digital education services non-profit) in 2011 to investigate how US and UK individuals engage with technology and how this engagement may or may not change as the individuals transition through their educational stages (White and Connaway 2011-2014). Since that time we have broadened the research to include interviews with individuals in Spain and Italy to include a comparative analysis to identify any geographical or cultural differences. The OCLC team also has conducted an online survey with approximately 150 high school, undergraduate and graduate students and college and university faculty. We hope to have these data analyzed so that we are able to share our findings.

We also began conducting mapping sessions with students, librarians, and faculty using the Visitors and Residents framework and differentiating between engagement in professional/academic and personal contexts and situations. Participation in the mapping exercise is a way for individuals to become aware of how they work,

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Local action for national impact: some closing thoughts on “Geek the Library”

Sharon Streams

Geek the Library event

I recently came across an excerpt from John Palfrey’s book, BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, in which he made passing reference to Geek the Library as a “clever online campaign.” Although the shout-out was certainly nice to read, the description gave me pause. The online piece of the campaign was only one small facet of the project. Truly, the vast majority of the activity and the outcomes happened at the grass roots, in nearly 1,800 communities across 48 US states.

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