Category Archives: Technology Training Rocks!

Screencasting Patron POVs, a TTW Guest Post by Mick Jacobsen

I am currently developing screencasts for an exciting new project mpowwill roll out in the near future.

While looking at a stupidly designed, but very useful database, I thought “Why would any patron watch a tutorial on how to navigate this mess?  They want an answer to a question, not a walk through of a resource.” This idea was quickly followed by “I am going to design screencasts that answer common, representative questions.”  For example, using LegalForms by Thomas Gale (not the database I referred to as stupidly designed) I can show how to find a customizable job application in one screencast and an easily adaptable home renovation construction contract in another.  These screencasts will demonstrate different means of finding valuable resources, but not be about using LegalForms… overtly.

Carrying the idea of what I call patron-point-of-view (PPOV) screencasts a step further, why not narrate from the patron’s viewpoint?  I rewrote the introduction from “Hi, I’m Mick Jacobsen an Adult Services blah, blah, blah,” to “Hi, I’m Mick, the owner of Mick’s Pizza and I want to get the word out about my great…”.

Lets go even further, why not use the question as the title?  Which video do you think would be viewed more: Learn How to Search LegalForms or Find a Customizable Contract for Your Business? I think the latter.

While multiple screencasts of each database will be necessary, I believe they will provide a better means of showing the real value of library resources.  An added benefit is PPOV screencasts will be short. The PPOV screencasts answer questions. They don’t plod through each and every nuance of a resource.  Seriously, what patron will sit down to watch a 10 minute demonstration of a database?  I try to keep mine at a max of 3 minutes and even that is pushing it.

The shift from a sage on the stage librarian teaching databases to the PPOV has changed everything in regards to my idea of screencasting.  Try it, I think you will find it liberating.

Here is a recent screencast:

How to Find New Businesses from Skokie Public Library on Vimeo.

Click on these links for some good library orientated resources on getting started with screencasting.

Creation, Management, and Assessment of Library Screencasts: The Regis Libraries Animated Tutorials Project by Paul Betty

Paul Pival speaking doing a podcast for the SirsiDynix Institute

Ellyssa Kronski writing for the School Library Journal

Mick Jacobsen is Adult Services Librarian at the Skokie Public Library.

TTW Guest Post: Love thy Luddite

The Importance of the Non-Techie or How I Learned to Stop Pulling Out My Hair and Love my Luddite
by: Mick Jacobsen

My wife mocks Twitter thoroughly, “You don’t even know these people,” she repeats. She thinks Facebook/MySpace is weird. She considers online gaming to be silly.  She wasn’t sure about this whole “Blog Thing” and renamed my Google Reader an RSS aggravator (which I still find hilarious).  She doesn’t want her images on Flickr.  I think it is safe to say she pretty much dislikes any 2.0 technology on contact.

Last week she started a LibraryThing account and loves it.  She is now using my Facebook account to talk to friends.  She uses Delicious to bookmark webpages.  She has her own RSS aggregator (Google Reader) and iGoogle page.  She even created and wrote for a special interest blog on

What does this have to do with librarianship?  Well, doesn’t that first paragraph (besides the wife part) describe a significant portion of your coworkers?  Wouldn’t it be great if you could move them to the second?

Here is how I do it:

1. Listen.  Never dismiss what your Luddite says.  You may not see how it applies, but it surely does in their eyes. When, and it is most certainly when, not if, they have misgivings about a technology it may be necessary to move on.  You might be introducing the wrong technology at that particular time or you may need to reexamine the technology.  The Luddite may very well have thought of something you haven’t and it may not be as useful as you hope (I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me).

2.  Don’t push too hard (if you can avoid it).  Sometimes all it takes is talking to them at the right time.  Understand their schedule.  Some people are ready to play at the start of the day, some after lunch, some while eating lunch, etc. The first time I introduced my wife to LibraryThing she wasn’t interested.  A few months later she noticed me using it (looking at all my pretty book covers) and asked “What is this and why did you never tell me about it before?”  A minute or two of introduction and away she went. This also has proven to be true with a few of my coworkers in regards to the newly created blogs at MPOW .

3. Respect.  Their concerns are not generated from hate of tech. (well in most cases) or lack of intelligence; it is because they don’t see the point.  Show how you are personally using this new technology, how others are using it, and how they specifically could.  Hypothetical situations just don’t seem to work.

I am sure more techniques are available, but these three are the ones that have worked for me so far. What does everybody else do?

As a side note it is probably better not call anybody a Luddite.

Mick Jacobsen is Adult Services Librarian at the Skokie Public Library.

How to Manage Your iPod Class

Rick Roche writes:

I had several surprises:

  • I expected audiobooks to be a primary interest with the group because we promote iPod books that we circulate from the reference desk. Music, however, was the primary interest of this group. Only a couple had borrowed our iPods for the audiobooks. Several did express interest in the audiobooks once they had heard of them.
  • No one had listened to a podcast. Most had seen the folder on the iTunes software but did not know what it meant. The group was surprised to learn that podcasts are free to download.
  • I had a slideshow to use as an introduction but I hardly used it, as questions and discussions started right away. We spent most of the time actively involved with iPods and iTunes.

Are other libraries doing classes like this?

Starbucks Training Day

Via Library trainer Lori Reed:

From the Starbucks Web site, “That amounts to almost a half a million hours of training in one night.

My first thought on hearing this announcement was publicity stunt. Why do you need to close for training? Why can’t you do it before or after closing or off site? I learned though that this was more than training in how to make a cup of coffee. According to the Starbucks Web site this was “a nationwide education event, designed to energize [employees] and transform the customer experience.”

There’s something to be said about putting our money where our mouth is. Do you close for one day a year for “in-service” or “staff institute?” Are you following the same tired models for this day that you have for years: speaker, breakouts, lunch, awards, then everyone flees until next time. As Lori points out, how might libraries adopt this model for encouraging and energizing?

Test Drive: ASUS Eee PC 701 Video at SLJ Site

Hastings Test Drive

There’s always some great content at the School Library Journal Web site. This video by Jeffrey Hastings, exploring the ASUS Eee PC 701 4G sub-notebook, is an extension of his published review. It expands visually on the review in a fun and informative manner. The possibilities for using video in this manner excite me: school and other librarians get even more information for decision making than just the printed review, the link can be shared (and blogged) easily, and the video format (music, shots, script) is a perfect prototype for doing your own reviews. 

Link Hotness

Greetings! I’m embedded at the Panera Bread at the corner of State Street and Congress Parkway in downtown Chicago, waiting for my first class of the semester to begin. LIS701: Introduction to Library and Information Science will be Wednesday nights inside the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library. I am really looking forward to starting with a new group of MLIS students.

While embedded, I’m updating my course Web sites with some wonderful recent links. I thought I’d share them here as well for any TTW readers who might be designing their own courses, enhancing a Learning 2.0 course, or reading up on some of the topics we visit here. These, to me, are some hot links:

Quick Guide to Second Life for Librarians:

Hey, Isn’t That… : (fascinating little article about photos used without folks’ permission..)

Sarah Houghton-Jan’s Top Tech Trends:

What’s Playing at the Library: (Gaming at the library)

Infinite Touch Points: (Great post about touch points in Web 2.0 and beyond) 

Learn More: Social Networks

Learn MoreDon’t miss Steve Campion’s newest installments of his “Learn More” series. The various modules he’s put up for all to use would fit nicely in your online learning endeavor or for a library staff meeting. I appreciate Steve’s straight forward approach.

Good work!

Social networks 1:

Social networks 2: