Reflection on 2016 ASRL Conference
Chisago Lakes Area Librarian
East Central Regional Library
This fall I attended the annual conference for the America Rural and Small Library in October. It was a fantastic conference, and I recommend it to any small library that struggles with “doing it all” with limited staff and time.
A session that stands out to me is the first I attended, which was “Top Tips for Patron Technology Training,” which was led by Crystal Schimpf and Cindy Fisher. I chose this particular workshop because I struggle with finding a balance with my patrons. At times I cannot keep up with the technology my patrons want help with, other times I am too familiar with the technology which results in my explaining the tech quickly.
Here are the three tips Crystal and Cindy provided that I found the most helpful:
1) Self-Identify as a Technology Trainer—this means you should be intentional about seeking out opportunities to interact with technology on a regular basis. This way you add to your knowledge base just a little at a time rather than all at once.
2) Take Slow Deep Breaths– when a patron asks you an overwhelming tech question, or you don’t have the time to assist the person step-by-step. Slow breathing will help you stay calm and keep your explanation of the tech at a reasonable speed.
3) Focus on Quality, not Quantity- When it comes to one-on-One training it is OK to find the “teachable moment” which is the one thing the patron needs and concentrate on that. Sure the patron will not have all the information, but they will have gained one piece of information they did not have before whereas if you provide the patron will all the information, they may retain none of that training.