Teaching Paraprofessionals the “Techy” Side of the Library Rita Van Duinen- Lead Instructor, Library and Information Technology Program - Central Carolina Community College Mike Crumpton– Asst Dean for Admin Services – The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Challenges Cataloging evolution Multiple resource types Staff outsourcing of functions Collapsing of full time positions Convergence technologies Maintaining and repairing equipment Search strategies Employer expectations Communication issues Unlearning the past Learning new competencies
Have times changed? Has the role of paraprofessionals begun to evolve differently? Do they need to re-look at their own world and the world around them differently? Have customers (readers/users) expectations changed significantly over the years? Is this a profession that many find difficult to cope with changing times and environment? Can libraries be made as an ideal place to work-despite the limitations? What is the role of technology in paraprofessional duties?
Library Staff Professional Librarians Info literacy Lifelong learning Resource evaluation Understand and convey social issues Administrators Provide supervision Promote vision Advocate within larger organization Para-Professional Technicians Web AV Assistants Circulation Periodicals/serials Clerks Collection Administrative Public service
Digital Natives Next generation of people who have grown up learning “differently” Conflicts with digital immigrants who did not grow up on “twitch speed” or everything being instantaneous Acceptance or avoidance of digital future? Adapting library services to meet digital native’s needs
What users want to know In no particular order: Library rules Where are people, places and things What you can do for them Technology on the spot Seamless use of Internet features
Examples Technology Word processing, spreadsheets, presentation programming skills Web navigation and design skills Digitization, camera File management skills Videoconferencing Local network knowledge Storage devices
What is Web 2.0? Library 2.0 is a loosely defined model for a modernized form of library service that reflects a transition within the library world in the way that services are delivered to users. The focus is on user-centered change and participation in the creation of content and community.  The concept of Library 2.0 borrows from that of Business 2.0 and Web 2.0 and follows some of the same underlying philosophies. This includes online services like the use of OPAC systems and an increased flow of information from the user back to the library. With Library 2.0, library services are constantly updated and reevaluated to best serve library users. Library 2.0 also attempts to harness the library user in the design and implementation of library services by encouraging feedback and participation. Proponents of this concept expect that the Library 2.0 model for service will ultimately replace traditional, one-directional service offerings that have characterized libraries for centuries. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Web 2.0 classes 9 week program 23 Web 2.0 technologies Based on program from PLCMC 20 participants Managed electronically thru blogs and email Certificate for completion
Proactive Support Strategies Reviewing books and creating a book review culture Tracking global trends and technologies impacting the profession Learning and teaching foreign languages Exhibiting various allied areas of interest in the library like forms of art and culture Organizing classical film viewing Career counselling Enhancing new media access Encouraging school children to cultivate the habit of reading Engaging in a social cause and inspiring others to do the same
Basic knowledge of a personal computer Knowledge of file folder structure – how to save and retrieve documents (including how to organize) – how to navigate between folders – knowledge of network folders vs. local folders – how to add a network drive – how to add printers – difference between local printers vs. network printers – knowledge of how to delete items and empty trash – knowledge of different file formats & ability to recognize virus files
Internet knowledge How to search the web – what the internet is vs. what the world wide web is – good searching habits – knowledge of spyware and how it can disable a computer – how to use various browsers including IE, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Netscape and others – what a URL is – what the format of a URL is – knowledge of domain name structure – knowledge about pop-up blockers & how to disable them – idea of what can and cannot be found on the internet – what the notion of precision vs. recall is.
Software knowledge Microsoft Office products and other alternatives, anti-virus software, personal firewall software – ftp – telnet – HTML editors – basic ability to understand your operating system (os) – knowledge of what (os) you have on your computer – knowledge of how to figure out what (os) others have – ability to test & learn new software (librarians are often asked to troubleshoot any program installed on library computers), in depth knowledge of email software – understanding of POP3 vs. imap
Networking knowledge What is the network? – what do you need to put a computer on a network? (network interface card & data cable) – wireless networks – how to connect to wireless on PCs with various operating systems & on a mac – how to determine if internet connectivity problems are network problems, computer problems or web site failures – what is an IP address? - some knowledge of the following concepts: DNS (internal & external), NAT (network address translation), VPN (virtual private network) – what is a proxy server & the basics of how it works
Hardware knowledge Familiarity with your cpu – understanding where your USB/Firewire port is – understanding of into where your mouse, keyboard & monitor & possibly barcode scanner plug- familiarity with laptops, tablets & PDAs – knowledge of mp3 players & iPods – familiarity with printers & how to troubleshoot printing problems – knowledge of thumb drives/flash drives – knowledge of projectors
Other Computer Concepts Ability to troubleshoot basic computer problems – primary computer user is the first line of defense for their own computer – knowledge of how to reboot, soft and hard boots, and when to use them – ability to clearly articulate and define computer problems
Strategies for Keeping Up Visits – with other libraries, similar organizations, get to know latest in field, offer to collaborate or do practicums Volunteer – for projects and committees in or out of the system to gain exposure to a broader perspective Participate – join conversations, listservs, discussion groups or network at conferences to hear new ideas Contribute – share you ideas and energy, don’t look for the reason not to
Support Organizations http://www.nclaonline.org/nclpa/what-nclpa
Library and Information Technology Unique features Supports staff development needs across state and nation Totally distance education, no seated classes Wide variety of degrees and certificates Flexible programs
Para-professional Credentials Library Support Staff Certification Program Competency Sets Required Foundations of Library Services Communication and Teamwork Technology Electives Access Services Adult Readers Advisory Services Cataloguing and Classification Collection Management Reference and Information Services Supervision and Management Youth Services
Staff Development Strategic Planning Organizational culture Needs assessment Training design Development programs Importance of assessment Career management Sustainability
Giving good service Respecting Users Acknowledgement Eye contact Focusing your attention Following the Golden Rule Being a professional Who you represent Supporting your organization
If you enjoy working in a library setting and have an interest in technology, you should consider enrolling in the Library and Information Technology (LIT) program. The LIT program is suitable for persons seeking entry-level employment in either public or private libraries. The curriculum is also ideal for current paraprofessional and professional library employees who seek specialized training in new technologies.
Suggestions Be Nimble Be adaptable Know the values Have a plan Communicate Be visible Be transparent Be positive