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Thingamabobs and Doodads:Why Tech Support IS Reference Mary Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org http://practicallibrarian.blogspot.com www.slideshare.net/marykelly48
What is a Reference Question? “Information contact which involves the knowledge, use, recommendations, interpretation, or instruction in the use of …information sources” Print, non-print, databases, and catalogs In person, by phone, by fax, by mail, or by email from an adult, a young adult, or a child. -from Public Library Statistics Cooperative for Public Library Data
New Interpretation Librarians must be experts not only on information, but also its packaging and delivery.
The naysayers: “Libraries are not computer support centers!” I am a librarian, NOT a computer troubleshooter.
…but they should becomputer support centers! Relevancy Library mission Marketing Staff development When people choose the library, it says a lot about their expectations.
Public Perception Refusing tech support makes the library look irrelevant and unhelpful. Patrons just need help. Not their responsibility to know what they can ask of whom.
Familiarity and Effort Go a Long Way “…support is about more than just having an answer. It’s having an answer that someone can use. If someone is frustrated and you frustrate them even more by giving short, cryptic, or peripheral answers, and by ignoring his/her emotional state, you’re not really being as supportive as you can” – D. Scott Brandt in How Not to Market Your Tech Support
“But I don’t have time.” Do you have time to do traditional reference? Triage One-on-one appointments Public instruction classes
“But Tech Support/My Boss Won’t Let Me!” Communicate with Tech Support/Boss Giving staff access Giving the public access
What’s in it for the Tech Staff? Contribution to the library’s mission They learn each department’s function Contribute ideas/projects beyond fixing broken stuff Staff learns Tech Department’s point of view
Core Competencies Web Junction: http://www.webjunction.org Competency Index for the Library Field webjunction.org/competencies TechAtlas Staff Skills Survey http://www.webjunction.org/techatlas
Core Competencies Attitude Learning how to put it back on you when patron doesn’t get it Teach without being defensive
Core Competencies PC basics Knowledge of library’s public computer setup Ability to fix small problems quickly Help tech support staff identify bigger issues
Core Competencies Data management Saving and retrieving information on any device that stores data File extensions
Core Competencies Fundamentals of web pages Web browsers Printing - frames Blogs and wikis Plug-ins Displaying languages in various scripts Not displaying images Blaming the web page vs. blaming the library
Core Competencies Internet sources Collection of ready reference sources Online directories and databases Using search engines effectively When to use search engine vs. other internet source Internet as a workaround to other problems
Core Competencies Web 2.0 Social networking Second Life Gaming Chat Streaming audio/video
Tech Training Integrate departments for shared training Create a culture of technology Make technology unavoidable and relevant Define tech competency for each position
The Great Disclaimer Touching people’s stuff Sharing information without “advice” Don’t claim to be expert
Scenario #1 “My laptop won’t connect to the library’s wi-fi network”
Scenario #2 (For the 5th time today, 5 days in a row, from the same patron): “How do I send a file to someone by email?”
Scenario #3 It’s 4:00pm on a weekday. The computers are filled up. The reference desk is hopping. A line is forming. The phone is ringing. A very sweet elderly patron says she doesn’t know anything about “that interweb” but she heard you could get coupons online.
Scenario #4 “I’ve got a stack of 300 old photos. How can I scan them …and what do I do with them once they are scanned?”
Scenario #5 (Bonus Slide!) “I am supposed to help interview and hire a technology staff person. How do I hire a person that will do the job or be able to work with us when I am not a techie?”
Tech Training Tips Make tutorials or podcasts Wink, Cam Studio, ReadtheWords.com Assign Tech Buddies
Resources for Tech Training YouTube.com TeacherTube.com VideoJug.com 5min.com eHow.com Videos Instructables.com Tutorialized.com InPics.net MakeUseOf.com
Resources for Tech Training TechSoup for Libraries http://www.techsoupforlibraries.org/ “Cookbooks” on subjects like: Planning and Decision Making Communication and Partnerships Buying and Deploying Technology Maintaining and Sustaining Technology Networking and Security Innovation
Resources for Tech Training http://www.webjunction.org Learn about: Technology planning Performing computer inventories Surveys for determining technology needs Providing tech support Buying technology Emerging technology Security
Resources for Tech Training http://www.libsuccess.org Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki Access Implementing Tech in the Library Information Sharing and Education
In Conclusion Embrace technology Train reference staff to support technology Be open minded: librarianship is changing Criteria for library relevancy has also changed Tech support IS reference.
Contact Information Mary Kelly email@example.com http://practicallibrarian.blogspot.com www.slideshare.com/marykelly48 http://awfullibrarybooks.info