PALS: Tech Support is Reference!

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  • 1. Thingamabobs and Doodads:Why Tech Support IS Reference
    Mary Kelly
  • 2. 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
  • 3. New Interpretation
    Librarians must be experts not only on information, but also its packaging and delivery.
  • 4. The naysayers: “Libraries are not computer support centers!”
    I am a librarian, NOT a computer troubleshooter.
  • 5. …but they should becomputer support centers!
    Library mission
    Staff development
    When people choose the library, it says a lot about their expectations.
  • 6. 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.
  • 7. 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
  • 8. “But I don’t have time.”
    Do you have time to do traditional reference?
    One-on-one appointments
    Public instruction classes
  • 9. “But Tech Support/My Boss Won’t Let Me!”
    Communicate with Tech Support/Boss
    Giving staff access
    Giving the public access
  • 10. 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
  • 11. Core Competencies
    Web Junction:
    Competency Index for the Library Field
    TechAtlas Staff Skills Survey
  • 12. Core Competencies
    Learning how to put it back on you when patron doesn’t get it
    Teach without being defensive
  • 13. Core Competencies
    PC basics
    Knowledge of library’s public computer setup
    Ability to fix small problems quickly
    Help tech support staff identify bigger issues
  • 14. Core Competencies
    Data management
    Saving and retrieving information on any device that stores data
    File extensions
  • 15. Core Competencies
    Fundamentals of web pages
    Web browsers
    Printing - frames
    Blogs and wikis
    Displaying languages in various scripts
    Not displaying images
    Blaming the web page vs. blaming the library
  • 16. 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
  • 17. Core Competencies
    Web 2.0
    Social networking
    Second Life
    Streaming audio/video
  • 18. Core Competencies
    • ILS
    • 19. Awareness of functions outside of department
    • 20. Fine limit reached = Can’t place hold
    • 21. Hold placed at reference: ready for pickup at circ?
    • 22. Cataloged as reference = no check-out or holds
    • 23. Cataloged as serial = find current item at reference
    • 24. Are all parts accounted for at check-in/check-out?
    • 25. Have all parts been requested?
  • Tech Training
    Integrate departments for shared training
    Create a culture of technology
    Make technology unavoidable and relevant
    Define tech competency for each position
  • 26. The Great Disclaimer
    Touching people’s stuff
    Sharing information without “advice”
    Don’t claim to be expert
  • 27. Scenario #1
    “My laptop won’t connect to the library’s wi-fi network”
  • 28. 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?”
  • 29. 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.
  • 30. 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?”
  • 31. 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?”
  • 32. Tech Training Tips
    Make tutorials or podcasts
    Wink, Cam Studio,
    Assign Tech Buddies
  • 33. Resources for Tech Training Videos
  • 34. Resources for Tech Training
    TechSoup for Libraries
    “Cookbooks” on subjects like:
    Planning and Decision Making
    Communication and Partnerships
    Buying and Deploying Technology
    Maintaining and Sustaining Technology
    Networking and Security
  • 35. Resources for Tech Training
    Learn about:
    Technology planning
    Performing computer inventories
    Surveys for determining technology needs
    Providing tech support
    Buying technology
    Emerging technology
  • 36. Resources for Tech Training
    Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
    Implementing Tech in the Library
    Information Sharing and Education
  • 37. 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.
  • 38. Contact Information
    Mary Kelly