Training a new breed of Rural Librarians


Published on

Presentation to the Maryland Library Association/Delaware Library Association, May 2012

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • The griffin is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and often wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Griffins are normally known for guarding treasure. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.
  • Introduction: Branch Manager of Hancock library, before that I was a Program Manager for a systems integrator in the DC area. Majored in Math for my under graduate degree. When not working and going to school, I raise dairy goats and have a small goat milk soap business.
  • How many of you work in rural libraries? Do you remember when you became hooked?I moved to the country from Silver Spring Maryland with my family fifteen years ago, hoping to simplify our lives. I had been working as a program manager for a computer systems integrator inside the DC beltway. Moving to a farm, in the middle of nowhere, my life really changed. I started a goat dairy farm and tried to help my children adjust to the new environment. I noticed an add in the local newspaper- the local library was looking for a new branch manager. I had grown up in Montgomery County-libraries were always a part of my life, I always enjoyed going to the library. It was part-time, fit my schedule and so I applied. It was all new to me, there was lots to learn. At my library it is myself, and two library assistants-all part-time. I’m responsible for all programming. I enjoyed the weekly storytime. One afternoon an elderly gentleman called the library to see if we could find a poem for him he had memorized as a child. He couldn’t remember the name of the poem, but could only remember a few lines. I told him I would see what I could find. I found the poem on, and gave him a call. When he came in, and realized it was the poem, he began to weep. He told me he had been looking for this poem for years… and I was hooked. It isn’t the money, the fame or the prestige of being a rural librarian. It is how we touch people’s lives.
  • After ten years at the library, I started thinking about how I could expand my horizons and started looking into graduate school. My assistant director, Kathleen O’Connell, knew I was looking at schools, and forwarded an announce she had received on a listserv about the ITRL scholarship program.-16 full scholarships--Part-time distance education program leading to an MS in Information Science-full tuition and a laptop Looked very interesting, so I looked at the application. Wow, I thought, I can answer each of the questions! I applied, and am very grateful to be one of the scholarship recipients.
  • Full name of the grant is:Rural Library Professionals as Change Agents in the 21st Century: Integrating Information Technology Competencies in the Southern and Central Appalachian Region. (You can see why it has been shortened to ITRL!)School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee grant from IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian ProgramPurpose is to address lagging information technology literacy in rural librariesITRL students are receiving: Part-time degree in a program accredited by the ALA A structured, individually-tailored IT and rural management curriculum Rural library practices and needs incorporated into the curriculum IT competencies in developing rural library work applications Formal/informal professional mentoring by educators and practitioners Full-tuition scholarship for two years Allowance for materials Provision of a laptop computer
  • There are five phases of the grant. The first phase is recruitment.Recruitment- This is a photo of the students, professors, and some of the mentors at orientation in June 2010.They ended up recruiting paraprofessionals from school libraries, academic libraries, and public libraries. Actually one is from a special library located at the Highlander Center in TN.I am the furthest north (token Yankee I guess)- I actually live in Pa, although I work in MD. There are 9 people from TN, 2 from VA, 1 from GA, 1 from NC, and 2 from KY. We are branch managers, directors, school librarians, information specialists, and education coordinators. We are young and some are “more mature”- or should I say young at heart!I didn’t really expect to connect with the other ITRL students- but it is surprising how close we have become. And the different perspective from each library setting has been really interesting. One of those “the whole is more than the sum of the parts” situations.
  • Needs assessment-The needs assessment phase of the grant was done by the grant investigators, independent of the ITRL Students.The needs assessment took the form of a pilot study based on an online survey of TN libraries and librarians. The questions tried to elicit feedback on key information needs in rural libraries of Southern and Central Appalachia. But it isn’t too surprising that the results are representative of many rural communities throughout the United States. There is another student (who is not in the ITRL program, but is a distance education student) from Kansas whom I swear works in the same library I do!
  • At the Hancock library, I would say that technology access is about equal in importance to the circulation of recreational material, although this is difficult to determine. For those that use the library for internet access, it is a vital resource.
  • The course work was divided into three categories: Core classes required for ALA accreditation, information technology classes and library management classes.
  • Each of the ITRL students had the opportunity to find their own mentor, or were assigned a mentor by the ITRL team. For me, this was the weakest part of the program. My mentor was a reference librarian from a community college in KY. We have really only communicated through a few comments on facebook. However-unbeknownst to her, I adopted Kathleen O’Connell from WCFL and Dr. Mehra from UTK as my mentors, talking to them about projects and sharing ideas with them. That has actually worked out pretty well. They have been very encouraging. I really didn’t know what to expect from school. I anticipated that it would be more work than a normal classroom education because it was online, and it has been a lot of work. But I’ve received a lot of positive feedback which has helped me get through.
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries (QQML) International Conference Limerick, Ireland May 2012Indian Library Association. Bangalore, Karnataka, India February 2012Maryland Library Association , Ocean City, MD May 2012International Federation of Library Associations Puerto Rico August 2011Association for Rural and Small Libraries Raleigh, NC Sept 2012Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Conference Dallas, TX January 2012 ; San Diego, CA January 2011; Boston, MA 2010Tennessee Library Association, Murfreesboro, TN March 2011; Memphis, TN 2010; Nashville, TN 2009
  • At UTK, there are three core classes. Although I don’t think the grant plan intended these courses to be customized to our libraries, they made a difference in my library.Information Environment (510)- overview, issues paper on Patron Privacy in Public Libraries. Story of pedophile at the Hancock library. Presentation of history and current federal and Maryland law to branch staff open discussion, sharing, and preparation for possible library events.Information Representation and Organization (520) MARC, Dublin Core, Library of Congress- weeding confidence. Information Access and Retrieval (530) Better searching skills. Created a Basic Research workshop targeted at high school students. Approach from writing a research paper- evaluating resources, citations, library databases, web searching. Partnered with one of the local high school English teachers who gave his students extra credit for attending. Was very well attended and have taught it each fall for the last two years.
  • For most of you in rural libraries, you probably have a closet that looks something like this. And when the internet goes down, you open the door, shake your head, and close it quickly.As one of the outcomes of my technology classes, I am able to at least identify the components, and understand the connectivity to our main broadband server located in Hagerstown. I was able to review the technology plan and understand the connectivity issues. I now know the capacities of our devices and have an idea how to expand our technology offerings, and I developed a plan to add 10 laptops to our offerings.User needs assessment – looked at the computer needs of my community. Surprising outcomes- the people that use the library computers really have no alternatives. Many still have only dial-up. Used primarily for social applications- facebook.
  • This course covered a lot of material- from open-source library systems, to tools to create screen casts and podcasts.
  • Public Library Management and Services (554)User-centered evaluation of library serviceCommunity profile, library profile, working with patrons to understand their needs. Public computer usage- surprised that library was only high-speed option for most users. Also surprised that they didn’t mind waiting for a computer if they were full. Confirmed additional laptops cost effective way to expand service.Rural Library Management (590)Developed by K.C. Williams- now director of Cayman Islands Public Libraries1.An internal and external profile analysis of a library or library system including a community scan, a community partners profile, library scan, SWOT analysis, service response summary, and ROI profile.2. A funding profile for a library or library system including local, state, and federal government resources as well as community partnership opportunities.3. A comprehensive public relations plan for a library or library system including press kit, marketing trademarks (branding, logo, & tag line), and a community marketing strategy.4. A 12 month action plan for a library or library system based on analysis data for staff development, programs and services, funding opportunities and community relationship building.Developing community partnerships- local historical society, rotaryDeveloped the elevator speech- 6 talking points
  • Now with the next few slides, I’d like to help you develop your 1-minute elevator speech about your library. This was the method KC Williams used with our class- and I wanted to share it with you because I have found it very valuable.
  • Be sure to write down exactly what the person says word for word, not your interpretation. Start with 4 patrons and 4 staff. Even that small sample is eye-opening.
  • How do you want your library to feel? Take a moment, and write down your three words. How do you want them to feel so they will come back?EmpoweredComfortableSafeHappySatisfiedSuccessfulLet’s look at the traditional image vs a social learning center.Traditional image is a quiet, formal space, learning is self directed, technology is separate from other information spacesThe social learning center is where people are talking, sharing information; learning is interactive; technology is interspersed throughout the space.Maybe your library needs to be both?Next, you need to decide if you want to challenge or engage. It is easiest to just pick one. Do you want to challenge your customers with provocative, edgy and stimulating experiences? Or do you want to engage your customers with exciting, thought-provoking experiences.
  • First, who is your competition? Other public libraries nearby? School libraries? The internet? Amazon?What do you do better? Maybe you know already. It doesn’t hurt to just ask your patrons- especially your regulars. In my case, it is our personalized service. We know our patrons. We anticipate their needs. We go our of our way to help them find what they need. How do you enhance your patron’s lives? Enrichment? Education? Relaxation? Social interaction? Think of all the elderly patrons that just talk and talk and talk. For many- we are their only social interaction.If our customers have good experiences in the library, they will keep coming back. It is easy to loose someone with just one bad experience.
  • Community segments: www.claritas.comWhat are the broad values of your community? Hancock is conservative, primarily Christian, small-town (Mayberry-ville). Family oriented. Maybe your community values higher-education or political involvement? Hancock’s market segments include children, teens, adults, retirees and elderly. Our adults are primarily high-school educated. Tying your library “products” (collections, programs, classes, technology) to the community values and market segments is the key to creating value. Here’s an example- half of the people that use the library computers for internet access have no other computer access.
  • Be sure to include funding. People just don’t know who pays for the library. They’ve always had access, so it is just a given. But those times are over, and you need to educate your patrons on funding.
  • I wish that everyone working in a rural library could have the opportunity that I have had to participate in the ITRL program. And even if you aren’t able to attend library school, or customize your education, I think it its possible to become one of the new breed. Don’t leave the technology to others. Understand what you have, what the strategic technology plan is, and think about how it can be improved for your library. Not only must you advocate for your library with the public- you are the spokes person for your library within your organization. Speak up. Remember- knowledge is power! Don’t be afraid to use social networking to reach your community. I found that the Hancock library facebook page was the best way to reach parents about children’s programming. Bug your staff development people to help you stay current with the technology. Mobile devices, tablets, ereaders, can be completely overwhelming- especially for us mature librarians!
  • WCFL- process of building a new facility to open Feb 2013Been able to contribute better Hancock- continue to build community partnershipsTalk of a new facility- town reviewing locationsITRL 2Awaiting IMLS funding, will start 10 students into program hoping to start fall 2012And of course- there is a book proposal!
  • I’d like to leave you with the Youtube video (another homework assignment) I created about the Hancock library using my six talking points. The total budget for this video was zero dollars. At first it bothered me that the camera was shaking and the quality was homemade. But everyone I’ve showed it to has learned something about the library they didn’t know before.
  • The griffin is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and often wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Griffins are normally known for guarding treasure.[1] In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.[2]
  • Training a new breed of Rural Librarians

    2. 2. Agenda•Overview of the ITRL Grant Program•Curriculum and Outcomes•Development of Fast Facts for yourLibrary•Questions and Answers
    3. 3. Information Technology for Rural Librarians (ITRL) Scholarship Program UTK SIS : 16 full scholarships to paraprofessionals working in rural libraries Part-time DE program June 2010-August 2012 MS in Information Science
    4. 4. Information Technology for Rural Librarians (ITRL)Rural Library Professionals as Change Agents in the 21st Century: Integrating Information Technology Competencies in the Southern and Central Appalachian RegionIMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian ProgramTo address lagging IT literacy in rural libraries
    5. 5. ITRL Grant Phases Phase 1: Recruitment Phase 2: Needs Assessment Phase 3: Educational and Training Activities Phase 4: Mentoring Phase 5: Evaluation of Program Outcomes and Dissemination of Results
    6. 6. Phase 1: Recruitment of Students
    7. 7. Phase 2: Needs Assessment of Rural Library Services Quantitative web-based survey Available during Nov 12-19, 2008 Research questions  What are the key information needs of rural communities in the region?  What are the library services provided by rural information professionals in the region? ALISE 2010: Mehra, Black, Singh, & Lee
    8. 8. Phase 2: Needs Assessment of Rural Library Services Most important resources or services % of in region Responses Technology access (internet access; 87% computer access) Recreational material (books, magazines, 62% films, etc.) Youth services/programming (homework 49% help, story hour, etc.) ALISE 2010: Mehra, Black, Singh, & Lee
    9. 9. Phase 3: Educational and Training Activities Distance Education Program – 42 credit hours Library Science Classes IT Classes Library Management Classes
    10. 10. Phase 4: Mentoring
    11. 11. Phase 5: Evaluation of Program Outcomes and Dissemination of Results What is the Value of LIS Education? A Qualitative Analysis of thePerspectives of Rural Librarians in the Southern and Central Appalachia Johnson City Public Library, TN Hancock County Public Library, Sneedville, TN Sevier County Public Library, Sevierville, TNLake City Public Library, TN Bharat Mehra, Kimberly Black, Vandana Singh, Jenna Nolt School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee
    12. 12. ITRL Curriculum Core Information Science Classes  Information Environment  Information Access and Retrieval  Information Representation and Organization
    13. 13. ITRL Curriculum•Hardware and SoftwareConfigurations•Technology planning,assessment, and analysis•Library 2.0 InformationTechnology
    14. 14. InformationTechnology
    15. 15. ITRL CurriculumRural Library Management Service evaluation/assessment Youth and adult services Grant writing and partnership development
    16. 16. Rural Library ManagementUser-centered library services Grant Development Rural Library Management
    17. 17. Developing Fast Facts for Your Library 1. Understand your library’s Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis 2. Understand your community and your competition 3. Define your image and place in the community 4. Map your services to community needs 5. Create your Fast Facts
    18. 18. SWOT Analysis Face to Face Interviews Internal and External Perspective Organize in a SpreadsheetStrengths Weaknesses Opportunities in Threats the future Update regularly
    19. 19. Define Your Library ImageThink of three words to describe how you want your library to make people feel. Traditional vs. Social Learning Space Challenging vs. Engaging
    20. 20. Communicating the Unique Value of Your LibraryWhat does your library do better than your competition?How does your library add value to the lives of your customers?
    21. 21. Communicating the Unique Value of Your Library1. List the broad values of your library community2. List your market segments3. How do the values tie to all your market segments?4. Where do the values cross over to your library “products”?5. Connect them to a statistic or timeframe people can easily understand.
    22. 22. Communicating the Unique Value of Your Library Develop six key talking points for your library Choose talking points that address meeting your User’s Needs/Values Include one point about funding sources
    23. 23. Hancock War Memorial Library Fast FactsThe library provides current materials to entertain, inform, and educate.The library is primarily funded through the State of Maryland and Washington County, augmented by city, town, foundations, grants and our community partnerships.Visiting the library helps prepare your children for success.
    24. 24. Hancock War Memorial Library Fast FactsThe library provides individual service.The library provides internet access to everyone.The library provides users a full service website- with access to the catalog, book recommendations, informational databases, encyclopedias, and more.
    25. 25. Becoming one of the New Breed Information Technology in Rural Libraries Understand what you have, its limitations, and how it can be improved Use technology to help you reach your community  Facebook, Blogs, Library’s website, YouTube Make every attempt to stay current Speak up if something isn’t working for your library
    26. 26. ITRL Looking Forward ITRL 2 Voices of Rural Librarians in Appalachia:Current Realities and Future Possibilities of Information Technology in the 21st Century