the future of libraries in the digital age
How can we get to Library 2.0 if we still have staff members who don't know Web 1.0?
I held a staff training class this morning for basic web mail. Designed for the beginner user, I'm hoping to catch those employees who have fallen through the 'digital divide' and are not communicating through email. Pew Internet Studies say that 91% of the population that gets on the internet use email...so I'm targeting those staff members who aren't. These are older employees who didn't 'grow up' with computers and who (so far) have successfully avoided learning almost anything about computers. While I can name only one staff member who 'refuses' to learn anything about computers, all of the other staff members to whom I 'suggested' attend have signed up. I'm proud of the ones who came today and successfully sent me an email...and excited that the three more classes I've scheduled are full!
Attendees were required to bring their staff email addresses and passwords as they each had a training computer for practice. We went through the basics: the proper URL of our web mail site, sending, receiving, attachments, setting up folders and filters. Of the five who attended this morning's class, four caught on fairly quickly while one became increasingly frustrated until we figured out that she wasn't typing my email address correctly in the 'to' box. I tried to tell her that we've all been at that starting point, today was just her day to be there. I also let them know that they could come to my office for practice or to ask questions at anytime...
At the end I asked the class members to send me an email 'evaluation' after the training session. "I enjoyed your class and it was very helpful to me. I can do email now! Thank you very much!" I feel like I've helped this person cross that digital divide. Today, email...tommorow - instant messaging with patrons! :)