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! :)

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Comment by Marianne Lenox on April 12, 2007 at 10:38am
"I sent you an e-mail message last week but I didn't get a response." - Good one, Connie!

Are any of you all doing computer core competencies? I wrote a simple html test and give it at New Employee Orientation...but almost everyone is younger and passes fine. As of yet we don't have computer competencies built in to the staff policies and evaluation process which would require accountability. I'm working on that, WebJunction is about to launch a core comptency course series and I want to look at that and see if it would work for our staff.

As far as the luddites go, I do talk about promotability but there are those older staff members who don't care about that, either. I don't think we'll ever get to the point that we'd fire someone who's been here for forty years who doesn't have basic computer skills, but I guess it's my job to at least get them to try...
Comment by Julieanne Stevens on April 11, 2007 at 7:45pm
Ya'll are doing better than I am; I'm still working on instilling the basic concept that perhaps you should defrag your computer now and then.
Comment by Emily Clasper on April 11, 2007 at 7:08pm
You have read my mind... it's such a challenge to promote new technologies when the staff haven't mastered the old ones yet.

I train library staff in 48 libraries on using their ILS system, and I'm constantly running into folks who don't have the basic computer competencies necessary to learn the things I'm there to teach.

How often do I end up starting an OPAC training session with a lesson in how to use a browser? How often do I have to stop a lesson in how to export your reports to Excel... in order to explain what Excel is? And (the #1 most common one!!) how often do I need to explain to library staff that there are TWO buttons on their mouse, and that the buttons do different things??? (BTW, my one year old figured the mouse thing out himself while playing with my computer... )

Anyway, I guess all we can do is keep trying to bring people up to speed and celebrate any successes we have along the way.
Comment by Connie Crosby on April 11, 2007 at 6:17pm
My parents, who are in their 70s, are both extremes. My mother is a luddite who doesn't even use a channel changer for the TV....she turns the power on and watches the same channel until someone else changes it. But, to her credit, she did learn how to use the microwave because she took a course and learned some cooking tips that are easier with the microwave, such as cooking turnip.

On the other hand, my father was using IRC years ago and stays in touch with his children and our cousins via email. I'm getting him signed on to Twitter so he can see my comings and goings. My mother is really the one who should be using that!

Still, I can't imagine too many people in the workplace who don't use email. We have some hospitality staff who don't have workstations so someone has to make an effort on keeping them in the loop with any office-wide communications. How do you tell those people about staff meetings? Schedule or policy changes? And I can't imagine not taking part in our e-mail bingo fundraisers....

Maybe they need to have someone who they like to hear from say "I sent you an e-mail message last week but I didn't get a response."
Comment by Andrew Pass on April 11, 2007 at 5:55pm
I think the best way to get staff involved in the online community is to make it the most convenient way to do things. For example, I recently heard a story of a school that wanted teachers to submit attendance electronically every period. Originally, they used to have student helpers pick up the attendance. Soon, there was only one faculty member who refused to send the attendance through the email. The principal said that from now on he'd have to bring his attendance down to the office himself instead of having a student run it down. Can you guess what the teacher started to do?
Comment by Marianne Lenox on April 11, 2007 at 1:57pm
You've got a cool mom! :)

Just found this (very relevant!) video: Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home

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