There's Always Something New to Say
by Kathy Dempsey
So here we are again, talking
about training. Yeah, we've covered this theme before, and I'm sure we'll cover
it again. Training is one of those topics that we call "evergreen." Doesn't
matter how much you talk about it, there's always new stuff to say. And I can
promise you, in this issue we discuss the theme in ways we never have before.
For instance, last time we had the training theme (February 1999) the acronym
TILT probably didn't mean much to you. But now most everybody has heard of
the Texas Information Literacy Tutorial as it's swept the country. Author Gary
Roberts has found a fairly simple way to adjust the tutorial for his college's
needs and simplify implementation, and he tells you how you can do it too,
starting on page 10.
In these budget-conscious days (which, let's face it, has been every day
for most libraries), everyone's learned that sending a representative to a
train-the-trainer session is a good thing. You only have to pay for one person
to attend the event, then he or she comes back to train everyone else. But
what if you're the one preparing to train the trainers? What's the best way
to do it? How can you make sure your class will be memorable? Just ask Stephanie
Gerdingor better yet, just turn to page 14 and see what she has to say
on the subject.
And now for something totally different: Why is technology training so cumbersome
to plan and carry out? Why does it take so much time and energy? And if so
many people are doing it, why are most of them creating their own sessions?
A very experienced trainer from The Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation has been asking herself these questions, and has
formed a hypothesis that there is indeed a better wayand that the answer's
been right in front of us for years. Curious? Check page 18 to see her idea.
What most of us really want, though, is to be able to teach an underling
to do some of our more tedious work so we can dig into the juicier stuff ourselves.
(C'mon, admit it!) Well, meet two academic librarians who've done just that.
In fact, some of you might think they've done the impossible: They've taught
students to catalog for them. Now, admittedly, they're M.L.S. grad students,
and they have the aid of technology and good mentors, but still, they are cataloging
electronic resources. Head to page 22 to see the steps these authors took in
order to train nonlibrarians how to catalog items.
So I think you'll agree that we've found some fresh approaches to this evergreen
subject. Some will save you money, although you probably wish you could talk
your bosses into putting more money into your training budget. For help on
that side of the coin, you'll have to wait for next month's issue, where the
theme will be Proving Your Relevance.
Kathleen L. Dempsey is the Editor
of Computers in Libraries. Her email address