Thursday, August 30, 2007

Training Opportunities for Staff

Communication takes time

Some standard techniques to keep staff informed are what some people call "management by walking around", talking to staff regularly, having input meetings, and providing constant updates via email or other notes so that staff are aware of what is going on at all times. Especially in times of rapid change or during major projects, staff information and input is critical.

Making training available

After taking the TechAtlas assessment, it said that I should provide training opportunities in a central location and in a way it is easily accessible. Sounds simple.

This isn't an easy task. A library that is open seven days a week and extremely busy requires constant attention. Staff members do not always have the time to check their email or go to a website to check for information. I was able to get their workstations upgraded to Windows XP (brand new Dells). This took longer than expected. It was frustrating that I was able to upgrade all of the library public access computers a year ago and then see the old clunkers library staff had to use. It was impossible before now to have them look at a google calendar of events or look online at anything that required flash or java. Now they can. Now they can check the training opportunities available on Webjunction, AGTS, Amigos, and Arizona State Library Archives and Public Library Records events. The next problem was obvious, how will they check each website to see what programs are available. A time crunch factor.

Combining it all together

RSS Feeds are a wonderful thing. Calendars that can be downloaded and imported are even better. Amigos had RSS and email for its newest programs, and the state library provides updates to classes, as well as webjunction. It is just hard to keep track of everything. To make one clean interface, I took all the program dates and times and put them in a google calendar so that everyone could see the programs all at once. Then I provided a link to the training website of origin. I set up a blog that will send reminders of training out. The google calendar sends a reminder to the staff gmail account, which is then filtered to post to the intranet blog. Staff then can sign up to get updates via email through feedburner on the website since that is what they are most comfortable right now.

I took it even further by printing out the calendars from now until December, with the Agendas printed alongside. The hope is that staff will see the training and know that they can just write their name on programs that they are interested in, and I would sign them up and take care of the details. They were informed of the following:

They can take whatever training they wanted
It would be considered work time (paid to go)
Training would be paid for
They can take time away from the desk to do this
I would set everything up so that they would just need to show up (for instance, an online class)

Getting Ready

We plan to have staff training starting in mid-September to train library staff on deficiencies found during the techatlas survey. Once everyone is comfortable, new duties will be assigned according to interest. If things really go well, then we will being learning 2.0 starting in January. I already have people signed up. The staff are very dedicated to their jobs. There was reluctance to sign up because of this. Many of them did not want to fall behind on their work, but after much encouragement, I have half of the staff signed up. I am very exciting that this is working. It took about a week to track down all the times and put them in the calendar. It is well worth it.

Our site

This is the address of the calendar:

The programs on the calendar will include the following agencies:

Arizona State Library Archives and Public Records Events


Amigos Library Services


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