CIL 2010 Ninja Style

It’s that time of year again.  The cherry blossoms are out, the boys of summer are playing again and Computers in Libraries comes to Crystal City, VA.  My favorite conference of year and originally I thought I wouldn’t be able to attend.  Last minute I found out I was able to attend.

This is CIL’s 25th anniversary – so what do you get a conference on it’s silver anniversary?  Well, sorry Jane and Rebecca that I didn’t pick you up something but I got myself a gorgeous silver cuff bracelet right before attending.  But I digress.  I love how some things never change – like Lew Rainie of Pew Research Center’s Internet American Life Project was this morning’s keynote speaker.  Another familiar face was Sarah Houghton-Jan, she  along with Amanda Etches-Johnson and John Blyberg presented a great session on Tips for Fast Tech Project Implementation.  They had a hashtag, #CILninjas and encouraged the audience to tweet while the stream was posted live on a screen in the room.  I loved seeing others notes (and to be honest a bit of narcissism too when I saw my tweets up there) which included notes, retweets (fun to see my retweets show up from friends who weren’t attending or who were in another session) and questions for the panel.

Check out the hashtags for some great tips – I know I’ll be taking a lot of their ninja style back with me to work.

My notes that didn’t make it onto Twitter.

Flickr pics from Ninja talk.

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Learning Through Technology

103_0557Learning Solutions Through Technology

Lori Reed and Sarah Houghton-Jan

Will try to blog as best I can but I’m taking video for Lori and also keeping time for her so this maybe a short blog post.

Yep, had no time to type so I’ll post the video to this post after I edit it.

Sarah next.

Love that Sarah admitted she cried a bit. Nice to know that we are all human and when things don’t go the way we hope it hurts a bit. But she moved on.

Verbal agreements are worth nothing-get it in writing.

One person with enough power can kill a valuable project (sadly been on the receiving side of that myself).

Not everyone believes that some staff still need basic skills (yes but they do they really do).

Tech2Know program plan – short web-based blog how-to guides, common craft in plain english type tutorials – one topic a week – present live twice that week – prizes like 23 Things and competencies (pre and post assessment of skills – anonymous).

3 Follow up elements – online disc. forums for each topic (trouble shooting printer, evanced calendar, etc.), Tech Playground Day, Ask The Techies Week – target lingering issue – something you were afraid to ask – you could ask anything .

Core principles – prizes are so important, free or low cost tech swag

Invest in Staff Training – save money, strengthen staff skills, improve customer service, increase efficiency, motivate staff, increase staff retention rate, show commitment to lifelong learning (yeah!)

Benefits of a skills bases approach

equitable expectations for all staff, reveals training needs, accurate job descriptions, helps w/performance evaluations, consistent customer service, helps staff adjust and handle change

Learning should be part of your strategic goals/plan

As you plan – what are your goals, who is managing it, do you have or need to create a skills list, what timeline in mind, what are your resources including funding and staff, what training resources exist and what ones need to be created.

Ensure staff by-in – listen, keep everyone informed, reassure staff that they don’t have to KNOW IT ALL, managers MUST follow project plan, hold brainstorming session or party, fun, rewards, chocolate/food

Harder to get Admin to by-in – purpose statement, measurable deliverable ROI – numbers, performance evaluation – make that process easier they’ll by-in give them a checklist to use w/evaluation, train administrators separately BUT first

Creating Training Program – types/number of trainings, basic topics, Open TO ALL STAFF NO MATTER WHAT – mandatory or voluntary?, budget needs to be on actual staff needs, set goals and rewards

Scheduled Learning – Unscheduled Learning (very powerful) off the cuff stuff, read a blog, over hear a conversation anywhere and use the ideas,

Ongoing Learning – give 15 mins a day to just learn, read an article, study/learn, schedule 1 off desk hour for self-study, encourage conference/lecture attendance (oh yes), share online tutorials, printed materials or demos

WebJunction Learning Webinars, Infopeople Webcasts and more

Add fun to your training, use real world examples, personalize the exercises, highlight tips and tricks, encourage student independence, ask students to dream at the end, be available and accessible


103_0467I wanna be 2.0 Too! Web Services for Underfunded Libraries presented by Sarah Houghton-Jan (Track E101) @ #CIL2009. In these economic times we are all either smaller (downsizing) or underfunded.  So this will be my first attempt at live blogging.

10 Laws using LOLcatz

#1 Talk w/customers (email, IM, VOIP, chat widgets, video chat w/skype, aim, text messaging) no account required, point of service, always have fun with them

chat widgets at null results page – keep the frustration down by offering an option to contact a real person – where do they get the most angry – offer this – email, phone better than nothing at all

text messaging more popular than email

reference services as well as circulation notices via SMS

#2 Interact with Customers

comments on everything, respond like a human being, online book clubs with a mix of staff & customers – conversation, give you their opinions, LibraryThing

Blogs – like Highly Recommended – encourage staff participation – offer template w/tags and categories, welcome feedback/conversation from customers

equal footing – able to talk to them

#3 Be Engaged

Events Calendar with online registration


Google Maps

#3 Be Social

interact on their own term – interact w/young crowd, Club Penguin, Tee Bee Dee,

about change, communication, about sharing – keep doing that or you will lose your fans.

pointer back to your web site or resources

advertising extremely cheap – target your town, zip code whatever

$10 = 5,000 facebook flyers

#4 Use Multimedia

photographs, images, podcasts vidcasts, games – photos make it more popular – stimulates interactions – power of imagery

virtual shelf on the flickr account – notes go back to catalog

Design contest for logo of teen program – voting on it using Flickr – used comments section

Exploit image generators

freeafterrebate web site – 1 for shipping


Offer treatsies

shiny objects, new stuff, hot stuff – ask them what they want, then find them some

Staff Avatars – answer question, fav. movie, color then posted on site – can you recognize the librarian

My Account text messages “sexy”

#7 Exploit the Fee

tinypic, Google, WordPress, bravenet, onestatfree, statcounter, analytics, sites, webmaster central, gimp, polldaddy, colorblender, yousendit, webmonkey, survey mokeny, zoomerang, openphoto, dzone, imageafter, grogrammableweb, stock.xchng, zamzar

Tap into the Google wonderland

#8 Respect Customers

you never know when you’re lunch

expect the best, not the worst

treat customers with respect, regardless of age of which services they use

let them comment – go in after the fact and edit- policy no curse words but don’t over react. kids are users too

#9 Choices

how to contact you

how you communicate with them

how they find things online

what they find online (content & format)

multiple paths to same content – people think in different ways

Mashups = Choices

Library Elf

Library Look up

LibX Toolbar

Good Catalog = Choices



LibraryThing for Libraries


WorldCat Local

#10 Keep Going

try new things, pushing administrators, rejoice in failures (means you are pushing the boundaries)- we learned what they didn’t want but you will also learn what they do want by trying

we work for Admin but also our users