Teaching Tech to the Public – Follow up from Internet Librarian

This Those of you who were in my Web 2.0 for patrons presentation might remember a woman in the audience mentioning the classes she teaches at her library. I promised to get with her and share the follow up. I emailed her and found out that Liz Hubert is a Adult Services Librarian at the Barrington Area Library in Illinois

This is the information Liz shared with me.

We do not currently have a wiki or a blog for our patrons, the program is entirely face to face and people can take (or choose not to take!) what they wish. Very shortly, we’re going to be putting videos of all of our classes on our webpage. Those will be linked with handouts so that people can watch the class and follow a written description at the same time.
I choose classes to teach based on the popularity of the service or website, how often I have questions about it at the desk, and how useful I think it will be to our patrons.
I take a very basic approach to all of these classes. Unless I’ve noted otherwise, in each session (usually an hour) I help students set up accounts and show them the basics of the service (for example, I show them everything from friends to walls to account settings in Facebook). Here’s a list of classes I’ve taught.

  • Delicious
  • Bloglines (we started out teaching Bloglines but we now teach Google Reader primarily)
  • Flickr (we showcase this one because we have our local history collection on Flickr-more than 15,000 items)
  • Shelfari
  • Internet Safety (buying and selling online, scams, junk mail, etc)
  • Blogs
  • Digital Scrapbooking (we’ve used several services for this)
  • IGoogle
  • Facebook (account creation and basics)
  • Advanced Facebook (account settings and privacy)
  • Craigslist/Freecycle/Etsy
  • LinkedIn
  • Internet Dating (we’re offering this one with a singles mixer in February)
  • Skype/Meebo
  • Wikis
  • Google: Beyond Searching (Images, Maps, Labs, etc)
  • Shutterfly
  • Yelp
  • Web Media (Pandora, Last.fm, Hulu, Boxee, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc)
  • Twitter
  • Business Twitter

These classes have really been a hit at my library. They generally fill up right away and there are often wait lists. I do my best to be as casual as possible when I teach them-I want people to feel comfortable asking questions. I have my email and phone number on my handouts so that people can contact me with questions or refreshers. I’m now also offering open sessions a few times a month so that people can come in and ask questions about anything they’re having trouble with.

She said  they advertise upcoming classes on Twitter, Facebook, in their newsletter, and plasma screens in the library.  Class size is usually 10-12 students at a time, but occasionally as large as 30-40 .

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