Thursday, November 13, 2008

Learning about Technology while working in a Library

Thing 1:

Discovery has never been so much fun.

Okay, linking discovery and learning to help library patrons and customers internal and external. This is an easy one. Our patrons/customers are becoming more and more tech savvy. Many of them can help themselves and learn the new technology on their own. But, do we have to provide that technology in our libraries. How do we know what to provide? Can we as library workers use the technology ourselves so that we can help our customers who are not tech savvy?

We find out or learn what technology is needed in many ways: talking to our patrons, reading professional journals, attending training courses, and going out on the web and looking around for it. I think we all know that Google is not just a noun. I google frequently to find things. So what if it isn’t a scholarly source, it does find scholarly papers that have been web-published. It finds vendors that want to sell you the technology you are looking for. Sometimes you even find freeware. We as librarians are in the business of evaluating resources to see if they are valid or not, we just use that evaluation skill to determine which sites are giving us the good information. I find Wikipedia to be an excellent source for answering many quick questions like what is (insert name of computer program you need information about here). For example go to wikipedia and type CAD in the search box. The main entry is about Computer Aided Design, but there is a disambiguation page on Cad that fits my introduction to the word (many many years ago): Cad (character), a man who seduces a young woman, often to her social or financial ruin. (My mom used it in reference to Ashley Wilkes and his dishonesty in dealing with Scarlett.)

I could go on and on about how we need to continue to learn and discover new things to help our patrons and co-workers but really I think it has all been said before and much better than I said it in the previous paragraph. I think the only thing left I want to mention here is, is this fun? Well, for me it is. Especially when I am not on a deadline, deadlines always take the fun out of things, don’t they?

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