ARSL2014: Digital Literacy for Everyone: Going from Tech Averse to Tech Savvy

Digital Literacy for Everyone: Going from Tech Averse to Tech Savvy
Crystal Schimpf & Kieran Hixon –Kixal Consultants



Why do small libraries need to get on the tech training wagon?
Keiran’s former library had 5 public computers and very few staff. Dollar General built a store on the edge of town, and people needed new business. One afternoon, 100 people came in to fill out the online application because the one at DG broke. There was a sense of overwhelm and panic. He wanted to “partner” with Dollar General and the DG guy said “I don’t want you helping them. If they can’t do this, they won’t be able to work a cash register.” He felt overwhelmed and that he was letting his community down. He wasn’t ok with that. He realized he had kind of “hogged” the technology because he just always “did stuff.” He realized what the digital divide was, and this is his motivation for working on this.

“What is your biggest challenge when it comes to helping your staff and patrons learn new technology?”

  • Getting staff up to speed to helping others with technology
  • Motivation
  • Recognizing there is something they don’t know
  • Vocabulary… terms. Starting at lowest level of knowledge – time consuming
  • Language barriers, anxiety and not being to learn things fast enough


5 Common Challenges
1. Time for Learning
How do we maximize this?
2. Fear of new Technology
We have to admit we don’t know something, and then we have to learn it.
3. Reluctance to Learn
This can also be stubbornness or downright NO!
4. Feeling overwhelmed
There is a lot out there and it’s overwhelming
5. Lack of Training Resources
We might not have an IT person and if we do they only speak “tech” sometimes.

3 Solutions:
1. Learn as a community.
We can learn more together than on our own.
2. Make it Fun.
What can we do to bring fun in?
3. Build a Process Around Learning

  • Parts of the process:
  • Identify Proficiencies / Skills Needed
  • Set goals
  • Identify resources
  • Create a system

All the tools and proficiencies are on their website.

Social Networking: Familiar with social networking tools
Understand privacy issues
Edit Options and Settings
Upload content such as photos and videos

Goal Setting:
It’s hard to be up on all these sites. Going forward is the big key.
Over the next sixth months, I will……. make your goal reasonable!
Chunk down your goals so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Sometimes we ask people to do things and we are pushing their boundaries. Give someone two goals in three months. – community of practice – good for computer security – instant screen sharing with someone – artists put their stuff online and want you to use it with kids. This is great for kids and adult learners to have fun together.

Create a System: One staff member carries the weight and teaches others.
Activity Card Example:
I will learn this new skill…
I will learn this by…
I will use these learning resources…
I will share what I learned by… (people are paired up. Share stuff at a staff meeting, a class is taught to the public)

What’s next:
Share these ideas
Try something new
Develop a process
Make learning fun

Make a Pledge:
They passed out half sheets and asked us what we will at our library.

I also got some cool glasses (pictured above) for participating in the conversation. 


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