T is for Training Challenge Meme

I met a bunch of the T is for Training crew at Computers in Libraries last year through Bobbi Newman. I finally joined the T is for TrainingGoogle Group last summer, but it’s taken me this long to pay attention to the messages. My attention was caught at the right time, apparently, because a Challenge Meme was posted, asking members to post answers to 27 Questions. Here’s my lengthy response, so I won’t mind if you just skim or skip.

  1. Your one sentence Bio: I’m a lifelong Kansan, diehard Kansas Jayhawks basketball fan, mom of two ornery cats, and love to teach people, especially librarians, about technology (particularly free web tools, open source, and social media).
  2. Do you blog? If yes, how did you come up with your blog name? Yes. What a journey to get there. I’ve been an on-again, off-again blogger on since early in 2004, beginning with Xanga in college. I then switched to WordPress.com for awhile. Notice there’s no links to those old blogs. You don’t want to go near them: I was a political science major in undergrad days (get the picture?). Currently, I contribute to NEKLS blogs (my place of work). I jump-started this particular blog again thanks to 23 Things Kansas. The tag line, Librarian in the Cloud: Sharing Info thru the Web…One Web App @ a Time, originated from the Fall of 2008, when Liz Rea, Sharon Moreland and I submitted a presentation proposal to the 2009 KLA/MPLA conference. We needed a snazzy title, and Liz, who’s the awesome NEKLS System Administrator with an uncanny ability to create superb presentation titles on the fly, threw out, “Living in the Cloud: How Using Online Services Can Let You Soar”. The title stuck, the presentation was accepted, and we presented at the 2009 KLA/MPLA Conference to a full room (presentation info post). We had had no idea cloud computing was going to take off in the way that it did last year when we submitted the presentation proposal in the first place. Sharon and I gave an encore presentation at NEKLS Tech Day 2009. Here’s the latest version of the presentation. Also, I’ve been sharing resources through Facebook, Delicious, Twitter, and other Web apps for several years, and my friends always appreciated it. When I started this blog up a year ago, the title “Librarian in the Cloud” seemed like a perfect fit!
  3. What is your professional background? I have a B.A. in political science from Oklahoma Baptist University (a place that will always be near and dear to my heart), as well as a year of political science graduate work. I pursued my MLS from Emporia State University and finished it in December 2008. I started at the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS) in 2007 as the Technology Support Specialist; in 2009 I was promoted to the Technology Librarian.
  4. What training do you do? staff? patrons? types of classes? As NEKLS is one of seven regional library systems in Kansas, we serve as the librarians’ librarians in 14 counties, including public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, and special libraries. Diana Weaver, former NEKLS Technical Services Librarian and current Atchison Library Director came up with that explanation. That means I train our member librarians on all types of technology, including one-on-one Google Apps training, KLOW (My Kansas Library on the Web), NExpress (NEKLS shared catalog for 31 libraries; it runs on the Koha open source ILS), ILL training, and now 23 Things Kansas.
  5. What training do you think is most important to libraries right now? It’s a new area of interest for me, but I think usability training of all kinds needs to be happen. Web interfaces, Catalog interfaces, Signage, Floorplans, Organizational Schemes, Software Applications: all of these could be designed so much better, and knowing how to design through usability standards could eliminate many problems.
  6. Where do you get your training? Mashup of online blogs, websites, discussion boards I find through Google searches, the occasional book, the occasional print article, webinars, and a bit of face-to-face.
  7. How do you keep up? With Technology? To be honest, I don’t. I have liked the TWiT podcast, in months past to get summary of latest tech news, but never remember to watch it. I follow what I can when I can, but there’s never going to be enough time to read/comprehend/understand everything that’s out. But, thanks to the network of friends I’ve built through social media (my PLC/PLN as the educators call it), I’ve realized, if it’s important enough for me to see, several of them will share it themselves or directly send it to me. Finally, not to be cliche, but there are search engines, especially Google. If I hear about something, and need to learn about it, I’ll search for it.
  8. What do you think are the biggest challenges libraries are facing right now? Shrinking budgets and the sheer number of patrons that are surviving because of us. One “tiny” example from Kansas, which has an older population and is still largely rural; that means many still aren’t savvy or even basic computer users and many still have dial-up access as the only Internet option. Libraries are trying to fill the gap.
  9. What are biggest challenges for trainers? I think the way people learn is rapidly changing, and the learning styles are changing as well. Trainers have to constantly be cognizant of this.
  10. What exciting things are you doing training wise? 23 Things Kansas. Just short of 600 official registrations. Enough said. Also, looking forward to co-leading a preconference on Social Media in Libraries at KLA in April with Janelle Mercer of SWKLS.
  11. What do you wish were you doing? I love what I currently do, so I wouldn’t change that. But I do wish I could live in England or Scotland for awhile. I
  12. What would you do with a badger? If the badger was Trufflehunter, I’d hug him and ask him how his character was developed.
  13. What’s your favorite food? Varies. Right now it’s Cutie oranges, honeycrisp apples, and Campbell’s Creamy Tomato Soup.
  14. If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you want to have with you? Not a thing. A person. My mom.
  15. Do you know what happens when a grasshopper kicks all the seeds out of a pickle? What is this, an east coast thing? I don’t think I’m in Kansas anymore (I actually hate that phrase).
  16. Post it notes or the back of your hand? Post-it notes. I have a physical desk full of them, and a digital desk full of them! The hand can’t be digitized yet.
  17. Windows or Mac? Macs. Their coolness, ease of use, innovative design, and better OS aside, if you’ve ever been a PC support person, wouldn’t you want a computer that “just” works and isn’t ever stupid like Windows?
  18. Talk about one training moment you’d like to forget? It was actually at my very first professional presentation, “Tiny Libraries, Tiny Tech, Innovative Services”, at Computers in Libraries last year. During the Q&A time, someone asked an off-the-wall question from left-field, something about dial-up Internet and widget loading time. I completely blanked and froze. Thank goodness for co-presenters Brenda Hough and Jessamyn West, who bailed me out; they are the best, and I was honored to get to present with them. Just wish I could forget the Q&A part of the experience.
  19. What’s your take on handshakes? I like them; they can make a good or bad first impression. Maybe it’s the inner, hidden politician in me.
  20. Global warming: yes or no I’ll be in the minority, but No to global warming; but we do need to take better care of the environment.
  21. How did you get into this line of work? Honestly, right place, at the right time for the past 15+ years. I grew up with technology and from middle school on, was always teaching someone something, including my teachers. When I finally woke up and realized I was supposed to be a librarian, I fell back into technology.
  22. What is the best part of your job? Helping people learn about technology and watching them “get it” is the greatest high. The team of people at NEKLS and the librarians at our libraries come in an extremely close second.
  23. Why should someone else follow in your shoes? Because more people need to get librarians excited about technology; besides, dull my life is not, and doesn’t someone else want to inherit the NEKLS Tech Team LOLcat Cabinet? (will post pic tomorrow).
  24. Sushi or hamburger? Hamburger. Uncooked fish=Bad memories.
  25. LSW or ALA? I think both have their place….
  26. What one person in the world do you want to have lunch with and why? Sarah Palin without the press and the handlers. I want to see what she’s really like, not the Sarah Palin who everyone else thinks they know and understand. Why did Vogue cover her in February 2008 in such a way? I’m withholding any form of opinion until I meet her face-to-face.
  27. What cell phone do you have and why? iPhone. It makes my life SO much easier in too many ways to count. I’ve had one for 2.5 years, and it’s the best device I’ve ever owned. A huge chunk of my life and information is accessible from my pocket. I currently have a 3GS and love to be able to capture my 3-year-old goofball nephew and adorable niece at a moment’s notice.

That covers it. I think.

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