Patience

After working in training for nearly eight years – I tend to hear a lot of “you are so patient” or “how are you so patient?” A bit strange to me, because patience with technology feels natural to me at this point, but I understand that it isn’t the same for everyone.

I’ve been thinking a bit lately (as I often do) about why dealing with technology seems easier for some and not for others. And I am starting to think that working with technology helps, even if it hurts a bit at first. I think the below points are key concepts in building the mental models of adaptability and patience around technology.

It is okay to fail.

There is nothing quite like completing what you think are all of the steps correctly, and having the software or hardware not work. Luckily (most of the time) you haven’t broken anything, and can easily try again.

There is a lot of iteration in working with technology. Try once, adjust, try again. This is like the scientific method you learned in school, control (as many as possible) variables, change one, experiment, re-test.

You fail a lot when working with new tech, and sometimes even with something you are familiar with. Troubleshooting, and improving, is what you spend most of your time doing.

The reward for trying again is perhaps success. There is no reward for stopping at failure.

You don’t always have control over change.

Anyone who has worked with community members accessing their webmail after Yahoo! or Hotmail has made a style change, people feel lost and confused when change to the familiar occurs. And, with many technology changes, we, the users, don’t get to control when or how a change occurs.

If you know that change will happen, you can let yourself learn more naturally – watch trends – “what do website menus usually look like?” “what are common compose menus?” “how might that machine tell me that it is broken?”

Also – change is unavoidable, so rolling with it is less stressful than the alternative.

Coping with frustration quickly helps with productivity.

Whether it is taking a few deep breaths before dealing with a broken widget, or stepping away from a software snafu for a time, you need to take breaks from frustrations. Not indefinitely, abandoning the project, but for a set period of time.

The more frustrated, or angry you are, the less likely you will be able to spot the error that has occurred, and the less likely you are able to be think the problem through.

Learn what ways best work for you when you are frustrated, will help you move forward with technology tasks.

Practice helps beyond the initial task.

The more familiar and practised you get with dealing with webmail – that can also help with desktop mail clients. And the more you troubleshoot excel, the more you will feel comfortable troubleshooting Word problems – as you start to identify what sources are most effective. And the same patience you use when learning your phone / computer is the same that you can apply when approaching a different machine.

 

These tips might also help with issues outside of the technology realm. What works for you?

Some Resources:

#CIL Day 3

Last day of the conference! And I am a bit sad that flight times mean that I’ll miss the last 2 sessions.

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Keynote: Technology & Libraries: Now & Into the Future

Mary Augusta Thomas, the Deputy Director of the Smithsonian Institute Libraries gave this talk. She notes that people are a bit afraid of the future of libraries. There is an increasing amount of information and discovery available to us, and we are needed to help store, parse, and connect. You need to have the history of the institution to use as a tool for planning and it is a key to your community. We should keep our publications. Profiles of staff help make connections to build knowledge, and will help us learn more about ourselves. Our systems should support our goals. Our mission will not change, but the way that that we accomplish our mission will change. We are partners in processes, more than tech and books. Future librarians will highly developed skills to collaborate and cooperate. We need these skills because we need to learn who our users are and what they need. Act of discovery is not tied to local collections. Have descriptions that contain lots of entry points to an object in order to make connections. Reference interview skills are vital. Where we locate ourselves as staff is different because our community is changing how it looks for works. We should want to be better than we are now, to use our skills and technologies to better serve our communities.

They found whale bones on top of a mountain, used 3D scanners to digitize the sites, researchers can now look at the bone scans and even replicate the bones for research.

Designing Spaces for Staff: Innovation & Integrated Services

Sharon Bostick and Bryan Irwin, University libraries. We are a change environment, which needs space change as well. There are lots of challenges. They have a rolling re-org. Staffing and space. Flexible adaptable spaces and people. Need to collaborate. In a lot of places where staff spaces are rigid and tucked away. Are your staff roles relevant? They their space needs change as well as their roles. Staff wanted to be together, with alone space and collaborative space. 3 general categories of spaces, concentration, collaboration/creation, and conversation. These spaces should be fluid and user-centric. What do your service desks say about you? Barrier? Friendly concierge? Don’t forget that patrons need help and don’t care about titles or departments. Have staff embedded in the public staff, have consultative spaces not transactional spaces. Try ideas, but don’t commit to any idea, which can lead to issues. be concerned about the first impressions that you give to patrons. There are solutions where you can re-arrange desks as needed (raised floors for power solutions). The corporate would is a place to look for learning about how people work best, and how space works with that. Change your modes throughout the day, and change those spaces. Create a large plan with an implementation plan. Make incremental progress on that plan. Allows to self-correct and test ideas.Think about library mission not about library staff personalities.

Liz McGettigan , UK Library Design. Need to create mind-shifts and makeovers for changing existing spaces. Make your interior match the changes outside the walls. We have a modesty problem, also publicity and leadership issues. Think about self-service, and mobile accessibility. Pull out the front desks and have staff at open desks. Idea: touchscreen walls for quick transactions and way-finding. Linger, learn, and have neat tech. Have meeting spaces that are both open and private. Have the youth design their own spaces. SOLUS have small spaces that are modern and pre-made. Make sure you are training on technology for the people who don’t otherwise have access to education. Use your imagination and you will succeed.

Transforming Tech Training Services

From NYPL’s TechConnect crew.”One Team, One Goal.” Brandy McNeil and Steven Deolus are the speakers. (won a prize). Glass technology study, 8/10 people need technology skills in their everyday lives. Need to have a blended lerning model. Everyone, everywhere needs some sort of training. Focus on everyday skills, and have a standardized curriculum and management. Also advertise. Started by branding. They have 100 different types of classes. Have virtual training (self-help via google hangouts), one-on-one, online tutorials, series based classes, and use seasoned instructions. 3 minute snippets on YouTube. Created of an advisory council of older staff and audited offerings and successes as well as what didn’t work. Key: get buy-in!! Meet often with key stakeholders, know what is going on with them, and let them know what you are doing. Maintain relationships. Staff need to know various things, all types of tech, a/v expertise, and prefer bi-lingual staff. Have regional managers, have field trainers and lab trainers, and lab assistants (open lab time). Open lab time has to be productive. OpenTank: the department purchase and play with technology, figure out how to use and what it can be used for in training. Monthly train the training sessions. Keep instructors and training up to date on their skills. Award staff for performance. Have quarterly tech meetings for all branches, learn something and work together. Have focus groups for staff and patron groups. Create project teams. Moved away from cubicles, have shared spaces. See your brand in your work-spaces to inspire staff. Have a website just for the program. See what paid organizations look like. Provide skills testing. Focused on adults first, and only now are working with kids and teens. Work with IT in order to tell them why software is important. Offer both Photoshop and Gimp classes. Arrange class to allow for eyes on the computers at all times, and use laptops for bigger classes and collaboration. For equipment, keep it state-of-the-art and includes charging stations. Website includes handouts and tutorials, and survey forms. They do also partner with organizations to offer programs. They have interactive testing. Includes “Are you ready for the next level?” (Yes yes yes!). “What’s your tech profile?” after the test they know what classes would be most useful for them (curious, job seeker). (used Articulate Storyline 2 to make the quiz). Created a workbook for the coding program. Students of the project code program create websites for local small businesses. For marketing did ads on transit and ATM toppers, and TV ads, radio, newspapers, and promotional materials.

 

I had a great time at #CILDC and am thankful that the conference had such a great line-up.

#CILDC Night Panel on Tech

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First a spin through ’80s technology. Lots of nostalgia. Amazing how little some things haven’t changed. But how much better library work is.

Sharing of favourite tools and technologies. More nostalgia.

Sharing of least favourite tools and technologies. Some disagreement.

Then the panel.

Meg B.  From Anchorage. About how we were promised jet packs. A disappointment in what we have achieved. Or possibly a disappointment in our culture.

Jason Griffey, entrepreneur. Disappointment in that libraries don’t create what we use. Moore’s law.

Jan Holmquist,  global librarian. When we talk about technology we should talk about how we got here by making mistakes. Local,  community efforts,  wisdom of the crowd. Tracking things,  and when we are online all the time we need to be offline. Have places to be quiet. We now create together and make things together.

Darlene Fitcher, government librarian. Interactive demo.