While at the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Annual Conference last weekend, I saw a lot of speakers who provided just as many great resources. Many of these resources were geared towards helping librarians assist their patrons with computers and technology.
One session that I found particularly valuable was No Fear: Tips for Troubleshooting Technology. During this session, Kieran Hixon provided information about the fabulous website of the same name from the Colorado Virtual Library. This website includes information about conducting a Technology Reference Interview, a concept that will likely become more and more central to the librarian's core duties.
The No Fear website also includes a list of other great useful links. I'm going to include some of them here, and a great idea that Kieran shared was creating a technology ready reference 'shelf' on your reference computer. This way, if a patron has a question about how to use a particular piece of software, how to use email, or even how to type, you have something handy to show them immediately.
Some links included on this website are:
- GCF Learn Free - http://www.gcflearnfree.org
- Teach Parents Tech - http://www.teachparentstech.org
- In Pictures - http://inpics.net
- The Beehive - www.thebeehive.org/digitalbasics
- Common Craft - http://www.commoncraft.com
Another very useful aspect of this site is the Technology Proficiency Checklist. This checklist provides a list of "Recommended proficiencies necessary to engage in the digital world." Not only is this list helpful in developing computer classes for patrons, but it would be a great list for developing a continuing education plan for library staff. If you have a librarian or library worker who does not feel entirely comfortable working with technology, working down this list may be a useful exercise. Not only will this make the worker more comfortable when dealing with technology, it will allow for better service to patrons needing computer help.