TechKnow Rodeo shows patrons the ropes

Using a theme can make technology training more compelling and downright fun!!

In March 2007, the Tuolumne County library in Sonora, CA held a wildly successful "Techknow Rodeo" that introduced the community of 5,000 to the many electronic resources available through the library, and set the stage for future training sessions

"We wanted to make it a fun environment and take away any intimidation," said library director Connie Corcoran.

Staff members dressed in rodeo wear, and instruction sessions and exhibits kept to the Western theme covering a full range of topics including genealogical research, computer basics, using software programs such as Word & Photoshop, searching the library catalog, finding legal information, using electronic databases, etc.

There was something for everyone, from computer-savvy 10-year-olds to long time library users just beginning to use computers. The well-publicized event attracted 200 people, and offered incentives for visiting as many of the stations as possible – attendees received a raffle ticket for each interaction, which made them eligible for a series of prizes including a year of free Internet service and an MP3 player.

Evaluation forms for the event gave a good idea of what the community and provided topics for subsequent monthly training sessions.

Have you tried something similar in your library? If so, let us know about it!!