Over 2015 Stonnington Libraries developed and rolled out an in-house digital literacy staff training program. The program was created to lead staff in increasing their skills and confidence in the areas of library online resources, mobile technologies and social media. The modules also included information on current library trends, including the move to eGov and the role of public libraries in addressing issues caused by digital isolation. The program originated from Charlotte Aberhart attending the 2014 ALIA conference and the 23 ANZ Mobile Things session. It was recognised that the concepts from this program could be usefully applied to a public library environment, focusing on the daily work experience of the library staff.
The program was delivered in five modules: Tablet Basics, eBooks & eAudiobooks, eReference, Social Media and Online Media. The modules were delivered in Word documents and including readings, hands on exercises and real life work scenarios. Staff had six weeks to complete each module, and in this time were encouraged to share their learning experiences, skills and collaborate.
Over the period of the seven months, digital literacy was the focus of Stonnington Libraries in-house professional development. It was an agenda item on all meetings and there was a culture of shared learning with formal and informal training opportunities. All modules asked for written feedback and this was consistently positive, with recognition that the learning was relevant and assisted staff with their daily work practice. It has increased staff confidence in assisting and promoting library online resources, reflected in an increase of the statistics of online resources.
It is recognised that public libraries have a pivotal role in assisting the community with the increasing shift of services’ online and the emergence of new technologies. The skills and expertise of public library staff in these areas need to be constantly evolving and adapting to meet the community needs. The SOLID program assisted staff with these skills and building their confidence in relevant areas to their work practice. As the online environment is constantly developing, this work is not a stand-alone project, but will be implemented into Stonnington Libraries professional development program to address the future needs of staff in these areas.
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