Web Literacy Skills for Library Staff

Web Literacy Train-the-Trainer Workshop for Libraries

On August 25, a Mozilla Leadership Network team facilitated a web literacy leaders workshop hosted at the Cleveland Public Library as part of the Web Literacy Skills for Library Staff project funded by Institute of Museum and Library Services. Nearly 60 library staff from the seven pilot sites participated in the training with the goal of remixing the web literacy training and curriculum for use with library staff within their own library systems. This was another example of how the Mozilla Foundation is helping to grow more web literacy leaders who can support the internet as an open and public resource.

This blogpost provides an overview of the day, reflections and lessons learned, and preview of next steps for project.

Agenda for the Day

The day began with a warm welcome from Felton Thomas, Cleveland Public Library’s Director, and 2016–2017 President of the Public Library Association (PLA).

The agenda for the day was designed to combine both analog and virtual activities in accordance with Mozilla’s learning model: learner-centered, project-based, and open-sourced. Our model emphasizes the importance of interactions and face-to-face activities to enhance the understanding of the web as a human platform.

Information gleaned from interviews by University of Washington, TASCHA and working with key staff from the pilots helped us to better understand the audience and customize the training activities. Reflection and share-out time built in after activities provided the opportunity for participants to discuss how they would adapt the curriculum for their intended audience. For example, Tag Tag Revolution turned out to be a great train-the-trainer learning experience by providing insight into how important curriculum sequencing can be.

Adapting Curriculum and Training

Participants spent time in their pilot sites brainstorming adapting materials for local use and planning for their pilot programs. For example, NY Central Resource Council, which will train rural library staff in New York state, decided to break their one-day trainings into three — Read skills, Write skills, and Participate skills — to provide better access to rural library staff who might not be able to get away for a whole day. Others shared examples of ways they would draw from primary source materials familiar to library staff as they remix and revise activities. The share-out was a rich conversation that allowed pilot sites to collaborate and build on each other’s ideas as a starting place.

Specific next steps:

Anythink Libraries (Colorado) will figure out how to remix activities so that they can be completed by their staff asynchronously, and is also looking forward to incorporating activities into their annual tech fest.

Central New York Library Council (Upstate New York) will scale down and remix training activities so they are appropriate for smaller rural libraries with 3 to 5 staff on average as well as tailored to the needs of rural communities.

Cleveland Public Library (Ohio) will be adapt and remix curriculum to train a core group of ambassador staff members with a range of skill and mobility levels. These ambassador staffers will be a resources to other staff who will eventually be trained as well.

METRO NY (New York City) will conduct its centralized training as well as an opt-in training for Westchester County libraries. in October. They will leverage their active special interest groups system to set up a new special interest group to sustain this work beyond the current pilot.

Multnomah County Library (Oregon) will break its six trainers into cohorts to train specific audiences on specific skills. They will adapt and remix training for ESL patrons and patrons who speak other languages.

Providence Public Library (Rhode Island) will extend an invitation to the circulation staff of RI libraries to learn more about how they would be interested in engaging with web literacy training. They will create a teen time lab that will run in cycles after school, and incorporate web literacy curriculum into adult computer classes

Toledo-Lucas County Public Library (Ohio) will adopt a tiered approach to training their staff and incorporate the idea of having a head teacher and table wranglers.

Reflection and Takeaways

During the workshop the facilitators collected informal and formal feedback using different channels: online surveys, group verbalizations and individual conversations.

Receiving comments is provides us with information on how to improve the curriculum and experience for others, but also what kinds of follow-up support is needed for helping pilot sites adapt materials.

In debriefing on the event, we found several takeaways that will help us continue to deliver large-scale trainings for future web literacy leaders. For example, we’re always improving the balance of hands-on and technical activities in our workshops by testing new activities and iterating old ones. Our participants’ feedback has been key in improving this work.

Examples of comments received from post-workshop survey:

Most valuable parts of workshop:

  • Practicing with the tools, collaborating with colleagues/learning from group, and focused time to think about how the training will manifest
  • Collaborating with my fellow librarians as to how we can bring this to our district, having a concrete list of Literacy skills to touch on, and having a set of activities that link together those literacy skills.
  • Practicing, playing, having on-hand help
  • Seeing the activities in motion and how they’re taught, getting feedback from others
  • Hands on coding practice, interactive exercises, basics of internet

Additional resources needed to feel comfortable teaching the web literacy skills:

  • A lot more practice with the current resources
  • More scripts and language to use, maybe even videos
  • More curriculum content
  • Facilitation training, or at least some practice running the exercises
  • Continued collaboration with the others in this group
  • Learning from other libraries how their staff took to the trainings
  • More time on how to “read” and “participate” with web on your map. Those areas have greater practical applications to the people we work with, and therefore to the rest of our library staff.
  • Nice mixture of interactive activities but more time needed for online teaching and training.

Takeaways for follow-up and improvement

  • More examples of activities for adult learners
  • Conduct workshop over two day period and more breaks
  • More focused time for participants to think through questions, application, and contextualization
  • More opportunity to discuss and practice facilitation