Prep Workflow For Library Tech Classes

It’s a real pleasure to be part of this new blog for “techie” librarians! It’s like having a new library space that’s just waiting to be filled with new books. I look forward to the exchange of ideas that this venue will afford us, and I can’t wait to read about (and also share) tips and tricks, best practices, successes as well as challenges, that we all face as “techie” librarians in our respective libraries!

For my first post to this blog, I thought that I’d share how I prepare for the weekly tech classes that I teach here at the Hooksett Library, and what tools I use as part of the process. The subject matter for the classes comes from various sources, including patron feedback about what they’re specifically interested in knowing more about, common tech support issues with patrons, the latest developments in the tech world, be it new releases of operating systems or common threads of discussion.

In collaboration with senior staff, I map out the next couple of months’ worth of tech classes. Once the schedule is mapped on the calendar (and added as events on our website), the topics are now by default on my radar, as I continue my daily routine of reviewing my tech sources. These sources encompass tech blogs, social media with tech-related themes, and major news sites, to name a few. Over the years, I’ve subscribed to numerous tech blogs, and I use Feedly to aggregate and follow them daily. I also use Facebook and Twitter  with customized news feeds to follow tech-related news of interest. Both social media platforms offer ways to save links for later consumption, but I also prefer to use a really cool bookmarking tool, called Stash. It’s only in limited beta testing right now, but I managed to get in on the action by joining their wait-list. Stash is the brain-child of a couple of Cornell University students and uses artificial intelligence to organize the links that you bookmark with it. I also use IFTTT to send anything that I’ve “stashed” with Stash, to send to my Twitter account, so that I’ll have a backup of the articles that I’ve “stashed,” just in case Stash doesn’t work out as a going concern.

Next in the preparation process is the medium that I use to create the class materials. I use Google Slides to accomplish this, and on occasion I’ve also used Sway from Microsoft. Google Slides is the usual go-to resources, since it’s an integral part of our Google Domain, affording the ease of collaboration and lots of useful features, not the least of which is the ability to share via embedding or PDF. For image content on the slides I often use Pixabay, among others, and if I have to edit the images, my standby app of choice is Paint.net. Once created in prep for a given class, I upload a PDF version of the slides on a page on our website, and as many of you already know, in the interest of sharing resources, I share them with you (my professional colleagues in the field) on our NHLA-ITS listserv. ~Mark 😀

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