February Update

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d catch you all up on some of my recent projects!

Web Browser Showdown

Last week, I taught my first group class, on the subject of web browsers. Even though I have a lot of experience using various  web browsers, I had to do quite a bit of research to actually teach a class about them. I found myself thinking about staff day and the speakers from Zingerman’s, who taught us about the four stages of learning a skill–“unconscious incompetence,” “conscious incompetence,” “conscious competence,” and “unconscious competence.” Before preparing for the class, I was definitely solidly in the “unconscious competence” stage, but in order to teach others, I needed to get back into the “conscious competence” mindset.

I learned a lot about web browser history and the strengths and weaknesses of different browsers in preparation for the class, but it was hard to predict exactly what the students in the class would be interested in learning. During my presentation, I stopped frequently to answer questions. Many of the questions were relevant and easy for me to answer, but others were more advanced than I was expecting, and some were outside of the realm of web browsers. Overall, it was a great learning experience for me and I enjoyed the process. I’m hoping to teach another class before the end of my internship.

If you’re interested, here is my PowerPoint: Web Browser Showdown

1-on-1 Technology Classes

I have been signed up to teach 1-on-1 tech classes for several months now, but many of the patrons have canceled at the last minute. However, I have finally had the chance to teach a handful of classes, and each has been a unique and valuable experience for me. For the most part, I feel I have been successful in helping with the patrons with their questions. Again, teaching 1-on-1 classes definitely requires me to step from my unconscious competence into conscious competence, which can be tricky, but definitely gets easier with practice.

While most of my 1-on-1 sessions have gone well, I had one experience which was particularly challenging. The patron had difficulty expressing exactly what it was that she needed help with, and it was very tough for me to explain things to her in a way which made sense to her. By the end of the hour, we had gotten through much less than I would have hoped. However, she did not seem disappointed with me, and when I suggested that she could sign up for additional classes to continue instruction, she seemed eager to do so. I will be interested to see if she does come back for more help.

Patron Driven Acquisition

My independent study this semester involves developing a patron driven acquisition (PDA) program for SPL. I have done initial research into what PDA entails and what its benefits are for library patrons and staff. Currently, it is a common purchasing model in many academic libraries, but still fairly new in public libraries. I have been analyzing purchase suggestions and ILL requests from the past year to determine if there are any areas where PDA might be a good fit for SPL. I’m looking forward to seeing where this project goes from here!

Looking to the Future

Even though it’s only mid-February, it feels like the end of the semester is approaching quickly. I’ve really appreciated the career advice I’ve gotten while working here, and I’ve begun really considering what I will be doing when I graduate and the internship is over. This internship has solidified my goal of working in a public library, and even though it can be scary, it’s exciting to think of the opportunities that lie ahead.



2 thoughts on “February Update

  1. Hi Alice, thanks for sharing this update! It’s good to hear you’re getting teaching experience since most library jobs involve public speaking and instruction to some degree. It might be explaining something to colleagues, or teaching a group tech class to patrons, but it will happen one way or another. I’m also really excited to hear what you come up with after exploring PDA for us. I’ve heard good things about the approach CPL has taken in recent years.


  2. Pingback: In Which I Get Sappy | SPL -Dominican Internship

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