Are You Ready to Roll?: Expected Technology Competencies and the Library Worker

Presentation at the 2009 Michigan Library Association Annual Conference, November 4, 2009

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John Burke, Miami University Middletown

As the world around libraries continues to grow in technological complexity, libraries continue to find new applications for existing and new technologies. Library workers face an ever-increasing array of devices, software and techniques to learn along a spectrum leading from familiarity to comfort to mastery. It can be difficult for any librarian or library staff member, let alone a library organization, to have clarity on what technology competencies are commonly expected, or where on the spectrum of competency one falls. Each library must decide which competencies are fitting and reasonable for its own workers to possess, but it can be helpful to see what expectations are widely held. Even once that clarity is gained, the strategy to gain greater comfort and ability with technologies may not be obvious. There are many possibilities of internal and external educational efforts to apply to technology training.

This presentation will address these needs by (1) identifying commonly expected technology competencies in academic, public, school, and special libraries; (2) providing an assessment mechanism for participants to test their technology capabilities; (3) exploring strategies for individual and group learning experiences to build participants' skill sets; and (4) suggesting means for staying aware of technology developments and intuiting the new skills they may require. Presenter John J. Burke will share the results of a recent 1,800 respondent survey on library technology skill expectations along with his research on technology competencies and his experience in technology training as an educator and a library administrator.