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System Director’s Report:

(Interim) System Director’s Report

February 2006


Annual Reports

The SCLS Annual Report for 2005 has been completed and was passed off to Heidi to copy for your packets. In the SCLS tradition, I will deliver it in person tomorrow to the Division for Libraries, Technology and Community Learning, along with copies of all the completed reports from SCLS member libraries. It’s a big job for everyone, and it feels good to have it finished until next year.

More on Milestones

Reflecting last month about the 10 years since Adams, Portage and Wood counties joined SCLS started me thinking about another change from that time. Adding the three counties increased the budget enough for SCLS to hire, for the first time, a full-time coordinator for our continuing education (CE) program. Prior to that time, it was just one part of the Public Library Consultants’ job description.

With a full-time Continuing Education Coordinator, SCLS expanded from traditional half or full-day workshops to a wider variety of training opportunities. Videoconference equipment was installed so libraries could attend workshops from Madison or Stevens Point. For hands-on technical training, a computer lab was installed in our administrative offices and then augmented with a mobile, wireless training lab. SCLS began to subscribe to a series of programs from the College of DuPage in Illinois. These were first broadcast to a few sites in the SCLS area, then to seven, and now they can be delivered right to the desktop, too. And to meet the individual computer skill needs of our members, currently more than 30 library staff are enrolled in a year’s worth of online, self-paced instruction in computer applications through WebJunction, an online learning community for library staff.

Ten years ago workshops were announced with paper flyers that included a registration form on the bottom. CE events now are posted on our web pages and announced via email lists or blogs, and starting today we’ve begun to use a second-generation online registration system. A few years ago the SCLS Automation staff started to use the UW-Madison’s WisLine service to deliver LINK training to library staff right in their libraries. Using a computer and a phone, staff at member libraries still “attend” the regular workshops without the time and cost of travel. And in 2006, a new series of lunchtime at-your-office programs called “Brain Snacks” are also being offered through WisLine.

At the same time, our staff is beginning to investigate a new, cheaper alternative to WisLine called OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries). By joining the OPAL consortium, SCLS will begin to use voice over IP and text chat to communicate during live distance-learning opportunities. As with WisLine, classes will be delivered to our member libraries, but without the long-distance phone connections, and so at a fraction of the cost.

At the other end of the technology spectrum, SCLS is now taking registrations for a six-week, face-to-face Spanish language course. Three-hour group sessions will be customized to meet the needs of library staff for basic language skills they need to assist Spanish-speaking patrons.

That’s a very quick overview of one of our program areas. It’s easy to predict that the need for staff training in our member libraries will continue to expand. Envisioning the variety of topics and delivery methods we will be using to address those needs in 10 years is a little more difficult.

See you on the 13th!


 


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