Winter brush up: make the most of your “break”

Anna Francesca Garcia talks winter break, technology, and personal development in this week’s feature post.

Coding.  Digital storytelling.  Apps.  Let’s face it.  Marion the Librarian would be as confused by us as by the shenanigans of Harold Hill.  (If you don’t get that reference, check out a copy of The Music Man DVD from your local library).

We bring more than books to the table, and the technology involved is ever-shifting.  A recent coding training caused my head to spin.  I am glad that I went, though.  It gives me a sense of what is happening and who experts in the area are. I will never be one of those people, but having a basic common vocabulary will facilitate our partnership.  The workshop also increased my respect for the people, including many of our teens, who excel at coding.

I have been improving my skills with crafting a story and then adding photographic and music components using Movie Maker software.  Making a story? That I know.  Embellishing it for the digital realm?  That’s new to me.  The next stop on this learning curve is the iMovie method of doing the same thing for iOS systems.

I co-presented at the Mid-America Library Alliance’s Youth Services workshop last year.  A couple of my colleagues and I showed other librarians some apps that build early literacy skills.  My focus was those that were free and accessible on Android.

Some ways to learn what we need to know as libraries evolve:

  1. Pursue continuing education
    1. Workshops
    2. Webinars
    3. Learn from mentors
    4. Read professional articles and system ratings
    5. Tinker and play with new technologies

Outreach is rife for opportunities using these skills.  For example, some schools here have bought iPads for all of their students using grant funds.  They don’t know what to do with them.  We can help them close the digital divide.  We can bring books about coding to community centers.  We can connect older people with younger ones to tell stories in digital realms which will bring history to life.  We can take our catalog and databases to people in any part of our service area using apps for mobile devices.

Librarianship doesn’t require recertification.  At least not officially.  To serve patrons well, though, we have to pass muster on what would be required to gain recertification.  We need to connect people with the information they need, in books and in other media, as well.  For those who serve schools, what better time than the lull of winter break to buff up our knowledge of versatile ways to access information?

With book and educator site 2013Anna Francesca Garcia earned her Master of Library and Information Sciences Degree from the University of North Texas and has worked for nine years in public libraries in Nevada and Missouri. Currently, Anna Francesca is the Education Librarian for the Kansas City Public Library.  She knows more things now about librarianship, technology, and information sources than she did nine years ago.  However, she hopes that her current expertise pales in comparison to what she will bring to the table nine years from now.  If she can keep up with her daughter, who will then be 15, she believes that she will be okay.



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