Library Training Has Gone Virtual

Our train-the-trainer workshop for teen librarians typically runs a full day with a mixture of skill toy instruction, introduction to our flop-osophy strategies, team building exercises, opportunities for reflection, and small group brainstorming. An interactive day that one attendee once described as, “I appreciate the experience and how active and hands-on the training was for everyone. It's refreshing to not listen to lectures all day and to actually move around and experience things with other colleagues!”

Needless to say, Covid 19 has challenged us to get creative in how we design and deliver our programs. When we recently partnered with the South Carolina State Library to offer a virtual flop workshop for 30 youth services librarians, we set a goal of creating the same playful energy that we have when we teach an in-person workshop. We made a few deliberate choices like sending flop balls prior to the session, limiting the group size even though there was a wait list, and encouraging attendees to participate from a place where they’d be able to have sound and a camera on at some points during the session. 

Things weren’t perfect, but we practice the flop-osophy strategies that we teach. We observed without judgement and played with variables. At one point early on, we hoped to “go around the room” to do introductions, but everyone had different levels of technology capabilities. Some had audio, some could only communicate through chat, and in one case several librarians were calling in on one line. Because we had clarity about our goals for the session, we were able to lessen the pressure on ourselves and change course. Instead of doing verbal introductions, we had people do an initial share through the chat and then later turn on sound during the practice sessions which became very interactive and celebratory. Energy filled the virtual space.

As Rebecca Antill, Youth Services Consultant at South Carolina State Library, described it,  “Dawn and Paul continue to impress with their highly developed sense of fun mixed with mindfulness. This virtual workshop was exactly what my library staff needed! Very timely advice on not taking ourselves too seriously, and remembering that it is okay to fail.”

We look forward to being able to share physical space with people again, but for now enjoy being able to offer these virtual trainings. Last week, we conducted a similar workshop for the Library of Michigan. The teen librarians there gained strategies for themselves and the teens they serve to better respond to the changing world we’re living in today while also gaining a new programming tool they can use this summer. Learn more about our trainings here.