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March 7, 2011 / Christian M.

Creating Opportunities for Leadership ….or, OMG, this job is so boring, I need to make work to do!

Don’t be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated.
You can’t cross a chasm in two small steps.
– David Loyd George

Recently I read an article about seeking opportunities in the workplace for exhibiting leadership. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I read the article, or who wrote it. But I do remember the author suggesting to volunteer for new projects, or if there no existing options, to create an opportunity. And that is exactly what I plan to do. There are a few different programs that could use improvement. I am choosing the easiest for me to accomplish on my own, because at the moment I have some very lazy complacent co-workers. Also, we are going on six months without a branch manager, so there is no one to enforce encourage their participation.

I have decided I will start teaching group computer classes for adults. Almost a year ago, the then-branch manager requested that we offer one-on-one computer lessons for adults. We don’t advertise much, just offer them when we come across an technology-challenged adult. However, lessons have dropped off (probably due to the fact we are not offering as often), but the computer questions are still coming in. I think it’s a better use of my time, and a more effective form of outreach to teach multiple people at once, especially since I receive the same type of questions over and over.

One of the things I have learned in class and reading, is that librarians need to be able to assess the needs of their community and adjust their services as necessary to remain relevant. So I figure it can’t hurt to give it a try. If there is little interest in a group class, I will move on to something else.

I called the Associate Director who supervises my branch and talked to her about my plans. She is thrilled that I want to do this, and suggested that I talk to a couple of librarians at a nearby branch that are already holding computer classes. She asked me to keep her updated on my progress. I did call the nearby branch, and they actually have a syllabus and other info to share with me. I’m looking forward to doing this.

I would like to offer the first class next month….but we’ll see. I need to finalize my curriculum and decide how often I want to offer the classes and which topic(s) to start with. Class topics will include basic computer skills such as how to use a computer, email, internet searching, online job searching, and maybe basic Microsoft Word.

Another reason I am interested in this project is that teaching/instruction seems to be an important aspect of librarianship these days. I think it would definitely help me out in the future to be able to put on my resume that I organized and taught any type of class.

So for other librarians and library students out there, do you have any suggestions or insights on teaching adult computer classes? What efforts are you making to develop leadership skills?


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