Thing 22: Developing a 23 Things for My Library

Well, actually we’ve already done that, and some of the evidence of it is on other pages in this blog.  I originally set up this blog to draft the information for our own version of 23 Things – which we dubbed DSL, an abbreviation for Discover Support Learn and for our library’s name.  I posted my drafts here for other members of our library’s Technology Task Force to review and comment on before making the posts in our staff blog.

We did things a bit differently from most 23 Things programs.  We decided to just do a few things (blogs, photo sharing, and online image generators) in the fall semester and then a few more (tagging/Delicious/LibraryThing, photo editing, and podcasts/video/YouTube) in the spring semester. The program was completely optional, but we did offer incentives each semester.  They were a surprise since we didn’t know how many people would complete the program and how much the incentives would cost, but we gave out large flash drives in the fall to finishers and an MP3 player to spring finishers.

Out of the then-30 full-timers on staff (five at a remote location that as of this September will be a separate university), all but seven started the fall program, and 21 completed it.  Spring participation was down; I believe because we tried to cram too many activities into the time period.  However, all 12 staff members who attempted the program completed it in the spring

A BIG difference between our program and the typical 23 Things program was that we did NOT require members to set up individual blogs.  We have a number of staff members who weren’t real keen about setting up yet another user name and password, and Blogger allows comments either anonymously or by an entered name.  We made setting up a blog an optional activity under blogging, and instead measured progress by asking people to comment on specific things under the relevant instruction DSL post. If  there was something (such as a creation from an online image generator) that needed to be posted, staff had the option (if they didn’t put it in their own blog and provide a link in the comments) to post it in a sandbox wiki that I also set up.  We kept track of everyone’s progress in our staff wiki.

In my opinion, one of the biggest advantages to doing it this way was more interaction between staff; you could easily see what others on staff were doing.  One of my frustrations in North Texas 23 was having to click on individual blogs in the huge list of supposed-participants, only to find that more than half of them did not get past setting up the blog, and half of those that remained did not do anything beyond Flickr mashups.  For those that did complete the program, you often had to wade through a lot of stuff to get to the post on the activity you wanted, depending on how they had their blogs set up.

Another big difference is that we offered a number of Friday two-hour open labs in our instruction classroom, where one or more of us from the Tech Task Force was available to help other staff members with the activities.  We set up every one of the six activities so that all you had to do to get credit for participating was make a relevant comment on the associated blog post, but many staffers wanted to do the optional, more advanced activities (such as set up blogs, Flickr accounts, etc.).  We offered eight such labs in the fall (although only five were attended) and three in the spring.  Tech Task Force members were also available to help other staff one-on-one.  I think a program like this is hard to do completely on your own, particularly with some of our less tech-savvy staff members.

I’m not sure yet what we will be doing in the Fall 2009 semester.  Next Wednesday, August 19, we’ll be showing off the things people did in the Spring 2009 program at our monthly staff training session.  We’re going to get some feedback on what, if anything, people might like to repeat or go more into depth on, or what other 2.0 tools they might want to learn about.  There are a lot of great 23 Things -like programs out there to use for additional ideas:


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