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Tips for the care & feeding of the reluctant tech user

During our first program on digital literacy at ALA’s 2012 Annual Conference we heard from the audience that learning new tech tools, deciding which ones were worthwhile and which to cast aside can be overwhelming.  ‘There’s not enough time’ and ‘I can’t figure it out’ were two statements attendees shared with us repeatedly.  Gwyneth Jones, The Daring Librarian proposes taking “baby steps” to try new things which can help a reluctant user to put things into perspective.  Making house calls is a perfect way to support someone trying something out for the first time.  Knowing support is around the corner can go a long way to boosting confidence.

Hold ongoing  Tech Tuesdays, Espresso Tech 10 (a fast-paced, coffee friendly 10 min tip session) or a Tech-Fueled Drive By:  where you teach one tip in 2-3 min, show how it works, and then for the rest of the time let them try it and play with it themselves.  Teachable Moments are made of Win! When a teacher really needs to know, seize the opportunity to jump in with ‘let me show you how to…’ followed immediately by ‘you will so be good at this!’ Keep it short and sweet! Teachers, staff, and admin will respond better when you show them one tip at a time instead of everything you might know about technology. Follow up either situation with a short email with links to more information, examples, a comic, and maybe a link to a Poll Daddy asking for what the next time’s Tech Tip session will be!  “What do you want to learn next?”  Baby steppin to tech nirvana?  Yeah, small steps work best!

Some teachers don’t want to come to the library or computer lab to learn with a group of others. They might be shy, intimidated, or just reluctant (hence the title!) to do it. Go to THEM! Make a house call! Bring your laptop to their room during their planning period and have a quick one on one session. How do you get them? Go LOW TECH: Put tech appointment slips in the staff bathroom and in all the mailboxes. Keep the appointment and follow up!

See the rest at her blog.

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Marijke Visser

As of November 2018, District Dispatch is no longer being updated. It is now being archived for future use. Please visit for the latest news.


  1. OH WOW! I was trying to find my original post, to reply to a published comment and found this! I didn’t even know you had quoted me & used my graphics, thank you!

    Hey, next time – if there is a next time – could you email or Tweet me? That would be awesome so I could share this out!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Emily Wagner Emily Wagner

    Glad you found what you needed. Next time we will tweet you, for sure. Thanks for the feedback!

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