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Announcing our Library Technology Academy Participants

2018 December 13
by Cindy Fisher

outline of school building with computer in the doorwayAround this time last year, Henry Stokes and I traveled to five different rural libraries around Texas to assist Carson Block and Internet2 in testing their broadband toolkit. As we listened and learned library staff discuss their technology challenges, especially related to managing library technology without local IT support, the wheels began to turn in our heads.  Over the course of the next few months, we developed a plan to pilot a new kind of training grant, which we titled “Library Technology Academy”. To address the needs we’ve seen in small and rural libraries, we limited the grant to libraries with service populations of 25,000 or fewer.

With a new program, we also decided to experiment with a more blended learning approach. Unlike some of our other day-long in-person workshops, participants will meet in person for 1.5 days here in Austin and then continue building their skills through a six week online course.  Learning how to be strategic is something that takes time so we thought it essential to create learning experiences to enable library staff more time, guidance, and individualized attention to support technology planning and management. Each library will then build on what they’ve learned through the training by designing and implementing a technology project supported by a reimbursement grant of up to $11,000 per library.

We opened the grant in September 2018 and closed it in late October 2018. We had an overwhelming response and a very competitive pool of applications – in fact, while we only intended to award grants to five libraries, we had a tie, and were able to include all six libraries. Congratulations to the following libraries who will each send two participants to the Academy:

  • Hillsboro City Library
  • Hondo Public Library
  • Lakehills Library
  • Mitchell County Library
  • New Boston Public Library
  • Patrick Heath Public Library

We are also so pleased to announce that Carson Block will be instructor for this course and integrating elements of his new book, Managing Library Technology. Some of you may remember Carson as the instructor for two of our You Can Do I.T. courses!

Today is the first day of our in-person meeting so watch this space for more updates on the program and reports as our first class of Library Technology Academy participants leads the way.

Questions on the program? Contact Cindy Fisher at cfisher@tsl.texas.gov for more information.

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