I spent two days on the east rand, working with Ekurhuleni librarians and running a pilot workshop about mLiteracy. We set out to explore what is enabled by the combination of free WiFi and mobile devices. We wanted librarians to become comfortable with using their mobile devices in a library setting. Connecting devices is not always easy. Digital skills are required Our focus was on accessing early reading resources that were produced by social publishers. We wanted to show them how these digtitized and freely available story reading materials could be accessed and then used in their library programmes. Entry to the workshop was open to anyone from the region. All they needed to do was fill in a form and take a “shelfie”.
Working alongside this group of librarians was very satisfying. They were very interested in using mobile devices within their scope of work. Participants seemed to enjoy the experience. Comments about the workshop included “I’ve learned a lot of things I didn’t even know about”; “the Workshop was excellent”, “liked the informal and fun way the workshop was presented” and “this workshop should be done regularly to keep us updated.”
A large part of the programme was focused on making librarians comfortable with change that accompanies any innovation. While many workshop participants welcomed the introduction of new technologies into a library, there are some who are wary of the unintended consequences of a mobile friendly library space.
The workshop was designed to allow space for questions, opinion and doubt. Activities like “Emoji Tracker Cards” – an ongoing feedback exercise that offered participants to express their reactions, “Hopes and Fears” – a process of articulating both positive and negative sentiments about technology and “Shades of opinions” – a set of opinions about changes in the library, allowed participants the opportunity to become comfortable with each other and the workshop programme*.
The workshop was a pilot. I’m hoping that senior management within library services will see the value in it and offer #mLiteracy learning opportunities to more librarians. If you are interested in keeping up with the project, please find us on Twitter or FaceBook. If you are interested in attending, please join our mailing list.
*A participants workbook will be available to all participants.
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