Being a Trainer: What Do I Need to Know?

On Friday, December 13, 2013, I was asked to speak at Staff Day for the Euclid Public Library.  As a follow-up to that presentation, below are notes about the discussion that took place.  The notes are from my memory, so if you have anything to add, please comment.


  • Materials (Handouts, PowerPoint Presentations, etc.):  Use color and make them fun!
  • “The Dance”:  Prepare the flow of the class such as questions to ask and samples to use.
  • Environment:  Add color and make it fun!
  • You:  Wear comfortable clothes that you feel good in.  Add colors!
  • Greet Students:  Greet your students outside the door and introduce yourself.
  • Music:  Have music playing in the room.  Walking into a quiet room can unsettle people.
  • Contacting Students:  If able, contact students ahead of time and tell them what to expect (where class is located, any obstacles (traffic/construction), what to bring, etc.).  A pre-class survey could also be given to assess knowledge or gather some information before class.


  • Relax:  You know more!
  • Parking Lot:  Create a Parking Lot for questions
  • Time:  Start on Time/End on Time
  • Knowledge Levels:  Incorporate attendees with higher levels of knowledge by asking questions rather than just spewing out information.
  • Staff Safety:  If you are concerned about safety make sure windows are open for visibility and stand outside the door as attendees exit.
  • Seniors:  Speak loudly and make print on screen and in handouts larger.
  • Vary Activities:  Vary activities to different learning styles:  Auditory, Visual, and Hands-On Learners.
  • Fun:  Classroom laughter is one of the best tools in the classroom – it adds fun and creates rapport.  Incorporate games into learning.  Oh, and give out CHOCOLATE – a great way to encourage participation.

Post Activities

  • Summarize:  Let attendees put together the summarization.
  • Job Aids:  Pass out job aids that can be posted for quick reference.
  • Survey:  Survey attendees on the classroom experience.
  • Follow Up:  Use Emails, Blogs, or Wikis to give additional information and/or start a conversation.

Additional Materials

Training Tips from the Trainer’s Warehouse (The pink handout from the end of the session.):

Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers:

The Spice Rack (Great training tips.  Scroll down for the menu.): (There is a charge for information.)




Martini in the Morning:

Transitioning from Adult Learners to Learners of All Ages

With our new Strategic Plan in place for the next 5 years, the Training Department has been asked to broaden Computer Training to learners of all ages.  It is interesting how those things in life we avoided seem to sometimes come back.  All three of the ladies in my department are degreed educators.  We all have degrees in a field of secondary education and have taught in high schools at some point.  And, we all three chose the path of teaching adults.

So, what do we do at this point?  Well, first of all, we need to remember that this is not an endeavor for our department alone.  The children’s department and the teen librarian are all in this with us.  We will be relying on them heavily to remind us of the mindset of the younger generations and the ways they learn.

Yes, children do learn differently than adults.  I have known that for years and had a reminder of it recently.  Children are concrete thinkers.  A parent asked if their 10-year-old could take one of the adult computer classes.  After some discussion, I let the girl come to class with a parent.  I knew it was not a good situation when the girl asked a question and the room laughed.  It was a lighthearted laugh admiring the innocence of the girl; however, perception could be different.  I also find that sometimes seniors may feel intimidated by the younger generation.  So, at that point in time, the classes were kept adult computer classes.

The second point I think we need to remember is to keep the “fun” in training.  Children sit in a classroom environment a good portion of the year.  They are probably not actively seeking another classroom environment; although, the parents may have a different idea.

Finally, we need to keep our positive attitudes. No matter how we feel about the situation, it is something that is going to move forward.  I think we are doing this well.

As the project unfolds, I will post updates as to what we are doing and what works.  Suggestions are welcome!:-)

Teching Up Your Library or Training

At the Computers In Libraries conference in Washington DC, I am in a session on Teching Up Your Library Programs. I think that sums up my experiences at the conference.

Each presentation gives me ideas on how I can use more technology tools in training. Sometimes we get very set in the ways we do things, and hearing what others are doing opens our eyes to improvement.

Lately, one of the trainers in my department has been having a lot of personal training on using a Nook with library eBooks. In a session I realized creating a video may help many of the patrons. Seems simple enough, but attending conferences and sharing information opens our eyes to possibilities.

Avatar in Training – Follow-Up Information

The “Avatar in Training” program this morning was phenominal.   Thank you to everyone that attended and participated!

As promised, below is the follow-up information for the program:



LOCATIONS DISCUSSED:  (The SLURL will direct you to a website that will allow you to teleport to the location in Second Life.  If you do not have an account with Second Life, you cannot use the SLURL.)

Vassar College:

Bowling Green:

Ohio State – Women’s Studies:

St. John’s College:

Sprott-Shaw College:

Rockcliffe University:


Virtual Hallucinations:

Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum:

David Rumsey Maps:

Check back.  I will be posting more information that we did not get to in the session.  This information should be here by Monday.

Enjoy Exploring!

Yes, stories really do work!

Old BookLast Friday, I went to a local ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) meeting.  The speaker, Kordell Norton, told us that a great way to begin presentations is with a story.  Kordell gave us lots of pointers including:

  • The first 30 seconds sets the tone for the presentation.
  • Find your stories in every day life.
  • Just begin the story – no introductions to it, no telling them it is a story.
  • Take each segment of the story and add humor to it.
  • While telling your story, add pauses and vary the pitch.

Kordell told the story well and set a very positive tone to the training.  So, I decided to try a story this morning for a program.  Before the program, I was introducing our new “Text a Librarian” service.  Therefore, I picked a story about getting a text from my niece and how I used the wrong text acronym.  I actually got laughs!

Do you use stories in your training?  How do you use them?

Getting to Know Me

The group at T is for Training posted a challenge for the show participants to answer 27 questions about themselves.  Here are my answers in hopes to give a small glimpse into who I am:

1) Your One Sentence Bio

A passionate training manager who loves teaching by day and virtual world entrepreneur and gourmet baker by night.

2) Do you blog? If yes, how did you come up with your blog name?

Yes!  I am not too creative; however, I wanted to express that good training has a passionate trainer behind it.  (

3) What is your professional background?

A degreed educator who worked in telecommunications for many years before deciding that teaching is what I loved from the beginning.

4) What training do you do? staff? patrons? types of classes?

I’m responsible for patron and staff training which includes technology from Introduction classes to the Microsoft products to more advanced subjects such as Photoshop and any other training needed for staff including database and soft skills training.

5) What training do you think is most important to libraries right now

From my own personal experience with the budget issues of libraries, I believe that cross-training endeavors are important to keep service to patrons at the higher levels.

6) Where do you get your training?

I have many sources of training available to me including ASTD, our regional and state library systems, an enormous amount of web resources, and other businesses and educational institutions.

7) How do you keep up?

It helps to have a department of three that collaborates on what’s new from each of their sources including webinars, RSS feeds, news, etc.  Our wonderful regional library system does a webinar every month on NEO Tech News, also.

8) What do you think are the biggest challenges libraries are facing right now?

In the State of Ohio, the number one challenge is budgets since the state funding was cut drastically last year.

9) What are biggest challenges for trainers?

For public, keeping up with demand, and for staff, getting employees in front of the training.

10) What exciting things are you doing training wise?

For public training, we are integrating Office 2007 classes, looking at adding a video editing class, and potentially adding webinar classes; for staff, implementing a large cross training endeavor and changing over to Office 2007 sometime this year.

11) What do you wish were you doing?

Preparing to go to Computers in Libraries (all out of state travel was eliminated this year).

12) What would you do with a badger?

Nothing… hope it moves on.

13) What’s your favorite food?

Southern fried chicken… yum; however, since I started eating right, I rarely indulge.

14) If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you want to have with you?

A computer with access to the Internet which would keep me entertained, learning and in touch with the world.

15)  Do you know what happens when a grasshopper kicks all the seeds out of a pickle?

He keels over from exhaustion?

16) Post it notes or the back of your hand?

Post it notes

17) Windows or Mac?


18) Talk about one training moment you’d like to forget?

It involved a patron, so I do not think I should write about it.  But, it does give us a laughable tale now.

19) What’s your take on handshakes?

They are still common courtesy when meeting someone.

20) Global warming: yes or no


21) How did you get into this line of work?

I got caught up in the 3rd or 4th layoff at the telecommunications company, and decided that it was time to go back to what I love to do – teach.  The library had an opening for a trainer, and I’ve been here ever since.

22) What is the best part of your job?

The “ah-ha” moments and the appreciation behind them.

23) Why should someone else follow in your shoes?

Because teaching is a very personally rewarding job.

24) Sushi or hamburger?


25) LSW or ALA?


26) What one person in the world do you want to have lunch with and why?

I know it is not work related, but right now the person that comes to mind is Martha Stewart.  I would love to chat about how she built her company and about cooking and baking.

27) What cell phone do you have and why?

I have an old flip phone because I have not found the courage to spend the money on a Droid yet.

Responses from some of the rest of the group:

Nicole Engard – The T is for Training Challenge

Polly-Alida Farrington – The T is for Training Challenge

Bobbi Newman – T is for Training Meme

Alison Miller – A T is for Training Challenge

Maurice Coleman’s Getting to Know All About Me Post

Betha Getsche – I Like Sushi & Libraries

Laura Botts – “C is for Challenge” at “T is for Training”

Heather Braum – T is for Training Challenge Meme

Jill Hurst-Wahl – Me. Coffee. Morning.

Pete Bromberg’s 23 things (minus 3): A getting to know ya post

Stephanie Zimmerman – A Get to Know Me Meme from TIFT

Marianne Lenox – 27 Questions (Supplemental Pictorial Essay)

Paul Signorelli – Paul’s Getting to Know Me Post

Lauren Pressley – 23 Questions with Lauren Pressley

Buffy Hamilton – 27 Questions with Buffy Hamilton

Jay Turner – 20 Questions for Just that Guy

Julie Strange – T is for Training Questionapalooza v 1.1

Beth Tribe – T is for Training Meme