Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide

Overview

Teaching novice computer users, including seniors and individuals with disabilities such as low vision or motor skills, how to do what they want and need to do online is a formidable challenge for library staff. Part inspirational, part practical Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide is a summary of techniques, approaches, and skills that will help librarians meet this challenge.

Jessamyn C. West's experience as a librarian, deeply immersed in technology culture ...

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Overview

Teaching novice computer users, including seniors and individuals with disabilities such as low vision or motor skills, how to do what they want and need to do online is a formidable challenge for library staff. Part inspirational, part practical Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide is a summary of techniques, approaches, and skills that will help librarians meet this challenge.

Jessamyn C. West's experience as a librarian, deeply immersed in technology culture yet living in rural America, makes her uniquely qualified to write this book. Taking a big-picture approach to the subject, she demystifies and simplifies tech training for the busy librarian, providing an easy-to-use handbook full of techniques that can be used with many different library populations. As an added bonus, she also examines the players in the library technology arena to offer firsthand reports on what works, what doesn't, and what's next.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Librarians who feel lost in the technical revolution will find this book an essential guide to help familiarize themselves with basic computer usage and terms. West explains all elementary concepts in a friendly, sympathetic way. Even the most reluctant librarians, information providers, or users will find confidence in this easy-to-understand primer"

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Library Journal, Starred Review

Library Journal
Nontechnical patrons and librarians educated before computers often suffer from "technostress": the fear of, and reluctance to learn, new technologies. Not everyone is online, yet modern life demands computer proficiency. Patrons turn to their public libraries to fill their knowledge void; therefore librarians need to learn enough to teach the most elementary computer concepts. West (community manager, MetaFilter.com), a freelance technology librarian who advises rural libraries in Vermont, explains the bare bones of computers and computer-related technology. She covers all the basics and defines terms so that a library can assess its own tech needs for its particular demographic and can understand how to prepare for teaching classes, knowing basic computer components and the Internet, how to set up an email address, and understand different forms of software. She offers advice on how to troubleshoot and support a library's systems. VERDICT Librarians who feel lost in the technical revolution will find this book an essential guide to help familiarize themselves with basic computer usage and terms. West explains all elementary concepts in a friendly, sympathetic way. Even the most reluctant librarians, information providers, or users will find confidence in this easy-to-understand primer.—Lisa Guidarini, Algonquin P.L., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598844535
  • Publisher: Libraries Unlimited
  • Publication date: 5/6/2011
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Why I Am Writing This Book xi

Where I Came From xii

Where I Am xiii

What We Have xv

Where We're Going xvi

Caveats xviii

Acknowledgments xxi

Introduction xxiii

Why Our Work Is Important-Defining the Digital Divide xxiii

Computers, We Have Them xxv

People Are Offline for a Reason xxvi

Moral Imperatives and Technological Definitions xxviii

Who Is Offline, and Why? xxix

What Libraries Can Do xxxviii

About This Book xxxix

1 People in the Library 1

Library Staff-You Are Here 2

Library Patrons-What They Need, What They Receive 9

2 The Bigger Picture-Who Makes the Tools We Use 19

What Is a Default and Who Decides? 20

The Media, the Decision Makers, and How They Interact 38

Synthesis-How It All Works Together 48

3 Planning-Strategies, Techniques, and Tools 51

Library Policies 53

Leading versus Following-Tech Assessments 60

4 Planning for Pedagogy 69

Our Toolbox 70

Setting Up the Classroom 78

Instruction Happens 81

The Technology Itself 85

Are You Accessible? 92

5 Basic Instruction and Explanations 97

Tech Terms and Meanings 98

What Is a Computer? 102

What Is an Operating System? 117

What Is the Desktop? 120

What Is a Window? 120

Basic Tasks 123

6 What Is the Internet? 135

Internet Elevator Pitch 137

Internet Access 138

What Is Our Internet? 139

A Few Common Myths about the Internet 140

The Web 142

Google, The 153

7 Email Is Everything 163

Break It Down-What Is Email Really? 164

So, You Need Email? 170

Email Parts 175

Email Attachments 176

Advanced Email-Tips to Improve the Experience 178

Non-web-based Email 179

Bad People and Email 180

8 Office Software, Databases, and Social Software 183

Do You Know Word? 184

Bibliographic Instruction-Teaching Our Tools 188

Social Software and Syndicated Sites 192

9 When Things Go Wrong, or Right 201

Troubleshooting and Supporting Your Systems 202

Feedback and Assessment 210

10 Things That Work-Examples from the Field 217

Informal Consortia in the Green Mountains and Elsewhere 218

MyKLOW-Consortial Blogging 219

Technology Petting Zoo-Up Close and Personal 221

23 Things 222

Five Weeks to a Social Library-Collaborative Learning 224

11 Why This Matters and What to Do 227

Appendix and Bibliography 231

Notes 247

Index 251

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