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E-Reader Education

Baltimore County Public Library
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Innovation Summary

As more people become interested in using the library to download materials to their e-readers, we developed training for both staff and customers to explain the download process to various devices.

Innovation Leader: Carl Birkmeyer, Media Services Manager, cbirkmey@bcpl.net

Problem Statement

E-readers are a new and rapidly changing area of our collection that require a significant amount of training for staff and customers. Library use of e-readers is not well-documented by e-reader manufacturers or library download service providers so training must be started from scratch.

Innovation

BCPL began a two-phase training program that would concentrate on customers and staff. For customers, PDF files showing screen captures and step-by-step instructions on downloading materials for e-readers were created. In addition, podcasts that showed the same process were created and placed on our website. The files and podcasts were sorted by e-reader type, allowing users to immediately go to the training for their device. For staff, demonstrations of the most popular devices were held at every branch, allowing staff to use and become familiar with the devices. After this familiarization process, an e-book exercise was developed for all librarian staff, requiring them to download a variety of materials exactly as our customers download them. Once that exercise was completed, branches received individual e-readers for staff practice. This allowed staff to learn about the download process and become familiar with how the devices are used.

Progress

Over 2,500 customers have viewed the e-reader training podcasts and the amount of material downloaded by customers has more than doubled. Staff are reporting a greater familiarity with the download process and devices, allowing them to better help customers.