Wednesday, March 09, 2016

CILDC : Evolution of Training at the Justice Libraries

Speaker at CIL
The speaker: Mariana M. Long, U.S. Department of Justice 

Long started at the Justice Department as an attorney and then got her MSLIS.  Her co-presenter  could not be here (Kera Winburn).

The Justice Department began in 1789 as a small office.  The larger "department" was established in 1870.  It is the world's largest law office.  Offices in every state and territory, and 100 countries. In total, more than 10,000 attorneys. Over 130 organizations.

There is a need to train new staff to learn how to do research.  Need to help staff maintain their skills (continuing education). They also help attorneys with their research needs.  Some of the training must be done virtually.  

The Justice library itself was established in 1831. It currently has 9 locations.  33 full time employees and 20 contractors.  They have staff dedicated to "cousin" agencies.

Initially training was done haphazardly in response to requests.  Might have been given by library vendors.  Early courses included legislative history and Internet searching.  They then began creating research guides.  The National Advocacy Center then asked for specific courses.

Prior to mid-2000s the training wasn't well organized.  Most of the classes were not hands-on due to the availability of computers.

Promoting training with carrots - Some state bars require continuing legal education (CLE) classes. In addition, some vendors offered free training, which could count for CLE credit.  Offering classes to those that needed CLE credit provided a way to succeed.  In fiscal year 2014, they offered 6 CLE classes.  They offered more in FY 2015 and more participants.  Still they needed to reach more people and to do that through offering virtual settings.

They began using Adobe Connect, which their IT department allowed.  Participants to not need to download anything, which is a plus.

However, not every desktop is using the same software, browsers, etc.  They decided to test the training on other librarians in the DOJ to see if it worked, and then testing it on others.  They learned what features worked and what did not.  They were able to develop a series of best practices.

Best practices:
  • Do practice sessions.
  • Schedule interactive polls and quizzes throughout
  • Disable the ability to "raise hands" during sessions.  Too distracting.  Use chat box instead.
  • Prepare backup PowerPoint in case Internet freezes.
  • Use a wingman to help out with technical assistance during class.
Similarities between face-to-face and virtual sessions:
  • Both types of training needed to be marketed.
  • Need to stop and take the pulse of the "room".
  • Need to come up with a game plan to keep participants engaged.
  • Need to get feedback from participants.
Want to offer on-demand training using Adobe Captivate.

  • Monthly class list.
  • Ad in email signature block.
  • JCON broadcasts
  • Library orientations
  • End of other courses.

Updated on March 15, 2016. 

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