Developing digital skills for digital librarians

As many communities struggle to keep up with shifts in technology, public libraries provide critical digital literacy training that helps people improve their skills. Yet, library staff struggle to keep their own skills up-to-date and to deliver trainings that engage and excite learners. One promising resource to assist libraries is Mozilla’s Web Literacy Core Curriculum. Mozilla piloted the curriculum in US public libraries, supported by a grant from IMLS. TASCHA and US Impact Study Research Group evaluated the project to uncover how libraries used the web literacy materials Over a period of 19 months, project leaders at eight US libraries adapted the curriculum and led training for library staff. The evaluation uncovered that trainees improved their knowledge of online issues and gained confidence in their ability to develop new digital skills. Trainees benefited the most when they had the following characteristics.
  1. Limited knowledge of many of the web literacy concepts but enough digital literacy skills to take part in the training.
  2. Comfort participating in Mozilla’s style of experiential, hands-on learning.
  3. An understanding of how they would apply web literacy skills at work.
  4. A workplace that prioritizes professional development and personal growth.
Project leaders advanced web literacy concepts and teaching practice within their organization and often served as advocates for web literacy outside their workplace. To learn more, including ideas to run the training in your organization, read the evaluation, Learning and Leading: An evaluation of the Digital Skills for Digital Librarians project, authored by TASCHA Research Scientist Michelle Fellows, University of Washington Information School Assistant Professor Katie Davis, and former US Impact Study Research Scientist Cadi Russell-Sauve.