Twelve Teams to Participate in Learning Culture Initiative

We are so excited to announce the names of the 12 library teams who will be participating in our videoBuilding an Effective Learning Culture (BELC) online learning initiative!

The twelve teams are from:

  • Bucks County Free Library, PA
  • Burbank Public Library, CA
  • Long Beach Public Library, CA
  • Los Angeles Public Library, CA
  • Monrovia Public Library, CA
  • Monterey Public Library, CA
  • Oceanside Public Library, CA
  • Pickering Public Library, Ontario, Canada
  • Pima County Public Library, AZ
  • South Carolina State Library
  • San Jose Public Library, CA
  • Suffolk Public Library, VA

The BELC program will take place from January -June 2017. The 12 participating libraries registered in teams of 3 to 5 people. Each team will work with a virtual mentor and the course content will be broken down into bite-sized chunks.

We’re thrilled to be working with this fantastic group of libraries and will continue to share project updates here in the new year!





Initiative Highlights Bite-sized Learning

Traditional learning is often structured so that it requires participants to spend hours at a time on classes and readings. Finding the time can be a challenge for busy library staff. To address this challenge, the upcoming Infopeople initiative, Building an Effective Learning Culture, will incorporate a “bite-sized learning” (also called microlearning) approach.

Bite-sized content consists of short learning nuggets (maybe 3 to 7 minutes long) designed to meet a specific learning outcome. To better explain the hows and whys of this innovative approach, I talked to Infopeople instructors Stephanie Gerding and Crystal Schimpf and also to Infopeople Training Manager Lisa Barnhart to learn more about their thoughts and feelings about bite-sized learning.

Why is Infopeople using this approach for the new initiative?

“Bite-sized learning has seen a surge of popularity for the modern learner who is many times lisaoverwhelmed, distracted and impatient. Packaging learning in smaller pieces allows us to not only process ideas and concepts quickly, but also create a customized learning experience as we use our own unique perspective to connect these smaller “building blocks” into more foundational concepts,” explains Training Manager/Instructional Designer Lisa Barnhart.

How does bite-sized learning address what we know about how adults learn?

“Educational psychologists have developed learning principles, which support the fact that stephanielearning occurs most effectively when instruction is doled out in small segments. There should be time in between to process and practice, with links made between new ideas and previous learning or experience, and learners should be actively engaged with the material and with each other. BELC combines all of these elements into a fun experience that will change your library culture!” shares Stephanie Gerding, Library Consultant, Infopeople Instructor and author of The Accidental Technology Trainer.

What are the benefits to bite-sized learning?

Crystal Schimpf, Library Consultant and Infopeople Instructor explains, “As a learner, I crystalreally like bite-sized content because I can take in new ideas one piece at a time. Some days I might have a lot of time and can cover several pieces, but other days I might only cover one piece of content.

As an instructor, I like designing bite-sized content because it forces me to really focus on key concepts, one at a time. It helps keep me on track and on point.

Bite-sized content is great for libraries because it can be difficult for library staff to find time to attend longer trainings. Bite-sized content gives staff a chance to learn piece by piece, and to integrate new ideas into daily routine.”

If your team is interested in building a stronger learning culture at your library, but you’re not sure how to find the time to focus on it, consider applying (hurry – deadline approaching soon) to participate in the upcoming initiative. The bite-sized content will make it easy to fit learning in to your busy schedules.

More information and a link to the application can be found at

New learning culture initiative to feature mentors

If you’re familiar with Infopeople’s training, then you know that we use a few different training formats – including one hour webinars, 2, 4, or 6 week courses, and some self-paced courses, too. However, we’re shaking things up and will be doing a number of new things in the upcoming Building an Effective Learning Culture Initiative:whats-diff

  • The time frame is longer than our normal training formats. The initiative will run from January – June 2017.
  • Learners will participate as a team, rather than as individuals.
  • Each team will be assigned a mentor.
  • Content will be delivered in bite-sized pieces.

Last week, we shared our reasons for adopting a team (rather than an individual learner) approach. This week, we’ll discuss the mentor component of the initiative. Next week, we’ll talk more about the “bite-sized” content.

One of the things people like about our typical Infopeople training is the interaction they get to have with an experienced instructor. For the BELC initiative, we’re taking that a step further. Not only will teams be working with an instructor, but each team will also be assigned a mentor, who will meet with them virtually on a regular basis between January and June.

Who are the mentors?

Check out this list! It’s a group of people who are passionate about the importance of staff development and learning in libraries and we’re so excited and thankful that they are part of BELC.

Why work with a mentor? advice-help-support

There are so many reasons! A mentor can provide tips, advice, resources and more. They know libraries… but they are also fresh eyes (or ears) who can help provide useful perspective on any challenges your team is experiencing as you work to develop a vibrant culture of learning in your library. And the mentors will be learning from you, too – it’s a shared opportunity!

Library Consultant and BELC instructor Stephanie Gerding is thrilled about the mentor group’s role in the initiative. She explains why, “Mentors inspire and encourage you to stretch towards your dreams. Then they provide you with the connections and accountability you need to turn those dreams into reality.”

Up to 10 teams will be selected for the BELC initiative and applications are being taken until November 23rd. Interested in creating a more effective learning culture in your library? Apply today!

We’re Better Together

Most Infopeople online courses are structured so that an individual signs up, completes the course assignments, participates in discussions, and receives a certificate of completion at the end. However, for the upcoming Building an Effective Learning Culture (BELC) initiative, we’re asking people to sign up in teams of 3 – 5 people from a single library or library system. Why are we employing a team approach for this initiative? There are numerous benefits!





And… it will be a whole lot of fun!


Want to learn more about the initiative?

  • A 3 minute video introduction to learning cultures
  • A one-hour webinar Building an Effective Learning Culture
  • The project web page and registration form
  • Sign up to be sent email updates about the project

Building an Effective Learning Culture: Webinar Recap

videoAt Infopeople’s November 1st Building an Effective Learning Culture webinar, two things became very clear:

  • Many libraries are already doing successful things to support effective professional learning. Great examples were shared!
  • Getting people together to talk about the hows and whys of a learning culture is a valuable experience. We can learn so much from one another!recording

Missed the webinar? No worries! A recording of the one-hour session is available, as are the PowerPoint slides, chat and handouts. Lisa Barnhart, Crystal Schimpf, Stephanie Gerding, Brenda Hough, Rachel Rubin, and Maurice Coleman all shared during the session.As a preview, here is a taste of the webinar content and discussion.

Building an effective learning culture is a journey not a destination and we’re all at different places. We asked webinar participants six “How does this work at your library?” questions and individuals shared their successes and challenges.

  1. Is there a BUDGET for professional learning?

As you might expect, responses varied greatly, from “Yes, solid funding!” to “Some funding” to “No funding”.

2. Is TIME for training/learning provided?

This sparked one of the most active discussions during the webinar. We mentioned Tooele City Library (UT) director Jami Carter’s experiences with having staff set a weekly goal that can be accomplished in one hour of learning  and asked other participants to share their experiences with time and professional learning.  Joan Blalock has also adopted the one-hour per week model in Spartanburg (SC). Some states/libraries have required CE hours. Several participants mentioned that finding time for training can be challenging, especially for part-time staff. A number of people mentioned that although there is time provided for formal learning opportunities, there is not a structure in place to support more informal learning.

3. Does the library have an ORGANIZED PROGRAM for staff development?

Not surprisingly, a number of webinar participants are in staff development or training positions in their libraries. Onboarding new staff was mentioned as a training need that sometimes dominates staff development time.

4. Is there LEADERSHIP BUY-IN regarding the importance of a learning culture?

Many webinar participants are in leadership roles in their libraries so when asked about leadership buy-in, they said, “That’s me and I’m actively encouraging it!” Other webinar participants reported varying levels of leadership buy-in.

5. Is there STAFF BUY-IN regarding the importance of a learning culture?

Based upon webinar participant input, this can be a challenge. While some staff enthusiastically embrace professional learning, getting other staff to buy-in can be difficult. Motivating ongoing learning seems to be a priority need.

6. What SUCCESSFUL METHODS has your library implemented for building a learning culture?

A lot of great ideas and examples were shared, including new hire orientation programs, individual learning plans for all staff, and leadership training programs.


Is your organization interested in really focusing attention on building your learning culture? If so, you may be interested in participating in Infopeople’s upcoming pilot project! Up to 10 libraries will be selected. Each library will create a team with 3-5 participants. The team members will complete work individually and as a group. A mentor will be assigned to each group. Team fees are $500/team for CA residents and $600/team for outside CA.

Interested in learning more? Additional details are here. Applications are being accepted until November 23, 2016. Teams will not be selected based upon a first come, first serve basis, but instead will be selected to ensure diverse library sizes and geographic locations.