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.




Take a Break and Be More Effective

There’s no doubt about it. This is a busy time of year! As you work to jugglejuggling the many personal and professional demands the final months of the year bring, it’s important to remember to take breaks, too. Research has shown that taking some time off actually makes us more effective. In her upcoming Infopeople course Managing Digital Overload, instructor Crystal Schimpf discusses the importance of taking breaks from technology, too.

Breaks from technology are beneficial and necessary. Breaks help us manage information better and help our brains to renew and recharge. Research shows breaks can help clear our head, making us more productive and creative when we return. A recent study shows the benefits of taking a short walk once a day at work.

In the course, Schimpf will share a number of specific ways we can effectively take breaks, including tools that can help! Here’s a sneak peek at a few of her suggestions:

Stand Up and Stretch

  • Gently stretch the wrists and hands to relieve tension from repetitive motion.
  • Develop a sequence of stretches to do once daily, such as these stretches from the Mayo Clinic.
  • Download a free app like Big Stretch Reminder to get pop-up reminders on your computer to take a stretch break.

Exercise Your Eyes

  • Prevent eye strain by periodically looking away from your computer and focusing on a distant object. Use the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, stare at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Try using Eyeleo, a free computer app that reminds you to give your eyes a break and offers suggested eye exercises at regular intervals.

Turn Off the Technology

  • If you don’t need your technology, try turning it off (or putting it to sleep) while you work on other things.
  • Freedom is an app that freezes your screen so you have to take a break from technology. The app is free for a basic plan, and additional paid options are available.

Are you a busy task juggler, ready to tackle the challenge of keeping up crystal_schimpfwith all of those blogs to be read, apps to be tried, tasks to be completed, and emails to be read, too? Sign-up for this course to discover strategies and tools… and also for affirmation about the importance of taking a break now and then, too!

Course begins December 8th. Space is still available and registration is open at


Do you suffer from digital overload?

Infopeople instructor Crystal Schimpf says, crystal_schimpf

Digital overload is something we all suffer from to some degree, regardless of age, experience, or level of tech knowledge. In fact, research shows that millenials are just as likely to suffer from digital overload as anyone else, partly because of the fact that millenials have grown up using technology. Digital overload is a result of the amount of technology and information we consume, regardless of how comfortable we are using technology. It is a serious issue, and if we don’t face it our work and our health will suffer.

toomuchinfoIn her upcoming course, Too Much Information: Managing Personal Digital Overload, Schimpf notes eight factors that can cause digital overload:

  1. Quantity of Information

“Technology has afforded us the ability to create information at a much, much faster rate than we can consume it. We must learn to accept that we won’t be able to process all that digital information floating around in cyberspace, and we must start making better choices about what we want to pay attention to.”

  1. Email and Other Online Communication Tools

“Communications make up a major portion of our information. Just think about how many email messages you receive each day (including all the junk email and spam). Having a huge number of messages in our inbox can be a source of stress—especially when we forget to respond to someone or miss a deadline. Without any systems in place, our inboxes go unchecked and grow out of control. We can’t control how much email we get, but we can control how we deal with it.”

  1. Number of Information Sources

“In today’s fast-paced working environment, the sheer number of information sources at our disposal means that it is easy to be overwhelmed with information. Here are some information sources you might currently subscribe to: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, email, newsletters, and blogs, just to name a few. If we were to take all of the information from these sources and try to capture it, we would find ourselves in a virtual sea of information. However, the truth is not all information needs to be captured. Instead of trying to capture it all, look at each channel as a virtual stream that can be visited when you have time.”

  1. New Technologies

“Technology changes very fast. Every day there is an announcement about a new phone, a new gadget, a new software, a new website. How could we ever keep up with it all? It’s unrealistic to think we can learn every new technology. We will be better off if we reset our expectations when it comes to learning new technology.”

  1. Increased Connectivity

“Now that we are able to check our email, Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds from our mobile devices, it’s getting harder and harder to disconnect from all this information. We are always connected, always available, which contributes to the feeling of digital overload. Have you ever checked your email at the dinner table? Sent a text message while on a hike? Of course it is convenient to be connected all the time, but it doesn’t mean we have to be.”

  1. Multitasking

“We often think of multitasking as a desirable skill in the workplace, but the truth is that multitasking isn’t actually possible. Research shows that our brains are not actually able to perform more than one task at a time. When we think we are multitasking (perhaps by checking email, attending a webinar, and browsing our Twitter feeds), what we are actually doing is called “switch tasking.” There is a high cost to switch tasking, because every time you switch tasks your brain has to switch gears before proceeding. You are more likely to make mistakes, and it will take you longer in the process.”

  1. Distractions

“Distractions can be a big cause of digital overload, even if they are cute or funny (like that hilarious cat video you got sucked into watching while updating your library’s Facebook page). Distractions come from our wandering minds, from our work environments, and from our personal lives. Many distractions are technology-based, from notifications or from compulsively checking our email and social media. One study found that office workers typically check their email 30-40 times an hour.”

  1. Lack of Balance between Technology & Work/Life

“We often talk about balance between work and home life, with an emphasis on not overworking ourselves. Another type of balance to consider is between time spent with and away from technology—or perhaps the balance of how many different types of technology you choose to engage with. If we are out of balance and have too much technology in our lives, we may find our health and productivity suffering.”

Which of these factors are challenges that you face?

Learners in the upcoming course will discover ways to cope with digital information, learning to prioritize and develop new habits related to technology so that they can be more creative and productive.

The course begins December 8th and registration is now open! There are 2 weeks built into the course during which learners will be able to practice their new technology habits.