Peer to peer: Using a discussion group to introduce staff and faculty to emerging technologies
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Awareness of new and emerging technologies is vital to the continuing education of library staff and faculty in settings ranging from public libraries to national research libraries. However, the complex nature of new technologies and limitations of prior tech literacy can prove to be a stumbling block for even highly motivated library workers. While the challenges of investigating new technologies may seem insurmountable, the implementation of group-oriented knowledge sharing methodologies can greatly reduce barriers to learning while also creating a constructivist setting in which library workers can learn together. At the University of Maryland Libraries, a staff- and faculty-led discussion group has taken on this challenge by administering monthly sessions where staff, faculty, and students are welcome to join conversations about new and emerging trends in technologies and libraries. By hosting staff specialists and volunteer speakers, sessions present difficult technology topics in a comfortable, open format. Furthermore, tool demonstrations allow attendees to discovery new applications and platforms that may have meaningful impacts on their day-to-day work. This poster presents a brief history of the Emerging Technologies Discussion Group, highlighting the variety of topics presented over the seven years of its existence. Additionally, this poster presents the benefits of such a low-stress, low-barrier group format. Lastly, the poster provides useful tips for those interested in starting a similar group, including topics such as important administrative considerations and suggested formats for discussion- and tool-oriented events.
Poster presentation at 2018 Maryland Library Association Annual Conference, Cambridge, Maryland, 2-4 May 2018.