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Professional Development: Digital Bytes in the Time of COVID-19

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

In March of 2018, the Wisconsin Valley Library Service (WVLS) launched a training series called Digital Bytes. The purpose is to provide short trainings in a recorded, digital format. The trainings are meant to be viewed as bite-sized pieces, and two new ones are launched per month.

“The idea behind this was that a lot of staff in smaller libraries don’t have the time to learn, train themselves or their staffs on a new resource or tool,” said Jamie Matczak, education consultant at the Wisconsin Valley Library Service, who started Digital Bytes. “WVLS consists of several small and rural libraries, and sometimes live workshops or webinars aren’t as convenient. Anyone can access Digital Bytes.”

Because of the time constraints for public libraries, all of the trainings are 30 minutes or less, with some of them being only 2-3 minutes long. Some of the videos are also accompanied by a short training guide.

There are presently over 60 Digital Bytes recorded and archived. The trainings are on a variety of topics, from customer service tips to photo editing to creating URL shortened links. The topics are derived from requests provided by member libraries or areas that WVLS staff think libraries might have an interest.

“In 2019, we started captioning all of the recordings,” Matczak said. “We wanted to be inclusive to all audiences and mindful that not all library staff have private areas in the library to view online training.”

In the last few weeks, two topics were covered that are related to libraries opening in the midst of the coronavirus. One is on tips for having unpleasant conversations, and another is on library communication when wearing a mask. The reception on these has been positive, so Matczak would like to do more trainings in this area, if it’s needed.

“Digital Bytes has been well-received by our libraries,” Matczak said. “We share them with our multi-type libraries as well.” 

To access WVLS Digital Bytes, visit the WVLS website. For more information on training software or follow-up questions, contact Jamie Matczak at jmatczak@wvls.org or 920-455-0668.

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For questions about this information, contact Cindy Fesemyer (608) 266-8053