Hi All, my name is Michael Wick and I’m the Senior Reference Librarian at the Peabody Institute Library in Peabody, MA. This is just the first of a series of posts I’ll be doing, highlighting the handouts I use in the library to provide instruction at the point of need.
Why handouts? I have had huge success in the past while working at another library with how-to videos for Overdrive using Camtasia (an excellent and free-to-try software available online); I had created separate tutorials for each device and we gave a handout with the links to patrons who were asking for help. While the videos were current, I think they had something like 35,000 hits between them. Since I’ve moved to Peabody, Overdrive has updated and yet the videos still linger on that library’s YouTube page, gathering hits and confusing patrons who can’t follow the steps because of the app’s new layout, login process, etc. (just a reminder to keep your educational materials current, wherever you may keep them).
Anywho, after going through all the work to create a similar series of videos for Peabody, I was crushed when the hits anemically accumulated and the requests for one-on-one help kept streaming in. Reluncantly, I bit the bullet and started creating visual and step-based handouts. Unlike my attempt at YouTube videos, these have been so successful that I’m having to call in lumberjacks to fell more trees for the sake of my handouts.
When our library began a subscription to Zinio, providing patrons with downloadable magazines for their computer, smartphone, or tablet, I took a week to make handouts for each device before we did an advertising blitz announcing the service. I made sure our branches had ample copies (as well as the original files to make more copies from) and that links to the handouts were predominantly displayed on our website during the month of the launch. Since then, I’ve been astounded by the lack of support I’ve had to provide beyond the handouts. Maybe the reason is because ebooks are in the zeitgeist and downloadable magazines aren’t, but the handouts fly off of the shelf, statistics for use of Zinio are high, and I’ve only done one or two classes and a handful of one-on-one tutorials for patrons using Zinio.
So, for your use, I’m adding the original files I’ve made to this blog so you can rework and reuse them as you’d like in your library. Please leave your comments on how you improved upon the design for your learners or any other feedback you may have. Without further ado, the links: