Welcome to iHCPL. This site was created to support Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies and reward them for doing 23 Things. The program is adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Coming September 10...

If you aren't able to view the embedded video, click here.

On September 10, the iHCPL adventure begins. More of the tools we use in our job are web based and our customers are getting more savvy in the tools they use. Be prepared, learn about these new tools with iHCPL. Each week, for nine weeks, you'll learn about web 2.0 technologies through fun, self-paced, online exercises. At the completion of the program, you'll have earned 10 training hours as well as cool bling!

Monday, August 20, 2007

About the iHCPL Program

This blog has been set-up as part of Harris County Public Library's iHCPL project to encourage staff to experiment and learn about the new and emerging technologies that are reshaping the context of information on the Internet today. The objectives of this program are to:

  • Encourage exploration of Web 2.0 and new technologies by HCPL staff.
  • Provide staff with new tools (that are freely available on the Internet) to better support HCPL's mission of providing "information and resources to enrich lives and strengthen communities through innovative services within and beyond our walls."
  • Help demystify new technologies and assist customers in their use.
  • Reward staff for taking the initiative to complete 23 self-discovery exercises.
The iHCPL program has been adapted by a committee from the Learning 2.0 program, designed the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. The program is loosely based upon Stephen Abram's article, 43 Things I (or You) Might Want to Do this Year (Information Outlook - Feb 2006) and the website 43Things.

The design of this online program was completely built on Web 2.0 technologies that are freely available on the Internet. These sites include: Blogger, Flickr, Odeo, YouTube, PBWiki & Bloglines.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The 23 Things

Listed below are 23 Things (or small exercises) that you can do on the web to explore and expand your knowledge of the Internet and Web 2.0. Staff are encouraged to complete all 23 items on this list by December 14th in order to receive 10 hours of training credit.

    Week 1: Introduction (Official start: September 10)
  1. Read this blog & find out about the program.
  2. Read this entry and then view the motivational slide show to discover a few pointers on how to nurture your own learning process.

  3. Week 2: Blogging
  4. Set up your own blog, add your first post, & register for the program.
  5. Get tips for navigating safely online.

  6. Week 3: Photos & Images
  7. Explore Flickr and learn about this popular image hosting site.
  8. Have some Flickr fun and discover some Flickr mashups & 3rd party sites.
  9. Learn about online photo editing tools to improve your pictures.

  10. Week 4: RSS & Newsreaders
  11. Learn about RSS feeds and setup your own Bloglines newsreader account.
  12. Locate a few blogs and/or news feeds to add to your newsreader account.

  13. Week 5: Play Week
  14. Play around with online image generators.
  15. Take a look at LibraryThing and catalog some of your favorite books.
  16. Sign up for Library Elf and get account updates by email, RSS, or text message.

  17. Week 6: Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati
  18. Learn about tagging and discover Del.icio.us (a social bookmaking site)
  19. Explore Technorati and learn how tags work with blog posts.
  20. Read a few perspectives on Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the future of libraries and blog your thoughts.

  21. Week 7: Wikis
  22. Learn about wikis and discover some innovative ways that libraries are using them.
  23. Create a blog post about anything technology related that interests you this week.

  24. Week 8: Online Applications & Tools
  25. Explore Social Networking.
  26. Take a look at some online productivity (word processing, spreadsheet) tools.

  27. iStar's Vacation
    The Parade of Avatars
    Become a Video Producer

    Week 9: Podcasts, Video & Downloadable Media
  28. Discover YouTube and a few sites that allow users to upload and share videos.
  29. Discover some useful search tools for locating podcasts.
  30. Take a look at the titles available on Overdrive and learn how to download video.

  31. Week 10: Summary
  32. Summarize your thoughts about this program on your blog. Discuss how library 2.0 and web 2.0 can best be implemented at HCPL.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does this online learning program work?
    This is a self-discovery program which encourages staff to take control of their own learning and to utilize their lifelong learning skills through exploration and PLAY. Staff are encouraged to work together and share with each other their discoveries, techniques and "how to's" both in person and through their blogs. Once a week, during the program, there will be an open lab - the location will rotate throughout the system - for staff who need additional assistance.

  • Is this program open to all HCPL staff or just some?
    This program is open to ALL HCPL staff regardless of position and status (full and part time). If you are not a member of the HCPL staff, you are welcome to follow along, however the library cannot award you training hours or iHCPL bling.

  • How long do I have to complete the program?
    The program kicks off September 10 as with a presentations by Michelle Boule, Social Sciences Librarian at the University of Houston and author of A Wandering Eyre, and officially wraps up on December 14. Staff who complete the program will get 10 hours of training. Staff who have completed their 20 hours of training for the year may carry over up to 5 hours of training into 2008. In addition to training hours, as staff complete each week of the program they will receive iHCPL bling.

  • How do I track my progress for each of the 23 Things?
    Each staff member that chooses to participate in this program will be required to keep a blog to track their progress. iHCPL team members will track your progress throughout the program.

  • If I'm not a HCPL staff member, can I still participate?
    Yes, by all means. However, HCPL cannot award you any incentives or prizes for completion. You can track your progress through iHCPL: A Learning Experience for Our Customer's blog. We welcome participants from anywhere to join in the fun and follow along.

  • Why 23 things instead of having participants do 43 things like the website?
    Given the time frame of the program (9 weeks), the number of "things" was reduced so that staff already burdened with busy work schedules wouldn't feel overwhelmed by having too many discovery exercises to complete in a week. Also, it takes a lot of effort to create and develop 23 separate exercises and weekly videos.

  • Will there be any training classes offered to show staff how to do this?
    This is intended to be a self-directed learning program. If you feel you need assistance with an item, you are encouraged to be resourceful and to find a co-worker or another staff member who can help. Reading other staff member's blogs can help, too. If you are really stuck, an open lab will be available each Friday, during the program, at rotating locations throughout the system.

  • I've seen the list of 23 Things on the website, but how do I know what to do with them?
    Each week, two or three posts will be added to the iHCPL blog with details about the discovery exercises for that week. The reason for this staggered approach is to allow participants the ability to focus each week on a different area without feeling overwhelmed.

  • Can I work ahead through the list of items on my own?
    Yes, of course. You are encouraged to self-direct your discovery process, especially by working ahead on your own!! However, if you do work ahead on some items, be sure to check back on the exercise details for each item once they are posted so you can be sure to receive full credit for its completion. iHCPL bling will be sent out after each week is complete, so if you work ahead, you'll get your bling as each week finishes.

  • What if I need help - who can I call?
    Since this program is self-directed and is being completed by many staff members throughout the system simultaneously, you are encouraged to work with colleagues along your discovery journey. To find a list of staff participating see The Participants. There will be open labs each Friday throughout the program at rotating locations if you need further assistance.

  • I would like to participate but don't feel comfortable with my co-workers reading my blog, can I participate anonymously?
    Yes & No. Since you control all the information that you share on your blog, you can choose to use a screen name to identify yourself to keep yourself anonymous. However, in order to receive the training hours and iHCPL bling, you will need to identify yourself when you register. Your name and blog will not be associated with each other publicly.

  • How do I get credit for my training hours and my iHCPL bling?
    As you complete each week of the program, you will receive an iHCPL bling to attach to your lanyard. At the completion of the program, you will receive a final bling and the iHCPL team will send a list of participants who complete the program to Human Resources. To receive training hours you must complete the entire program and do so by December 14.

Don't find your question answered here? Then enter it is as comment below.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Training Hours & iHCPL Bling

All iHCPL participants who complete all 23 Things by December 14 will receive 10 hours of training credit. Participants may carry over up to 5 hours of training credit to 2008.

In addition to training hours, all participants will receive an iHCPL Lanyard when they register their blog, beginning in week 2.

Beginning with week 2, participants will receive iHCPL bling to attach to their lanyard for each week they complete. Upon completion of the program, they will receive a final iSTAR bling.

Week 2: Blog  Week 3: Photo Sharing Week 4: RSS

Week 5: Avatars Week 6: Library 2.0 Week 7: Wikis

Week 8: Network Week 9: Video iStar

Bling was designed by Kaye Gregg of Allen County Public Library and is used and adapted with permission. The iStar mascot was designed by Krissy Conn at Cy-Fair.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Open Labs on Fridays

Throughout the iHCPL Program, open labs will be available on Fridays, from 9 AM to 12 PM, at rotating locations throughout the county. At these open labs, you can get assistance or just work on that week's thing. We strongly encourage you to work with your colleagues at your branch or in your department throughout the program, but if you're really stuck join us at one of the open labs, which will be open from 9 AM - 12 PM with assistance available.

Note: Labs do not count as extra training credit.

Week 1: (Sept. 14) No Lab Scheduled

Week 2: (Sept. 21) North Channel

Week 3: (Sept. 28) Library Administration

Week 4: (Oct. 5) Cy-Fair

Week 5: (Oct. 12) Freeman

Week 6: (Oct. 19) Barbara Bush

Week 7: (Oct. 26) Aldine

Week 8: (Nov. 2) Katy

Week 9: (Nov. 9) Library Administration

Week 10: (Nov. 16) Octavia Fields