Play 'Who's That Avatar?'!
That's just one of the games that will be played next month at the 23 Things victory luncheon in Allegany County. On Friday, October 5th, the group of finishers from ACLS will be getting together to share and celebrate their summer of 2007 learning experience. Not to mention that they'll be receiving their iPod Shuffles at the lunch as well! ACLS had a fantastic completion rate of almost 90% and it's hard to be put into the words the feelings of pride and satisfaction I have after being given the tremendous opportunity to work with the librarians in Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties this past summer as part of the 23 Things program. Celebrations are also in the works for Garrett and Washington counties, who also had extremely high rates of participation and completion.
Already I have noticed a change in the vocabularly of the library staff - words like wiki, avatar, and RSS, have become part of the vernacular. Also, the level of comfort with these new Web 2.0 technologies has increased tremendously! Library staff have already started putting ideas into action by taking the concepts and technologies that they learned as part of the 23 Things program and applying them to library services. For example, the Teen Committee in Allegany County has recently created a MySpace page for its teen community. Many more ideas are brewing and soon to produce other innovative services.
Of course, the path to 'Web 2.0 compliancy', as we jokingly call it, has not always been easy. Feedback from staff has shown that the instructions were confusing and overcomplicated at times and that the time estimated to complete each "thing" was grossly underestimated. Library staff became weary of creating yet another username and password and have accumulated lengthy lists for the many accounts that they had to create for the program!
Yet all in all, the 23 Things program in Western Maryland was an overwhelming success. Many staff members worked on the program on their own time and deserve tremendous praise for their hard-work and dedication for learning about these new technologies. For my part, I not only was given the chance to build stronger relationships with the librarians that I serve, but I also was able to lay the foundation for future programs of this type in my region. Hurrah 23 Things!