This week on the SLIC blog our Digital Training Manager Louise Graham talks about her new role and some of the key objectives she will be tackling in the coming months.

 

Having set up two different docking stations and successfully connected to the office printer, I feel, with some relief, that I may have passed the secret practical element of recruitment to the role of Digital Training Manager and have started to settle in to my new role with SLIC for the next 18 months.

Realising Scotland’s Full Potential In A Digital World: A Digital Strategy For Scotland emphasises the role that local libraries play in supporting digital participation:

“…ensuring that we put digital at the heart of everything we do…it recognises the profound challenges that digital poses for the nature of work, for society and for both the world and domestic economies. It looks to create a culture and environment of partnership in which we take collective action to ensure that nobody is left behind and we all remain safe, secure and confident about the future.”

Public Libraries & Digital Inclusion

Since the launch of Ambition & Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-2020, public libraries have made significant contributions to local communities in digital inclusion and participation. Projects like the roll out of Wi-Fi, 3D printers and Code Clubs have been introduced to all services and other initiatives such as digital inclusion support for technology, resources and employability, and libraries supporting STEM and Makerspace activities have taken place.

When it came time to shape the strategy refresh, SLIC noted that the fast-paced changes in public libraries in recent years had highlighted a need to revisit the title of strategic aim 2: Digital Inclusion, to ensure that it remained relevant to the way in which services were being delivered.

“Digital skills are fundamental to the life chances of our people and the economic success of our country”

     

 A Digital Strategy for Scotland

Digital Participation & Innovation

As the focus has shifted away from inclusion in a separate digital strand, towards a digital aspect being woven through most, if not all, areas of our lives, the title of Strategic Aim 2 has changed to Digital Participation & Innovation, to reflect the fact that increasingly people will use, rely on and interact with digital technology and resources as a matter of course.

The project I’m working on aims to equip public library staff with the skills and confidence to support their communities in full digital participation through life.

One of the key objectives will be to refresh the Training in New Technologies platform to bring the content up to date to support frontline staff to deliver digital skills development programmes. The scope of this work will include a national training needs assessment to focus content creation and identify existing areas of best practice - from within public libraries, but also engaging with other partners and sectors to capitalise on how they have applied innovation and learning to digital skills training and development in their own fields.

Since the introduction of the original TNT which is hosted on Moodle, the landscape of devices, applications, platforms and technology has moved on considerably. Therefore, one of the project milestones will be to review and re-develop the current online learning platform itself so that we can create a sustainable digital workforce development framework for library staff in Scotland.

Developing The Framework

I’ll also be spending time working closely with the existing Digital Champions network to roll out face to face digital skills training sessions for library staff across all authorities and will work in consultation to develop a mechanism for contributing content and materials to the new staff development framework on an ongoing basis.

I’m excited to be offered this opportunity to work with colleagues across Scotland to put in place pathways and guidance designed to close the gap between the most and least digitally confident among us. None of us knows it all, and nor must we; our aim is to reach an outcome where all public library staff are confident that they have achieved a level of basic digital skills and are comfortable in an increasingly digital world.

It’s a crucial project which has the potential to enable libraries to play a central role in supporting a national movement to promote digital skills and ensure that library users across Scotland have a high standard of support for developing digital skills through their library.