CLENE has a lot of wonderful stuff going on at ALA: Programs, Preconferences, a Discussion Group, and more! We hope to see you at one of our programs and, as always, you’re invited to join us at our Board meetings; to participate, observe or just drop in to say hello.

PRECONFERENCES on Friday July 10

  • SOLD OUT!! AM Preconference: Making it Stick: Designing, Delivering, and Surviving Presentations: A polished and memorable presentation requires skills that depend on your ability to work with, influence, and persuade your audience. This interactive hands-on workshop will help you understand and develop rapport with your audience; develop active content in your presentation; help you learn to be comfortable in front of your audience; and understand when and how to use support materials.Speakers: Lori Reed, Employee Learning Coordinator for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library; Paul Signorelli, writer/trainer/consultant for libraries and nonprofit organizations (Paul Signorelli & Associates).
  • SOLD OUT!! PM Preconference: Punch it up with Pictures: Presentations with visual power: Are your presentations riddled with bullet points? Visual images often speak louder and more succinctly than words. In the tight format of a PowerPoint presentation, strategic use of images can convey more meaning than bullet points and text. The presenter skills you learn in the morning workshop on delivering an unforgettable presentation will shine brighter when your support materials complement rather than compete with you. This workshop will help you to understand how visuals communicate, show you where to find free-use images, and share some best practices for editing and adding images to your presentations. Speakers: Tony Tallent, Director of Libraries & Arts for the City of Boulder, Colorado; Michael Porter, Interactive Strategy Manager for WebJunction; Betha Gutsche, Learning Initiatives Developer for WebJunction.


Friday, July 10

  • Making it Stick: Designing, Delivering, and Surviving Presentations, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. Location: MCP W-476
  • Punch It Up With Pictures: Presentations with Visual Power, 1:00 pm – 04:30 pm. Location: MCP W-476
    Friday, July 10th, 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
    Potter’s Lounge in the Palmer House Hilton Hotel
    17 East Monroe Street, Chicago 60603

    You’re invited to the CLENE Happy hour at ALA for a few hours of networking, conversation, and a whole lot of fun!  Our Happy Hour coincides with LITA Happy hour, so you can hang and network with two great groups at once!  Hope to see you there. (Cash Bar)

Saturday, July 11

  • Creating a Culture of Learning in Your Library, 1:30-3:00. Location: HRM Conf. Ctr. 10 a/b
  • How To Develop a Mentoring Program, 3:30-5:30. Location: MCP W-178b

Sunday, July 12

  • Training Showcase: Best Practices for Continuing Library Education, 1:30-3:30. Location: MPS S106

Monday, July 13

  • Staff Development Discussion Group, 1:30-3:00, MCP W-470a


  • CLENE Board Meeting I, Saturday, July 11, 8:00-12:00. Location: MPS S101b
  • CLENE Board Meeting II, Monday, July 13, 8:00-10:00. Location: MPS S101b


Friday, July 10

  • Making it Stick: Designing, Delivering, and Surviving Presentations, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. Location: MCP W-476
  • Punch It Up With Pictures: Presentations with Visual Power, 1:00 pm – 04:30 pm. Location: MCP W-476
    Friday, July 10th, 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
    Potter’s Lounge in the Palmer House Hilton Hotel
    17 East Monroe Street, Chicago 60603

    You’re invited to the CLENE Happy hour at ALA for a few hours of networking, conversation, and a whole lot of fun!  Our Happy Hour coincides with LITA Happy hour, so you can hang and network with two great groups at once!  Hope to see you there. (Cash Bar)

Saturday, July 11

  • CLENE Board Meeting I, 8:00-12:00. Location: MPS S101b
  • Creating a Culture of Learning in Your Library, 1:30-3:00. Location: HRM Conf. Ctr. 10 a/b
  • How To Develop a Mentoring Program, 3:30-5:30. Location: MCP W-178b

Sunday, July 12

  • Training Showcase: Best Practices for Continuing Library Education, 1:30-3:30. Location: MPS S106

Monday, July 13

  • CLENE Board Meeting II, 8:00-10:00. Location: MPS S101b
  • Staff Development Discussion Group, 1:30-3:00, MCP W-470a

Hotel Abbreviations

What happens when graphic designers try really really hard to be boring and to put the viewer to sleep? Check out Before&After’s Bedtime Book Cover challenge for a bit of light diversion before the holidays.

156 designers responded to the challenge to be boring. And many of them did not succeed.

I wonder what the contest results would look like if online instructional designers were given the same challenge. How high do you think the percentage would be of successfully sleep-inducing course modules?

An interesting thing is happening in the San Francisco East Bay area: a local chapter of the American Society for Training & Development is becoming the trainer-teacher-learner’s version of a literary salon, and its community of members has increased by nearly 33 percent (from 62 to 82 members) in less than six months.


Here’s how it’s evolving: Three of us who work on programming for the ASTD Mt. Diablo Chapter’s monthly two-hour dinner meetings at the Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville decided to build off of the Chapter’s tradition of bringing in the best available speakers on the interrelated topics of training, leadership, and human resources; we encouraged presenters to use engaging, cutting-edge presentation styles while playing off of the camaraderie which existed within the small group of 10 or 15 repeat attendees.


Chapter member Steven Cerri, presenting on the topic “Why Most Training Isn’t Sticky and What to Do About It” at the Chapter’s April meeting, didn’t just cover the topic effectively; he frequently called attention to the techniques he was using and, as a result, kept the event lively, personal, and sticky for the audience he was addressing. And that’s when the magic began: the regulars had never been shy about engaging speakers and each other throughout the monthly formal presentations, but they upped the ante—and made the experience memorable—by being part of the discussion rather than sitting back, listening passively, and politely asking questions while Steven stood before them. And when the hour-long formal program was over, people didn’t quickly empty the room. The discussion continued informally for at least another half hour.


Daren Blonski, VP of Leadership Development for Sonoma Learning Systems, inspired an equally engaging exchange the following month on the theme of what trainers need to know to function effectively in multigenerational workplaces. We worked together, as he prepared his PowerPoint slides, to incorporate a Cliff Atkinson Beyond Bullet Points style to his presentation—creating a visual narrative flow from slide to slide without using much text. The level of engagement between Daren and the other participants—it would be inaccurate and unfair to refer to them as an “audience” in this context—was electric. Daren didn’t even use all the slides he had prepared; he took advantage of the lively interactions to cover the material, and the discussion continued informally for almost 45 minutes after the monthly meeting was formally adjourned.


Provokare Presentations Founder Roberto Giannicola, at the Chapter’s June meeting, took the process over the top. With visually stimulating slides, a puckishly engaging sense of humor, and a presentation virtually free of bullet points (except when he was using them to show how ineffective they can be), he set an enormously high bar for all presenters who will follow him at Mt. Diablo Chapter dinner meetings. He facilitated a very lively discussion on how the combination of  imagery and storytelling creates effective learning experiences, and it was again with reticence that everyone parted ways nearly an hour after the meeting ended.


It hasn’t taken long for the word to spread. That small community of regulars in March has quickly expanded so that the Chapter’s meeting last night, featuring ASTD Senior Chapter Coach Scott Wilson (based in Washington, D.C., but traveling under the auspices of ASTD to serve as keynote speaker for the event), drew 32 participants—nearly half of them first-time attendees, and two of them returning after at least a few years away from the Chapter. One after another, they confirmed that they were drawn to Scott’s presentation on “Current Reports and Best Training Practices from ASTD’s National Office” because colleagues have been telling them about the “incredible energy” that is coming out of the Mt. Diablo Chapter presentations and discussions. And, of course, it was no surprise to find two people standing outside in that warm summer evening weather 90 minutes after Scott’s formal presentation ended last night. Which suggests that we may not be far from seeing after-meeting discussions which exceed the two-hour time frame for the formal dinners and presentations themselves.


For more information about the Chapter’s activities, please visit its website.


My learning style is about as visual as they come. Which means I like to load up my PowerPoint presentations and online instruction modules with images. Just yesterday, I spent a lot of time in Google Images and Flickr searching for the just right photo or graphic to illustrate an upcoming presentation. I’m sure you know how tedious it is to scroll down each page of results, click to the next page, scroll down, click, …until eye and mouse fatigue set in.

Now there’s PicLens! It wasn’t until this morning that I found Jenny Levine’s recommendation for this very cool tool. Tedium transforms to levitation. There is a sense of flying past the 3D image wall, hovering over sections, zooming in and out for near and far perspectives—a dragonfly view of the online image world. Using the same Google Image search that I had performed yesterday sans PicLens, pictures that I hadn’t noticed before jumped out at me. I could scroll the length of the few hundred results with fluid ease instead of giving up after 3 or 4 pages. You’ve just got to try it to appreciate the experience.

Downloads are available for Firefox, IE, and Safari. It only works on certain sites like Google Images, Flickr, Facebook. I found it pretty intuitive to use, but tutorials are available just in case.

At SOLINET, we are trying new and funky ways to make sure not only our fellow staff members know what we do, (hitting my co-workers on the head with a club hasn’t helped so far) – but also people we meet out in the field.  We created trading cards to give out – including some fun facts about ourselves but also some relevant information that would be useful to explain what we do and who we are, to people.  What we found was that some fellow staff members weren’t always sure who taught what – and who was responsible for what subject matters.   Hopefully this will be a fun way to get that information across.

If all goes well – meaning the cards have a warm reception by our staff members, we may give some out to attendees at our upcoming SAMM – (SOLINET Annual Membership Meeting).   The cost was quite good, and we even had them printed on post-consumer waste paper to fall in with our green initiatives this year. Just to give you an idea of the cost of the trading cards – we made 40 cards of 6 people each and it cost $70. The size of the cards when printed will be 3.5″ X  2.5″. We are doing a Training Showcase here next Monday (24 March) to promote our newest classes to staff members and each will get one of our cards.

Here is an example of the front of my card:

Trading Card of Max - Front

And the back of my card:

Trading Card of Max - Back
What sorts of interesting promotional things do you do?

If you haven’t ever tried mind mapping tools, you may be surprised at how valuable they are in helping people learn.

My first introduction to the technique was over 20 years ago at a presentation by David Thornburg, author of Unlocking Personal Creativity: A Course in Idea Mapping. In those days we used paper and color pencils to be creative.

One of the exercises I currently use in teaching Effective Time Management for Library Staff online for Infopeople involves mind mapping. The goal of the exercise is to create a life map, i.e. a visual recap of the roles one plays in life. Below is my most recent life map. I designed it using Inspiration software. There is a free 30 day trial download available for both Macintosh and Window users.


Here’s another mind map I also did using Inspiration for one of my courses; I loved having such a wide variety of shapes, colors and graphics. This map recaps a concept from Many Moons by James Thurber—that each of us has a unique perception of what exists. If you missed the book when you were young, be sure to look for it at your local library.


If this quick look didn’t give you enough of a flavor of the technique, I suggest you look at the Mindmapping in 8 Easy Steps tutorial by Joyce Wycoff, author of Mindmapping: Your Personal Guide to Exploring Creativity and Problem-Solving.

And for those of you willing to try a free web 2.o mind mapping tool, there is Bubbl. Below is a simple example I did as a very simple introduction to Bubbl for my time management course participants.


… the widespread use of Post-it™ notes and cheat sheets reveals a lot about the way people learn and how they apply that knowledge to their jobs.

This is from an intriguing post by Tom Kuhlman on the Rapid E-Learning Blog: What We Can Learn About Instructional Design from Post-it™ Notes. I have to admit that I recognized myself in the description of a typical e-learning designer, who has a tendency to include “more information than is necessary to learn the task.”

After reading it, I did a quick tour of my office to see how many people had post-it notes scattered around their desks. Fourteen out of sixteen desks had visible post-its or equivalent note scraps. Why is the Post-it note such a winner?

  • Its small size forces you to record the bare essence of a thought or instruction. In Kuhlman’s words, a note does not contain all you need to know, but what you need to do.
  • It can be stuck on things to easily catch your attention.
  • It can be grouped with other Post-its and rearranged as needed.
  • Only the most immediately relevant bits of information stay within view, limited by the area of your desk.

I’m not going to convert all my training materials to Post-it notes, but I could do more to apply the “what you need to do” filter to instructional design. Along the same lines, Presentation Zen tells us we need to choose between deep or wide scope. “How much can I cover today vs. how much can my students absorb today?” Why not think of a PowerPoint presentation as a series of Post-it notes? Pare each slide down to the shorthand essence of what you want to convey.

Think Post-it! This is my new mantra. I have a Post-it on my laptop to remind me.

Sharepoint 2007 has five templates for building sites on your organization’s intranet: team site, blank site, document workspace, wiki site, and a blog.  Each template has obvious uses.  A team site is useful for organizing, authoring, and sharing content.  A blank site is completely empty and highly customizable.  Document workspaces are used for teams that need to co-author a document, and the site supports various project management functions native in MOSS, such as task assignments and issues tracking.  A wiki site is for brainstorming and sharing ideas.  Finally, the blog site is utilized for sharing observations and allowing for others to comment.

While each template presents advantages for workflow, I want to take a few minutes and share how the blog site in Sharepoint can be harnessed for more creative purposes.  When I think about corporate blogs, I think of them as online journals in which the blog’s author is typically ranting to the ether.  We all know that corporate blogs often suffer from low use, even though they are implemented to open up dialog.  Many employees could care less about someone’s musings from a conference.  We duly note their indifference when we look at site usage statistics, or more obviously by the lack of comments under each post:)

So, how can we encourage better participation with blogs on Sharepoint?

1.  Aesthetic appeal: The Site Designer permission group in MOSS allows you to change the look and feel of your site.  Change the Theme of your site to something befitting your content.

2.  Get dynamic: Web parts are your friend.  Use the Content Editor Webpart to add images, tables, and embeddable content like video.  Remember that most videos on Youtube, or popular podcast sites like PodBean contain embeddable source code. 

3.  Redux: Remove from the template any webparts your users won’t need and DO NOT add unneccesary webparts because they look cool. 

4.  Stop playing “Mother May I”: Sharepoint is intended to share content and ideas.  Don’t construct your blog permission sets in such a way that discourages participation.  Ideally, the blog’s administrators should at least have Design permissions, and everyone else should have Contributor permissions.  The Contributor permission set will allow all staff members to start new posts (with publication pending approval from the site’s admin) and also freely comment on existing posts.  Making your blog Read-Only isn’t cool!

5.  Experiment: Your internal blog can be so much more than an online journal.  Build a blog as an organizational FAQ and allow staff members to post new questions.  Build a blog as a virtual book discussion.  Build a blog for sharing best practices with your organization’s new technology.  Your users will appreciate your creativity.

Below are images of two Sharepoint blogs I’ve constructed based on these simple, yet effective design principles.




When Marianne Lenox offered to give a WebJunction Learning Webinar on Personal Learning Environments (PLEs), I had to go research what she was talking about.

I learned that the term applies to a variety of systems that help learners creatively manage their own learning. There are as many variations on the environment as there are tools and learners. As one blogger said, “a PLE is as much a state of mind as anything else.”

Marianne is one of those trainers who overflows with innovative ideas, so I am really looking forward to getting the lowdown from her on setting up my own PLE. If you want a front row seat for her Start You Up! webinar next week (Dec 5th), you can either register for the event or just show up by following these instructions.

If you can’t make it, I will share what I learn in a future post here on the Buzz.

Sometimes when I teach Information Literacy, I try to come up with unique ideas to teach how to verify information on the web. What I have found to be fun as well as informative is using strange news to achieve this. Some examples include:

  • In November, Britain’s new weather-themed Cool Cash lottery game was canceled after one day because too many players failed to understand the rules. Each card had a visible temperature and a temperature to be scratched off, and the purchaser would win if the scratched-off temperature was “lower” than the visible one. Officials said they had received “dozens” of complaints from players who could not understand why, for example, minus-5 is not a lower temperature than minus-6.
  • Belleville, Ill., psychiatrist Ajit Trikha pleaded guilty in June to defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of at least $1.85 million, including invoices claiming he worked more than 24 hours a day on 76 different occasions (40 hours on one day and treating 83 patients in 2 1/2 hours on another). He also claimed to treat patients 1,267 times in Belleville while he was traveling in Europe.
  • A fiery auto crash in July near Augusta, Ga., had killed the driver and would likely kill the passenger, too, if the fire were not immediately smothered. Firefighters were still minutes away, but passing by was a pump truck from a local plumbing company, whose quick-thinking driver extinguished the flames with 1,500 gallons of raw sewage from a septic tank-cleaning job he had just finished.

These three stories come from News of the Weird. There is a great and simple lesson plan on this site, which has the students break into groups and try to verify the information using a variety of reputable news sources including Lexis-Nexis.  What types of stories or sources do you use to teach verifying information on the web?

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