This is part of a series of Session Notes from grantees who have received Professional Development grants from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Each grantee will share their professional development experience and include tips and other resources from the workshop or class. Grantees had their choice of an article for the Compendium, a webinar or a podcast. This project was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
I recently took a course on Word Basics and Beyond from the Digital Workshop in Lancaster. The experience was very beneficial. Even though I’ve been using Word on a consistent basis, there were so many small tricks and timesavers that were brought up in the class that make taking a class worthwhile even when you think you know the product. The Digital Workshop is a small office where you can get training on a smaller scale, so you are able to ask questions and stop periodically when you don’t understand things.
There were three quick tips that I will use most days that I was glad to learn at the workshop. First though, let me say how knowing the keyboard shortcuts really helps. We were given a large handout with keyboard shortcuts on the back. This is invaluable. A few of the ones that are very helpful are:
Ctrl O: open a document
Ctrl Home: this gets you back to the beginning of a long document
Shift & Ctrl and left or right arrow keys: selects text a paragraph at a time
Ctrl & 2: will apply double spacing to any highlighted text in one sweep.
Another everyday quick trick is to use the large and small capital A’s next to the font type box on your ribbon. The large/small A makes highlighted text larger or smaller, so you can see what font size to use in your document rather than guessing a font size and going back to change it if it doesn’t fit. I use this all the time now for headings in newsletters and flyers.
One button that I chose to ignore for a long time is the show/hide button – and it can really come in handy! Many times I would see that my document contained irregular spacing issues and I could never seem to get them to disappear. With show/hide, it will show you where spaces and returns are in are in your documents. This way you can delete what you don’t need.
The last quick tip that I found useful was that if you go to the left side of the beginning of a paragraph and want to highlight the whole paragraph, just put your cursor at beginning of paragraph and hold shift while using the down arrow key or your mouse and you can automatically highlight that paragraph.
Google Apps workshop
My experience with the Google Apps workshop at The Digital Workshop in Lancaster included learning about Google Drive, Gmail and Google Calendar. Each of these apps is very useful and will give library professionals tools to use that they can access at home or work if they don’t have that capability through their network. These applications are also good to know in order to help patrons save work and photos that they can access at our locations and then from their school or office.
Google Calendar works much like Microsoft Outlook Calendar. One of the best attributes of the calendar is that you can ask someone to share their google calendar (like your husband) and you can look at the calendar simultaneously with yours. Once you have the other calendar on your list, you can easily look at it along with yours or not. I also like the feature that allows you to color code certain programs so that you can easily distinguish work meetings from personal items or tasks from appointments. The calendar is viewable in several ways. Agenda view is great for those of us who are much better at “to do” type lists where we can cross things off.
Google Drive makes it easy to access items you want access to from anywhere. We will begin using the google drive at work to share forms, logos and calendars that everyone in the office needs to be able to access. If you are looking at google drive in grid view, you can make folders and then drop and drag documents into them easily. The folders are displayed on top with files underneath. When you create a new document or take one from one of your folders, you can open it and at the top there is a little person with a plus sign. Click on this and it will ask you who you want to share the document with, making it easy to share this with anyone whose email you know.
Most people know about Gmail, but one helpful trick that I’d like to share is categorizing your emails. You can categorize your incoming emails to come in on separate tabs by going to the settings button, choosing configure inbox and then choosing which emails to separate. This way emails get automatically put into social, promotional or primary tabs. Then you can delete quickly all those pesky promotions by clicking on the promotion tab, checking it over once to make sure there’s nothing you want, then deleting the whole batch.
Friending Facebook (finally!), Twitter and Instagram.
To be honest, I’ve really never liked Facebook. Sure, I had an account. But I rarely checked it. As I didn’t need to use it for work, I really never became that good at posting or using extra features. But, after becoming a director at the Quarryville Library Center in February, I realized it was important to get on board and use Facebook to all of its public relations potential. Hence, my taking a two-hour class on using Facebook and Twitter for business.
If you are a social media expert, go to the next post. But, if you’re like me, just getting on board, then here’s a few tips from the class that have really been helpful.
Scheduling A Post: This is the best feature for a busy librarian. At your leisure, you can check out all your favorite internet sites about books, technology and programming, and in about one hour, schedule a whole week’s worth of posts. Here’s how:
· Find an interesting article (like PW summer picks)
· Highlight the url and hit Ctrl C
· Go to your companies FB page
· Click on publishing tools
· Schedule a post
· Click on Create
· With your curser in the dialog box, click on Ctrl V
· Delete the link url and write your interesting commentary
· Then schedule your post
If you allow others in your organization to be an administrator, they can schedule posts and your FB will always have something of interest!
Twitter is fairly simple to use, but my one tip to you would be to search for people you want to tweet at before you begin your post. Trying to guess someone’s twitter handle can be frustrating.
My instructor’s best advice though, when I kept adding that I needed to do all of this quickly, was to open an Instagram account. I thought, not another account! But actually, as Instagram can post directly to Twitter and Facebook, this has proven to be a great suggestion. Instagram is about as easy as it gets as even I could set up an account and start posting pictures within minutes. Just click the social media you want to share to and sign-in and a post will show up on your other accounts. So now, with little effort, I am letting pictures of events at the library, patrons and great books, and new programs do the “talking” to help us promote the library.