Training the Community, Volunteer Management, Telecommunity Centers

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Catherine Sellman, Sara Behrman,
Sheryl Cormicle Knox

Catherine Sellman
Notes URL:

Catherine Sellman, community outreach and training coordinator for Telluride, Colorado's InfoZone Community Net, advocates "community network evangelism" as a driving force behind expanding public access. And hand-in-hand with rapid expansion of public access is the need to be prepared for success, to nail down technical issues as they arise, as more and more people desire access. For InfoZone, the means to free public access include high visibility in public places--Satellite Telecommunity Centers--such as coffee shops, banks and the local public library. InfoZone provides frequent, accessible and free training in weekly one-hour classes.

Sellman addressed a common need of InfoZone users: they all desire communication both inside and outside the community. To this end, InfoZone has worked closely with other media, such as newspapers and radio, to expand their connection with the public. For example, a local paper has begun an "offline column" relating directly to InfoZone. Sellman also emphasized the need to be proactive and flexible in community network policy-making.

Things to remember as a teacher for a community network:

  1. Focus on students' reasons for being there
  2. Stay visual and use metaphors
  3. Let them do it
  4. Keep lingo in check
  5. Teach from the outside in
  6. Be Accessible
  7. They will show me something I haven't seen
  8. It takes repetition
  9. Prepare them for a LONG and STEEP Learning Curve

Sheryl Cormicle Knox and Sara Behrman
Utilizing an in-depth approach to training librarians in technology and community network development, the Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative is expanding public access to technology. Sheryl Cormicle Knox, Cybrarian and Sara Behrman, Director of the Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative emphasized the importance of collaborations in achieving goals of public access and community networking. With LSCA (Library Services and Construction Act) funds and collaborative efforts on the parts of the University of Michigan's School of Information and Library Studies, the Kellogg Foundation, Apple, the Flint Public Library, and others, the Cooperative has established three Internet training sites in three public library locations.

Supportive Environment

What We Learned Along the Way

Training Strategy

Training Alternatives

Implementation Tips

Relationships with Community Networks

Interagency Partnerships

Notes contributed by Theron Feist, FairNet (Fairbanks, Alaska)

Summaries by Mara Beverwyk, University of Michigan School of Information