Thursday, May 19, 2011


E-book tutorial from the Carmel Clay library.

Online patron tutorials are a way to teach patrons about our resources in a way that they can access from home at any time. They are also used by patrons who are reluctant to ask for help. Usually they are created using a video camera or screencasting software ware such as Captivate or Camtasia.

Online tutorials should be available in several places on the library web site: on a banner with rotating "tutorials of the day", on a dedicated page, next to the resources it discusses (databases, e-books, etc.). They should be promoted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Libraries can partner with other agencies. Dallas Public Library offers a tutorial on applying for a job with the city of Dallas. Screencasts can be done in multiple languages, and the software usually has closed captioning.

Requirements for screencasting:

  • Time to do it

  • Training-can learn screencasting in an hour

  • A good microphone

  • Screencasting software (there are free options)

  • Subject expertise--staff should have this, they train patrons every day!

  • Hosting--some libraries pay to have tutorials hosted on their own web site, however there are free sites like YouTube that will do it for you.

Screencasts shouldn't be more than 3 minutes, and they should be light and informal. They don't have to be perfect or have fancy production values.

Should your library use online tutorials?

  • Do you have commonly asked questions?

  • Do you have resources accessed remotely?

  • Do you have excellent resources that aren't getting enough attention?
Then the answer is yes!

Handouts and an archived version of the webinar are available here.

--Andrea @Central


CentralLoop said...

Thanks for sending this out. I could see a brief tutorial for primary/secondary resources. I mean, maybe five minutes tops, for those kids in a hurry.


Melissa said...

It was really interesting how they did a lot of show not tell - like when they showed how to delete a book from ADE.