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Wrapping Up While Keeping Going

Susan Burkholder, our BTOP reports expert, completed her work for the project on June 29. She will be back to do some final close out however in the interim, she sends this FAQ with important information for the BTOP participating organizations.

Edge Benchmarks


How does the programming you’re doing in your Public Computer Center compare to others? What are some suggestions on how best to engage decision makers in your work? How should you think about staffing your PCC? We spent some time at Beyond BTOP sharing our experiences, but what are the best practices in the field? Sarah Washburn, from Tech Soup, led an overview of the Edge Benchmarks. These benchmarks, covering community value, engaging the community and decision makers, and organizational management, will help answer just such questions.

The benchmarks are a voluntary tool to help a library assess how well it is doing, what steps it can take to improve, and provide resources and support materials to help achieve the benchmarks. I heard after the presentation some ways that you all are already planning to leverage these industry standards. One library director is planning to rewrite job descriptions to include technology competencies, and these standards will help her have something to point to if the board or staff question why. How will you use the Edge Benchmarks?

Because of BTOP...

On November 8-9 we gathered Colorado library staff involved in managing public computer centers funded by a BTOP grant and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  At the beginning, we asked them to complete three sentences about their experience.  Below are some of the statements.

Because of BTOP I can teach...

  • Computer skills to those who are afraid of technology
  • with more confidence
  • students information literacy skills
  • senior citizens new stuff
  • my staff to instruct
  • Spanish language computer instruction
  • about ADA stations!

Because of BTOP I am skilled at...

  • sharing what our lab can do for the community
  • teaching newbies that the computer won't break!
  • helping patrons with technology questions/problems
  • setting up projector without IT guy
  • multi-tasking
  • helping folks who know nothing about computers overcome their fears and embrace these great new tools
  • making people feel more at ease with technology

Because of BTOP I am passionate about...

  • how technology helps kids adapt and learn
  • improving our community through technology
  • teaching low income populations about technology
  • using technology to solve real world problems for our patrons such as job hunting/applications, social security, financial assistance applications, etc.
  • reaching more people in our community
  • access for ALL!
  • bridging the digital divide
  • sharing out lab with other communities
  • connecting people to the world

What I am proud of accomplishing through the BTOP Grant

See you in Keystone for #CALCON12!

The BTOP team is headed to Keystone this week for the Colorado Association of Libraries annual conference, and we are excited to see all of our library friends from around the state! You will find us in preconferences, keynotes breakout sessions, and at the Colorado State Library booth in the exhibit hall. Please stop and say hello if you see one of us!

Most importantly, we are honored that the BTOP project won the Colorado Library Project of the Year award. We hope those of you who will be attending the conference will join us at the awards reception on Friday, October 19 at 5:30. This reception costs $25 and includes food and a cash bar. Please come celebrate this recognition with us! This recognition belongs to all libraries and organizations involved in making our project a success.

Our only BTOP related presentation is the "Train the Technology Trainer" preconference on Thursday from 9-12. There is still space available in this preconference, and you can register onsite that morning. There is a fee for this preconference. For more details, contact the CAL office.

We hope to see you in Keystone!

Mixology - what's your mix?


One new theme in your recent narrative responses on the monthly reporting is that many of you are still trying to discover what mix of classes, tutoring, and other instructional support is the best way to meet the needs of your users.  Here is what some of you had to say:

Open Lab with Instructor Support

  • Patrons here have so many different needs that it's hard to schedule classes that meet time and skill level. It almost seems better to offer regularly scheduled support time when they can get one-to-one or very small group instruction.
  • Structured classes for basic skills learners tend to fall apart quickly. They morph into one-on-one open lab sessions. Some folks don't know how to use a mouse and keyboard. Others have never used a GUI interface like Windows, etcetera. For beginners, at least, an open lab seems to be a better option.

Different Way of Offering Classes

  • We allowed more time in class for questions and for the students to experiment with what they learned. This seemed to be beneficial (a number of students mentioned to our instructor that they appreciated this).
  • Still struggling to find instructors - finally gave up and purchased Universal Class

Different Marketing Approach

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