Technology for All: Janie Hermann
JANIE HERMANN, Princeton Public Library
By Staff -- Library Journal, 03/15/2007
It was an accident that former middle school teacher Janie Hermann discovered librarianship, which, she says, “I was really meant to do.” As technology training librarian at the Princeton Public Library, however, she's still teaching.
Colleagues say that before Hermann's arrival, the library scheduled only a few computer classes a month, but “under Janie's leadership, it offers more than 25 different computer and tech classes on a regular basis. Classes and drop-in sessions are held almost daily. Attendance has grown tenfold.”
Hermann provides programs for every skill level. Her Tuesday Technology Talks allow tech-savvy customers to explore emerging technologies. The DataBytes lunchtime series introduces customers to library databases. Other programs range from computer basics through digital photography, School for Scanning, and online genealogy.
Much of her instruction is informal. Readers in the adult summer reading program learned to share their opinions by way of a wiki she created. In the library's Gadget Garage, a technology assistant helps library users learn to use digital cameras, camcorders, photo printers, and other “gadgets” before they decide to purchase. (Hermann says shopping for the Gadget Garage was “beyond fun,” like being a kid in a candy store.)
Hermann enjoys being actively engaged with a world beyond her own library, through the blog Library Garden, the staff training and patron service communities at WebJunction, and numerous conference presentations. She says these kinds of contributions keep her “enthusiastic and excited about our profession” and help her stay ahead on new trends and technology.
Every personality inventory she's ever taken says that Hermann is “an extroverted risk-taker.” Uprooting herself from her Canadian homeland and moving from teaching to librarianship, she's remade her life and her library.