Georgia’s Innovative Webinar Series

By Michelle Boule |
In June, some Georgia librarians launched something new. The Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Library Association’s Professional and Continuing Education IG started the GeorgiaWednesday Webinar Series. The purpose of these bi-monthly webinars is to provide free continuing education opportunities for librarians and to highlight some of the wonderful things going on in Georgia’s libraries.

Webinars are not new, but the focus of the webinars, Georgia’s innovative libraries and libraries, gives Georgia a chance to shine while sharing information inside and outside the borders of their state. Attendance is open to anyone who wants to attend which means that this webinar series has become an outreach and marketing tool, though this was not the original purpose.

Speakers have included well-known librarians from Georgia like Buffy Hamilton, Cliff Landis, and Bobbi Newman. Topics are varied and touch different aspects of librarianship in different kinds of libraries. Recent topics range from effective change, open source software, and teaching financial literacy skills.

The Georgia Wednesday Webinar Series is an ongoing project. It has been very successful, with 50-150 attendees per session, and the planning group intends to continue the series into the future. Pat Carterette, one of the planning members, recently said that the group has discussed branching out to include a webinar series that would highlight innovation in each of the 50 states.

I think this idea is a great model for how a small idea can lead to big ideas in the professional field. One of the best things about this series is that, not only can anyone join in a session, but all sessions are available in a free archive. I love free archives!

Here are some other ways to use this information and the model of the Georgia Wednesday Webinar Series in your library:

Publicize this series to your staff. The speakers are excellent, the topics timely, and the archives free. Facilitate a brown bag or online discussion for people who have watched ones that are of particular interest to your library.

Host your own Webinar Series. Think big and find some other group in your state to partner with you, find some librarians doing cool stuff, and go! Think smaller and highlight things going on in your community. If you are an academic or school library, you could highlight innovative teaching, technology, or research happening on your campus. If you are a public library, you could produce a series on local events or groups doing amazing community outreach. Creating your own series is a different way to produce valuable content while also publicizing your library.

Take the basic idea and change it to meet your needs and community. Instead of a webinar, start a podcast or a video blog. Make short clips. Choose a format and length that will suit your audience. Being able to adapt a basic idea, especially when it comes to technology is an important skill because so much about technology innovation and implementation depends on audience and needs. Do not be afraid to try new things.

Keep your eyes on the Georgia librarians. I have a feeling they have more great ideas up their sleeves.