Delivering the keys to ELM

Would I like to do training for a library on a Holiday? Would I like to teach that class at 8:00 a.m. at a location 45 miles away? and finally . . . . would I like to travel to that class in a snowstorm that was dumping 3 inches per hour over roads that were not plowed? Hmmmm . . . . the answers are “Sure”, “Well, OK”, and “What?”

Such was the case on Friday, the observed holiday of Veterans Day. I have been working with Wabasha St. Felix School and had assisted them in getting their IPs authenticated so that their students could use the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). ELM is a state-funded collection of online magazines. Friday November 10th was their scheduled staff in-service day, and they invited me to teach them how to use ELM.

One of the top reasons I love my job is visiting schools and libraries, showing people how to use ELM. Subscription databases of magazines that are funded through state $$$ have become so commonplace to me, that I am frequently surprised anew when I find out how many libraries and individuals have not discovered them. When I do training, I feel like Santa Claus – giving away huge amounts of magazines and references to expand their libraries. Every session I’ve taught has been nothing less than exciting. I constantly beg libraries to let me come in and teach exploratory classes in finding magazines that will be useful.

Friday in Wabasha was no exception. As tough as the driving was, all the teachers were there — many traveling as far as I had through the 12-inch snowstorm. It took the technology teacher an hour and a half to get from Goodhue (a distance of about 30 miles). We had great fun and all reported that they’d found valuable resources for their classes. One said she’d not used the computer much, but intended to practice using ELM.

And once again, I’ve got this warm, fuzzy feeling that I’ve contributed in a positive way to kids’ education (of course after I’d returned safely home through the snow). Next stop for the ELM roadshow — LaCrescent-Hokah, 3 weeks from now. I only hope for better weather.