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Sunday, April 23, 2017

'Mover and shaker' Elgin librarian develops free web resource | Chicago Daily Herald

Photo: Elena Ferrarin
"A free, web-based curriculum of classes designed by an Elgin librarian to help patrons learn about technology is being used by fellow librarians as far as Europe." according to
, Staff Writer.

Monica Dombrowski, director of digital services at Gail Borden Public Library, developed "Gail's Toolkit," an online portal with ready-made materials to teach classes on topics such as Windows, resume writing, LinkedIn, eBay, WordPress and more.

There are 65 classes divided into seven tracks -- basics, Google tools, Microsoft tools, software and applications, job and career, social media and tablets -- downloadable by anyone, not just librarians.

Each class includes a guide, an activity sheet and a handout, and some have PowerPoint presentations and practice files.

There's a real need for libraries to teach digital skills and literacy, but many don't have the resources to train their staff members or develop their own classes, Dombrowski said.

"The thinking was, 'What if we were you? What would we need to help our community?'" said Dombrowski, 44, who was named by Library Journal among 52 outstanding "movers and shakers" librarians last month. "It was labor-intensive on the front end, but we knew it could be built."

Librarians throughout Illinois and in Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania use Gail's Toolkit, whose site got more than 25,000 page views and 4,200 site visitors after its launch Sept. 30, 2015, through the end of 2016.

Nina Yankova, who works at a regional library in Yambol, Bulgaria, said it's proven very useful in her everyday work.