Technology Training
The Place of Technology training in Academic Libraries
in Virginia: An Exploratory Study

Title Page || Abstract || 1. The Problem 2. Literature Review 3. Methodology 4. Data Analysis
Tables (to be filled) 5. Summary and Conclusions || Questionaire || Bibliography





MAY 1995

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Table of Contents

p. ii

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List of Tables
    Table 1. Budget Information
    Table 2. Formal Staff Development in Technology
    Table 3. Funding for Staff Development
    Table 4. Technology Training Position
    Table 5. Public Institutions
    Table 6. Private Institutions
    Table 7. Total Formal Technology Training in Your Library
    Table 8. Importance of Technology Training in Your library
    Table 9. Rating and Spending on Technology Training
p. iii

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Baker, Darlejean. "The Place of Technology Training in Academic Libraries in Virginia." Masters Project, Department of Library and Information Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1995.

As computers are upgraded, library staff require additional training to perform their jobs efficiently. This study hopes to determine the priority placed on formal technology training in academic libraries in Virginia. It also hopes to determine the cost of technology training as a percentage of the total payroll at each library.

A written questionnaire will be sent to all the academic library directors in the state of Virginia to determine the priority placed on formal technology training. The questionnaire asks each director to rank the importance of technology training in their library, as well as how much money has been allotted over the last three years. It is predicted that academic libraries in Virginia spend less than one percent of their total payroll on formal technology training. This may indicate a need for academic library administrators to allot more funds for this purpose.


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Chapter I

Statement of the Problem

With the advent of electronic information sources in libraries came another challenge, the staff has to know how to use the hardware and the software. As these technologies are upgraded, additional staff training is required. "Problems in staff training, staff reassignment, and staff reactions to automation are common. Library managers have moved to use technology in their operations, but have not always considered the consequences and costs for employees." (Wright 1995, 3) "A vital training program provides, updates, and enhances the skills that make library staff successful in the current workplace." (Gherman and Painter, 1990,2) To complicate matters, library budgets are shrinking and there is a demand for increased productivity. If staff can utilize computer technology effectively, there will be an increase in productivity; however, effective use of these technologies is dependent on staff training on a continuing basis.

Much has been written about the need for high quality training, how to do it well, and how to keep the staff up to date on the constantly changing hardware and software programs. What is not known is how much is it costing libraries? This information has not been published as far as this researcher has been able to establish. It is hoped that this information will be useful to future planning for library budgeting for staff training, and may provide information for future studies.


The purpose of this proposed study is twofold. The first goal is to investigate the priority assigned to professional and support staff technology training by library administrators in academic libraries in the state of Virginia. The other purpose is to determine if there is a difference between public and private institutions in the priority given to staff training needs. This information is to be acquired by means of a written questionnaire to be sent to academic library directors, or to those individuals in charge of personnel training at the libraries.

Research questions

1. What is the total budget for the last three years? What is the total budget for technology training for professional staff? For support staff? What are the sources for these funds?

2. How does the amount spent on technology training compare with the overall spending for each year? What is the relationship between the level of spending on technology training and the priority assigned to that task?

3. How much staff is assigned to technology training?

Definitions of terms

Staff are defined as the entire group of persons who execute the activities necessary for accomplishing the goals of an organization. (American Library Association 1983, 214)

Professional staff are those persons with an MLS, who work at a professional level according to each library's personnel guidelines. (American Library Association 1983, 179)

Support staff are those persons without an MLS who work at a non-professional level according to the library's personnel guidelines. (American Library Association 1983, 222)

Technology is any type of computer related software, hardware, and on-line services used by library staff to accomplish their work. Training is the process of developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed by employees to perform their duties effectively and to meet the expectations and goals of the organization. (American Library Association 1983, 231)

An academic library is one which forms an integral part of a college, university, or other academic institution for post-secondary education, organized and administered to meet the information needs of students, faculty, and affiliated staff of the institution. (American Library Association 1983, 1)

Assumptions and Limitations

The assumptions made for this study are that automation is good and necessary for libraries to function, and training for library staff is essential to the service of a library's clientele. With every new trend in library technology, there is an accompanying need for training of the library staff. These assumptions are well known by library administrators. It is assumed that the questionnaire respondents will answer as accurately as possible. It is also assumed that people will respond to the question concerning priority (number six of the questionnaire) honestly.

This study will be limited by the fact that it will not be a national survey, it will only be a survey of academic libraries in the state of Virginia. The results can not be generalized to other locations or types of libraries without further study.

Works Cited

American Library Association. The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science. Chicago : American Library Association. 1983.

Gherman, Paul M., Painter, Francess O. "Training Issues and Strategies in Libraries", Journal of Library Administration. 12:2 (1990) : 2.

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Chapter II

Review of the Literature

Within library literature there are many published studies on training staff to work in an electronic environment. Since the advent of computers in libraries, articles and research reports have been written on almost every aspect of training. It is recognized that training is needed, in an article concerning computer literacy the author states "It is most important, of course, to provide adequate training in the various packages and methodologies, whether formal, that is, provided by an outside agency, or informal". (Dayall 1987, 4,6) Another article about how to train library staff states that "Training is an essential, and often overlooked aspect of technology." (Farmer 1991, 204) The author goes on to say "In the absence of proper training computer equipment may be underutilized, or the few "experts" may become overworked." (Farmer 1991, 204) In a chapter on organizational preparation for automated systems Dr. Wright discusess the need for training. (Wright 1995, 170-171)

There is an apparent consensus on the idea that there is no end to staff training and that "new software enhancements and modules, coupled with staff turnovers make an ongoing staff training program a must" (Freeman and Clement 1989, 79) In Thriving on Chaos, Tom Peters lists training as one of the key areas to be emphasized if an organization is to survive in the changing world. "And only constant training will provide the basis for constant adaptation." (Peters 1987, 324) In a more recent article where the author discusses many aspects of planning for technology in libraries he includes a paragraph on training .

Another factor that should be reviewed is training for the various technologies. Although most libraries have many staff who are skilled in using technologies, there is a fundamental need for training all library staff. The budgets for staff development or training are typically given short shrift as library administrators wrestle with competing demands. Unless there is adequate budgetary support for training library staff to utilize existing and future technology, the potential of the technology will never be realized to the fullest extent possible. Although it is easy to give "lip service to training, it is quite another matter to adjust work schedules and make the necessary accomodations to allow for time to train staff. Whether library staff or clients are involved, training in the use of technology will always take significantly longer than planned. (Marks, Kenneth E. 1992, 140-141)

There is almost no discussion, and no study, of the costs of this training in actual dollars or staff time in libraries. "Cost-benefit accounting related to training events is difficult except for very specific forms of training, and therefore there are few studies that attempt to show a direct linkage between dollars spent and values accrued." (Wilding 1995,86) Except for a recent 1995 book about academic libraries there is no discussion or studies on what priority library administrators assign to technology training in academic libraries. "It is crucial that library administrators share with other academic administrators a high value for the development and growth of their staffs.... In addition to financial support--and equally important--therefore, library administrators need to take a leadership role regarding training and development." (Wilding 1995, 84)

Laurence B. Heilprin predicts that the library "cannot survive much longer without significant internal changes made" (Heilprin 1991, 566) one of which is "by adding as a regular function some form of continued education for all, systematically focused on and selective of new relevant science, technology, skills, or forms of organization." (Heilprin 1991, 569)

Even in ARL documentation there have been no reports of money spent for computer training, only reference to how costly it is in terms of time.

Training Costs in Industry

Recently there have been some articles published in the business literature and government documents on the topic of costs of technology training to employers. Various sectors of the business world have been automated for years and have analyzed the costs associated with technological advances. In an article concerning the insurance industry, David Stambaugh discussed the fact that

despite the billions of dollars spent on technology since the late 1960s, productivity improvement in the insurance industry's services sector has been essentially flat. Extensive research studies concur that, to be effective, automated systems require reconception of the entire organization...A portion of the money saved through automation should be invested in training and development. Integrating systems and processes while upgrading front-line skills is the key to effective system utilization and the first step toward improved service quality." (Stambaugh 1991, 29)

In the banking industry as well, Michael Ramundo insists that "Corporate spending on training must go even higher if people are to be expected to keep pace with technological advances." (Ramundo 1991, 38) He also discusses the fact that the U.S. has a "technically untrained workforce" (Ramundo 1991, 39) which necessitates that employers spend so much on training.

In a Training article on the recession's effects on training, a survey of 264 chairmen of some of the country's largest industrial and service firms revealed that the biggest challenge these executives see in the coming decade is not foreign competition but building and keeping a qualified work force. The author believed there was a "sea change in attitudes toward training in the past few years" that "top management is sincere in saying that people represent a true competitive advantage." (Geber 1991,28) Tom Peters "advised top executives that the last things to cut during this recession were advertising, research and development, and training." (Geber 1991,28)

In their book Training in America, Carnevale, Gainer, and Villet discuss the economic implications training has for any organization, and the American economy as a whole.

Advances in information-based technology have been the major source of changing skill requirements in most American jobs. Data processing occupations continue to be hardest hit by the whirlwind of changing skill requirements that emanate from the ever new information technologies. This fact explains why data-processing employees receive so much qualifying training and upgrading." (Carnevale,Gainer, and Villet, 1990, 84)

Another book by Carnevale and Gainer, The Learning Enterprise, summarizes a portion of the research conducted under a two-year joint project of the American Society for Training and Development and the U.S. Department of Labor. One of their conclusions was that current commitments to training and development are probably insufficient. "In previous studies, the American society for Training and Development had recommended a commitment of up to 2 percent of payroll, but even the 2 percent target is not sufficient."(Carnevale and Gainer 1988, 48) Another of the recommendations made in this report was that "employers should work to improve the integration of human resource development into the institution by taking these steps: the chief executive officer must make training a priority and other steps to take to raise the priority of training in the organizational hierarchy." (Carnevale and Gainer 1988, 49) A journal, published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Evaluation Forum, devoted an issue called "Workforce Quality and Competitiveness: What Can We Learn and Use from Expert Opinion and Research?" in Summer 1993. Featured are articles about all aspects of the workforce including a section on training. Throughout the articles reporting on training, is the implication that U.S. employers need to "treat workers as an asset to be developed, rather than a cost to be controlled in order to develop the skills needed to respond to rapid and unpredictable changes in technology ." (U.S. Department of Labor 1993,9)

In order for academic librarians to stay competitive in the information marketplace they need to study the impact of and establish technology training as a priority for future development. Library literature shows that there have not been any research studies done on this topic for academic libraries to date and it is just beginning to be of interest as a serious factor to study in business. Furthermore, since it is an issue that is being written about in current articles and books about academic libraries this shows that there is a need for research to be done in this area.


Blalock,A.B. ed.,"Human Investment and Human Productivity." Washington, D.C. : U.S. Government Printing Office. Evaluation Forum. 9 (August 1993): 9.

Carnevale, A.P., Gainer,L.J. The Learning Experience. Alexandria, VA : American Society for Training and Development. 1988.

Carnevale, A.P., Gainer, L.J. & Villet, J. Training in America. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. 1990.

Dayall, S.A., "No Easy Task? Training Your Staff to Use New Software." Library Computing supplement to Library Journal, 112:8 (1987) LC4-LC6.

Farmer, Lesley, "The Myriad Faces of Training in Computer Use." Catholic Library World, 63:1 (March/April 1991) :204-206.

Geber,B. "The Recession Squeezes Training." Training. (April 1991) : 28.

Heilprin, Laurence B. "The Library Community at a Technological and Philosophical Crossroads: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Survival." Journal of the American Society for Information Science. (Sept.1991 : 566-573.)

Marks, Kenneth E., "Technology Programming for Libraries." North Carolina Libraries. 50:3 (Fall 1992) :137-141.

Peters, Tom, Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution. New york: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987.

Ramundo, Michael. "Training Is an Investment, Not an Expenditure." Bank Marketing. 23:11 (Nov.1991) : 39.

Stambaugh, David. "Automation : Has It Cut Agency Costs?" National Underwriter (Property/Casualty/Employee Benefits). 95:20 (May 20, 1991) 28.

Wright, Kieth. Computer-Related Technologies in Library Operations. Hampshire, England: Gower Press, 1995.

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Chapter III


The purpose of this proposed study is to investigate the priority placed on technology training for professional and support staff by library administrators in academic libraries in the state of Virginia. Also, to ascertain if public and private institutions give the same priority to staff training needs.

The methodology to be employed in this research study is a questionnaire which is to be mailed to all academic library directors within the state of Virginia (see Appendix A). A questionnaire was chosen as the most economical method of obtaining information from all the academic libraries in Virginia concerning their annual expenditures for technology training for their staff. The questionnaire will be used to gather data on the amount of money spent on technology training for all library staff. It will also show whether librarians who say that technology training is very important actually spend more money for it in their libraries. If libraries have special funds allotted for training, a correlation to how they rate techonology training can be shown. It will be shown where libraries get the money they use to fund their technology training. The data will show whether those libraries that spend the most on training actually rate training as very important. Also one can see from the information gathered which type of institutions spend the most on training, public or private? One would assume that those libraries that rate training higher do actually spend more money on it. Those libraries that allot special funds for technology training may also rate training higher. One would also assume that private institutions would spend a larger proportion of their overall payroll budget on training than public institutions since they often have more funds to work with.

Data Collection

The questionnaire will be sent to the library director of each institution. There will be a cover letter which will ask the participants to complete the questionnaire and return it by a certain date.

A first mailing will be sent on a pre-arranged date. Each questionnaire will have an identification number assigned to it so non-respondents can be determined. A second mailing of a post card will be sent out to remind non-respondents to return the questionnaire by the date assigned three weeks after the original mailing.

Validity & Reliability

The questionnaire will be pretested by sending it to at least five academic librarians in North Carolina. After the North Carolina librarians review and respond to the questionnaire, changes will be made to improve the survey instrument. Since the population is small, a response rate of at least 75% will be required to give reliable results to the survey.

Population & Sample

The population to be surveyed consists of all academic library directors in the state of Virginia, a list of them was obtained from Academic Libraries in Virginia, an annual report compiled by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. There are 77 academic libraries in Virginia. The sample and population will be the same due to the small number.

This study is intended to measure the amount spent on formal training for technology for staff of academic libraries. It hopes to establish an estimated percentage of payroll expenditure for formal training for technology. It is predicted that academic libraries in the state of Virginia probably spend one percent or less of their annual payroll budget on this type of training. It is also predicted that those library directors that rate technology training as "very important" will be spending a greater percentage of their payroll on this type of training. Because of the different sources of funding for private versus public institutions it is predicted that public supported academic libraries spend less than the private supported libraries on technology training.

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Chapter IV

Analysis of Data

Data analysis will show various comparisons about funding of, budgeting for, and staff allotted to formal technology training for the academic libraries of Virginia. There will be nine tables. Table one shows the libraries materials budget, and the libraries staff salaries budget as part of the total libraries budget for the years 1992-1994. Table two represents the amount spent for each year from 1992-1994 on staff salaries and benefits for in-house trainers, hired consultants, vendor training fees, conference and workshop fees, travel expenses and others. The information provided in Table three shows the sources for funds spent for staff development in technology. Table four shows the number of libraries that have a position responsible for overall technology training. For those who do not have a position it shows whether technology training is the responsibility of the supervisor, the department or a unit external to the library. Table five shows the total payroll, the amount spent for technology training, and the percentage of the payroll spent for technology training for the years 1992-1994 for public institutions. Table six shows the same information for private institutions. Table seven shows the totals for both public and private institutions for the amount spent on formal technology training. Table eight shows how the libraries that were queried rated the Importance of Technology Training, from Not Important to Very Important. It will also show the number and percentage of the respondents' answers to this question. Table nine will show the correlation between how technology training was rated, from "not important" to "very important", and the percentage of the payroll spent by the institutions.

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** Tables **

Table 1. BUDGET




Total Library Budget


Total Staff Salaries Budget


Total Materials Budget






Staff salaries & benefits for

in-house trainers


Hired consultants & trainers


Vendor training fees


Conference & worshop fees


Travel expenses


Other (__________________)


TOTAL staff development





Technology funding


Total "yes" to techology funding


Regular university budget


Special gifts




Grand funds (state & federal)


Earned Income



"No" to technology training


Supervisor's responsibility


Department's responsibility


Individual staff responsibility





Technology Training











Technology Training











Technology Training































% Spent

Rate 1

Rate 2

Rate 3

Rate 4

Rate 5











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Summary and Conclusions

This study will be a first step in assessing expenditures on training for technology in the academic libraries in Virginia. The American Study for Training and Development recommends employers spend two percent of their payroll on formal training and four percent overall. Large corporations are spending less than two percent. The academic libraries in Virginia are probably spending under one percent. As academic library budgets shrink there is a need for the most efficient work performance by all levels of staff. Keeping staff trained and up-to-date on current changes in software and hardware is crucial to providing the best service and access to the library patrons. Constant change in technology is a permanent feature of every academic library.

The findings of this study will encourage academic library administrators to evaluate their expenditures for formal technology training and consider whether or not each is providing an adequate amount. Although formal training is sometimes considered a luxury it is something that should be given a higher priority in academic libraries if they are to be competitive in the information marketplace.

The significance of this study is that it may show if there is any correlation between money spent by and the attitudes of academic library administrators towards technology training in their libraries. Another significant aspect of this survey is that it is a cost accounting for an important trend in academic library development. In the current budget crises of most higher institutions of learning it is important to realize the costs of keeping up with technology.

There are many facets of technology training in academic libraries which could be further studied. After this study it would be useful to discover how much time is spent by academic library staff doing informal training. Can informal training be costed out, would it be helpful to do so? Also, is there a trend to move away from formal technology training to a more informal method of training staff? If so, how do academic libraries account for this style of training? Another approach for further study of this topic would be to make the same survey on a national basis.

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This survey seeks information regarding technology training in academic libraries in Virginia. Technology is defined as any type of computer software, hardware, or on-line services used by library staff. This information will provide important data to further understanding of this necessary aspect of work in the field of information science. Your responses are valuable; please take a few minutes to complete this questionnaire and return it as soon as possible.

Instructions: Please fill in the appropriate blanks. There is space at the end of the questionnaire for comments, if more is needed, please use the back of the pages.

Confidentiality: You may be assured of complete confidentiality. The questionnaire has an identification number for mailing purposes only. Your answers will be treated as confidential, and will be reported in a statistical form that does not identify any individual or library.

1. Is your institution Public___? Private___?

2. Budget Information:
Total Library Budget________________ ________
Total Staff Salaries Budget________________ ________
Total Materials Budget________________ ________

3. Formal Staff Development in Technology:

Indicate the amount spent for each category.
1992 19931994
Staff salaries & benefits
for in-house trainers
________ ________________
Hired consultants & training________ ________________
Vendor Training fees________ ________________
Conference & workshop fees________ ________________
Travel expenses________ ________________
Other (_______________)________ ________________

4. Funding for Staff Development in Technology.

Does your institution have special, separate funds
allocated for technology training purposes only? Yes____ No_____

If YES, is the source for these funds:
____regular university budget
____special gifts
____grant funds
____earned income
other (specify)____________________________________

5. Staff Assignments for Staff Development.

Does your institution have a staff position which is
responsible for overall technology training in your library?
Yes____ No_____
If YES, is the postion ____full time
part time____ (estimate number of hours a week_____)

If NO, how is the responsibility for staff development assigned:
____responsibility of each supervisor
____responsibility of each department
____individual staff responsibility
____responsibility of unit outside of the library (name of unit)

6. Importance of Staff Development in Technology.

How do you rate the importance of technology training
in your library?

Not important || < Important > || Very important
1____ 2____ 3____ 4____ 5____ 6____ 7___


Thank you. Please return to: Deej Baker, Alderman Library,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2498

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Blalock,A.B. ed.,"Human Investment and Human Productivity." Washington, D.C. : U.S. Government Printing Office. Evaluation Forum. 9 (August 1993): 8-10.

Carnevale, A.P., Gainer,L.J. The Learning Experience. Alexandria, VA : American Society for Training and Development. 1988.

Carnevale, A.P., Gainer, L.J. & Villet, J. Training in America. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. 1990.

Dayall, S.A., "No Easy Task? Training Your Staff to Use New Software. Library Computing supplement to Library Journal, 112:8 (1987) LC4-LC6.

Freeman, Clement, R. "Critical issues in library automation staff training." The Electronic Library. 7 (April 1989): 76-82.

Gherman, Paul M., Painter, Frances O. "Training issues and strategies in libraries." Journal of Library Administration. 12:2 (1990): 2.

Geber,B. "The Recession Squeezes Training." Training. (April 1991) : 27-34.

Lippert, M. "Continuing Computer Competence: A Training Program for the '90s." Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science. (Feb./March 1994) : 18-19.

Marks, Kenneth E., "Technology Programming for Libraries." North Carolina Libraries. 50:3 (Fall 1992) :137-141.

Northrup, A., Kraemer, K.L. "Computer Benefits: Friendly Software, Computer Literacy, or Formal Training." Social Science Computer Review. 12:3 (Fall 1994) :

Ramundo, Michael. "Training Is an Investment, Not an Expenditure." Bank Marketing. 23:11 (Nov.1991) : 38-39.

Stambaugh, David. "Automation : Has It Cut Agency Costs?" National Underwriter (Property/Casualty/Employee Benefits). 95:20 (May 20, 1991) 27-29.

Peters, Tom. Thriving on Chaos : Handbook for a Management Revolution. New : Alfred A. Knopf, 1987.

Wilding, Tom. "Training and Development for Library Staff." Chap. 6 in Academic Libraries : Their Rationale and Role in American Higher Education. McCabe, Gerard B., Person, Ruth J., Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1995.

Wright, Kieth. Computer-Related Technologies in Library Operations. Hampshire, England : Gower Press, 1995.

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