February 16, 2018

Michael Stephens | Movers & Shakers 2005

And Gladly Teach

When St. Joseph County Public Library (SJCPL), IN, became the first U.S. public library to offer public Internet access, Michael Stephens discovered he had a knack for technology and for teaching people to use it. SJCPL’s Julie Hill says, "Michael keeps up on technology trends and constantly condenses it into manageable nuggets of information for the staff."

Word spread about how effective (and entertaining) Stephens’s training sessions were, and he was soon presenting workshops for other libraries. In 1997, he began teaching the required computer literacy course for all library school students at Indiana University, South Bend. An editor urged him to write about his work, resulting in The Library Internet Trainers Toolkit (Neal-Schuman, 2001), a set of ready-to-go workshops for tech trainers.

Even as he was taking on ever more responsibilities at SJCPL, he realized he wanted to focus on teaching and writing. He was one of ten students awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant to earn a Ph.D. in library and information studies and join the next generation of LIS faculty.

Stephens also teaches through his web log, Tame the Web. Karen Schneider admires its "advice, encouragement, and examples of good technology implementations." Stephens believes librarians must exploit every opportunity for knowledge and change, because "new library users must encounter new librarians whether via the desk, IM, a wiki or blog, or some new virtual format we haven’t even seen yet." And he believes we must help each other do this.


Current Position Head, Networked Resources Development and Training, St. Joseph County Public Library, IN, and adjunct faculty, Indiana University – South Bend

Degrees MLS, Indiana University, 1995; Ph.D. candidate, University of North Texas

Web log Tame the Web (www.tametheweb.com/ttwblog)

Happiest Hiking in northern Michigan with his two Labradors