Library Seminars

Welcome to our catalog of library seminars. All of the topics below are available for presentation at your library or through your library cooperstive or consortium and are delivered by George G. Morgan. Click on any topic link and you'll be taken to the abstract description of that presentation. Click on the link labeled Return to Top and you'll be returned to the top of this page.

Please contact George G. Morgan by email at or by phone at (813) 220-6274 to discuss availability and fees.

New Workshop

Soft Skills Topics
Technology Skills Topics



Public and academic libraries are involved with capturing and preserving the memories of citizens in their communities. Oral history interview recordings may already exist in many formats and need to be digitized. New projects need to be developed and organized, and plans made for digitizing them and making these materials available to the public.

Learn the principles of organizing and conducting oral history interviews in your community. Identify interview subjects, develop questions, obtain permissions for ownership and use, schedule and conduct interviews, and prepare to make interviews available. This all-day session will discuss all of these concepts, selecting audio and video recording equipment, and will briefly cover available editing software for both the PC and Macintosh operating systems. Transcription and other available software options are also discussed.

Start making history today!
Soft Skills Topics


Libraries and their employees’ roles have changed significantly in the last decade. Your “patrons” are now your “customers” and they are more demanding of information services than ever before. Print, electronic, Internet, and multimedia resources have dynamically increased the range of possibilities for satisfying customer demands. Your customers want you to be their information broker. In order to satisfy their informational needs and extend their research range, you have to adjust your methods of dealing with and serving your customers.
This workshop addresses key issues facing today's libraries in serving the modern library customer. It discusses: the importance of making every customer contact count; using your “global collection” to satisfy customers’ needs; and how to maintain enthusiasm and a positive attitude in all of your interpersonal contacts. Join the 21st Century and learn to meet the challenges of providing really extraordinary customer service.

Times have changed! The 21st Century librarian must interact with and conduct reference interviews with customers in more than one medium. These ‘polite customer service interrogations’ may now take place in the traditional face-to-face manner. Increasingly, however, these interactions take place via the telephone, by e-mail, or a virtual reference chat room.
Many library paraprofessionals and other staff members have never had the benefit of formal training in reference interview concepts and methodologies. Patrons either don’t or can’t always articulate exactly what they want or need. Therefore, the necessity of providing extraordinary service to their customers requires that every staff member be adept at interviewing in order to connect the patron with the information and resources they want or need.
This exciting and fast-paced, full-day workshop sets the stage with reference interview concepts, and uses role-playing and discussion to illustrate methods and to hone your skills. “Secret questions” are used to emulate real-life examples of customer reference interviews, and attendees will gain valuable experience interacting with different media.
Don’t miss this opportunity to really learn from an expert and from your peers all the tricks of the reference trade in the 21st Century.

The reference interview is really a “polite interrogation” through which you and your patron really come to an agreement as to what the real question or need is. During the interview, your mind races through the considerations of what resources you might be able to connect the customer with to satisfy the demand. These should include the print and electronic resources in your physical collection, the Florida Electronic Library, subscription databases to which you can provide access, Internet resources, digitized materials, and referrals to community resources of many types. But have you considered the digital resources that may be available? There are thousands of Web sites and databases at which digitized images of original source documents, photographs, and other materials have been made available. Digital materials can provide another dynamic resource to offer your patrons.
This workshop discusses the multitude of diverse electronic resources that are available, and provides a reference handout of commonly requested materials for which electronic materials are available.

This full-day session is geared toward reference librarians and other library professionals who interface with genealogy patrons of all levels. This insightful workshop covers the following topics:
  • What are Genealogy and Family History, and How Do They Differ?
  • Genealogy - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
  • Types of Genealogists and What Motivates Them?
  • Basic Genealogy Research Steps
  • Understanding Genealogy Forms and Documents
  • Types of Records Available to Genealogists
  • Collection Development Issues and Policies
  • Other Library Policies Related to Genealogy
  • Patron Expectations
  • What Other Resources/Referrals Can You Provide?
  • How Can You Best Serve Your Patrons?

Technology Topics 

Being able to locate something on the Web to help satisfy a patron’s need isn’t enough anymore. Among the tens of billions of Web pages on the Internet, it is your job to provide your patrons with the very best information possible. That means that you have to be able to locate the best quality materials and to help your patrons become savvy information consumers. 
This workshop will teach you to hone your skills in locating and assessing the quality of Web sites: origin, authority, accuracy, currency, bias, and more. In addition, you’ll learn how to locate more quality sites in a more manageable quantity to best serve your patrons. You’ll have lots of time for hands-on experience too!

We must use every resource available to satisfy customers’ demands. Among the tools we use are databases of all types. You have to know how to use the databases before you can apply them to customer requests and before you can teach your customers how to use them. Each database provider may use a unique user interface to access or query the content, and the search results often vary depending on the type of database and its content. 

This half-day workshop discusses and demonstrates how to evaluate various databases for their content, assess the user interface to use it, and methods for effectively searching for information, and how to evaluate the search results in order to home in on more specific results. Several commonly available databases in our libraries will be demonstrated.

Most people have learned how to use directories and search engines to locate information on the Internet. There are occasions, however, when you need a more thorough concentration of material on a given subject area. That's where a database might come in handy. 

There are literally thousands of specialized databases available through the Internet covering a broad range of subjects. There are databases containing full-text articles available at no charge. There are databases that provide indexes and abstracts to articles available for order at a fee.  And still others are available only on a fee basis. 

This half-day workshop will discuss how to locate databases that exist on the Internet but which may only be found using special search strategies or using topic-specific search engines. Learn how to locate and access these important resources. 

Families are a significant and specific service population. This group includes preschoolers and children in Grades 1 through 6, and sometimes higher. It also includes parents, teachers, and caregivers for these children who seek safe, high quality Internet resources for the children as well as advice and guidance sites for themselves.
This hands-on session discusses a wide range of informational categories to assist you in serving your youngest customers and their parents, guardians, and caregivers. Included is a reference list of than 120 categorized Web sites that you can explore and share with others back at your library. You'll find no better way to improve your children's service skills this year than by attending this great workshop. 

Young adults are sometimes referred to as the “lost patrons” because libraries don’t focus as much attention on providing as many resources for them as for other populations. During their formative and maturing years, they perhaps need more attention than your library provides, especially in the area of Internet resources. 
This hands-on session discusses a wide range of informational and entertainment categories to assist you in serving your young adult customers. Included is a reference list of than 200 categorized Web sites that you will explore in class and then discuss as a group.

Is your library's Web page all that it could be? Does it represent all that you have to offer community -- and to users across the world? If not, there are organizational and design changes you can make that will make yours a world-class library Web page.
This full-day workshop examines some of the best libraries' Web pages and the design considerations they use to bring their resources to the Web. Through lecture, discussion, use of Web page examples, and team exercises, you will gain insights into how to showcase your library's resources and facilities to their best Web advantage.   These include the following design considerations: 
  • Logical Grouping of Materials
  • Creation of Tool Sets for Patrons of All Ages, such as Government Links, Search Engine Collections, Homework Help Facilities and Online Newspapers and Periodicals
  • Addition of Your OPAC to Your Web Site
  • Deadly Omissions That Stop Patrons Cold Exceptional Navigation for Users

Blogging has exploded onto the library scene in the past three years. A blog provide a timely communication tool for you to communicate with people at many levels. Use it for program announcements, new additions to the collection, and book reviews, to name just a few applications., the recognized authority in tracking blogs and other social media on the Web, stated in 2009 that they have indexed more than 133 million blogs. What’s more, they reported that bloggers publish more than 900 million new blog posts per day. A recent search of their site revealed more than 10,600 library or library–related blogs have been published.
This session presents an introduction to creating blogs for your library. It focuses on choosing a free blog-hosting site, setting up your site, and adding text and photographs. If your library isn’t blogging, it’s missing opportunities.

The Internet has produced many new means of communication, and higher bandwidth available through cable and DSL providers allow users to experience high-quality audio and video. A relatively new technology is offered by the podcast – a simple audio recording that can replace audio- and video-streaming and allow for the broadcasting of spoken content. 
Libraries are looking at podcasts to enhance the way they communicate with patrons through public service announcements, audio clips of upcoming programs, book reviews, interviews, and even weekly remote children’s storytime. 
Learn how podcasting works and how it can enhance your library’s Web site and patron communications from the co-host of “The Genealogy GuysSM Podcast,” the longest running and most popular genealogy podcast in the world.
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The HeritageQuest® Online databases by ProQuest undoubtedly contain some of the richest American genealogical materials. Libraries subscribe to the databases, and most provide remote access to library cardholders from outside the library. The HeritageQuest Online databases include:
  • U.S. Federal Census Images for 1790 through 1930, which may be searched by name or which may be browsed by location.
  • A collection of more than 25,000 digitized family genealogies and local histories that have been indexed and are fully searchable by people, places, and publications.
  • The Periodical Source Index, better known as PERSI, is a product of the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. It contains information and citations about people and places from an index of more than 1.6 million genealogy and local history articles. Copies of articles may be ordered directly from the ACPL or another repository holding the periodical, or they may be ordered through your library via Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
  • The Freedman’s Bank was established to help African-American and other persons dispossessed by the U.S. Civil War to save money and establish self-sufficiency. It operated from 1865 to 1874, when it collapsed. The images and indexes provide amazing personal details and are a genealogical treasure.
  • A collection of indexed and searchable Revolutionary War Era document images, including those from the Revolutionary War, Indian Wars, and War of 1812. Pension files and bounty land warrant files have been digitized in their entirety.
  • The United States Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set, began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st Session (1817). HeritageQuest Online’s collection includes Private Relief Actions, Memorials, and Petitions from the Serial Set. The collection also includes content from the American State Papers, the predecessor to the Serial Set. The documents in the collection are from the years 1789-1969.
This seminar will help you unlock the power and content of each of these databases. You will learn how to move through the collection of documents, read and understand the source citations, zoom in and out of each document, and to reverse polarity of digitized images for maximum clarity and printability. You will also learn how to use the Notebook facility to mark documents and images of interest throughout your online research session, and then return to view the citations or actual materials, print them, download them, or e-mail them to yourself for later access. is indisputably the largest genealogical database in the world. It presents more than 40,000 databases and the number increases annually. There are collections for the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and China.
Ancestry Library Edition is a smaller version of the full collection, available by institutional subscription from ProQuest. Library Edition provides a robust subset of genealogical resources that your genealogy customers can use in their family history research. Learn the organization of the Library Edition database product and how to effectively search and browse the resources there.

The instructor, George G. Morgan, is the author of the first and second editions of The Official Guide to and shares his many years of experience working with the databases.
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The Genealogy Guys is a registered Service Mark of Aha! Seminars, Inc.