Friday, November 7, 2008

Professional development for librarians

Once you've left library school, where do you go for additional professional development, especially courses for library skills development? If you're already in library work but are getting that creepy, uh-oh, was I supposed to know this? feeling, this is a Sign that you need some PD.

Professional development can help with transitions: if you are an academic librarian who wants to leave the academy but not the library, you can take professional development to help you transition to public or special libraries, or into self-employment. It's harder to get your employer to pay for that type of development though, so you need to look for reasonable-cost options, or know that the investment you are making is the right one for your career. This post explores PD options for people who have their Masters, though there are many great programs for skills-development for people who work in libraries who don't have their graduate degree.

You can start with Web Junction, which has a wide variety of professional development options, from technical skills, like XML, to customer service skills. You can also try Simmons School of Library and Information Science. I mention these two because I have personally taken classes from them that I have liked, they were affordable and I was able to take them at a distance.

Your state or provincial professional library association may also be of assistance, but I have not found many online courses, or courses that include a certificate for completion, from my local library association. This is an area that I think requires further exploration by regional library associations. The ALA does offer a professional development centre that you can use to begin exploring options and rounds up some of the professional development options offered by different ALA divisions.

I could mention conferences, but the problem with conferences is that you can say you went and talk about what you learned, but you didn't get certification (as far as I am aware) for attendance at sessions. Sometimes skills-building professional development requires a certificate. Some employers won't pay for training unless a certificate is involved, or at least a demonstration that these skills are necessary for your work at their library.

We all could use a refresher, or exposure to new ideas, since libraries are just one of the many industries that are subject to dynamic change, whether technical change, or the librarians need to acquire new soft skills to deal with their day to day work.

No comments: