Monday, September 24, 2007

Continuing Education for Librarians

As information professionals, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves about current technologies and information trends so we can continue to be relevant to our patrons throughout our careers. (I touched on this subject a bit here) This sounds like common sense, but I think we can all use the reminder. I don't know how many libraries support continuing education, but from my limited public library experience it appears that it is not emphasized enough. Let me just say that I think most of us don't want to end up being this librarian. I'd like to think this situation is an anomaly, but the fact is that many librarians do not embrace change, nor do they think their skills need to be updated regularly. I don't know if it's ignorance, apathy, or some other factor, but it appears that many leave library school and think they know everything they will need to know for their whole career.

This is a subject which I feel strongly about and could expound on at length, but instead I will offer some suggestions for continued learning. There is no one-stop shopping center for library continuing education and sometimes you need to poke around a bit to find something more sophisticated than Email 101 or Introduction to MS Excel. Here are some of the education sources I've come up with:

-Library schools. Many have continuing education classes; many of those classes are online so you can take them no matter where you live!

-Your library's network may have classes for members.

-State library associations also may offer courses.

-Conferences are always good learning opportunities with sessions on the latest trends and technologies. In addition to ALA, PLA, SLA and the other big national conferences, state and regional associations have conferences that are much less expensive to attend.

-Adult education centers. Many will include technology classes.

-Informal learning. 23 Learning 2.0 Things, reading blogs on librarianship, identifying topics you are interested in and picking up a book or going online to learn about those topics.

Any more suggestions? Leave them in the comments!

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