Update your skills freely (or at least cheaply)

Time is of the essence, especially we are asked to do more with less. That includes more professional development in less time and with less money. What’s a librarian to do? Beware of Googling for library-related professional development. You’ll run into some outdated links and abandoned blogs. Check out some of these resources that cover a wide variety of topics:

  • YALSA Academy: newly launched short and sweet web videos including using Twitter and customer service basics for working with teens. It’s just getting started, but look for more videos to come and considering submitting your own. These could be great for library staff to watch, too. And check out YALSA’s Professional Development Center online, too.
  • ACRL’s Online Toolkit: helpful information on advocacy, communication, info lit and outreach.
  • Attend conferences virtually: more conferences are offering virtual components to their real-life conferences. At a fraction of the cost, you can garner the benefits of conferences without waiting in line at Starbucks for 45 minutes. Of course, you’ll miss the swag and tequila shots…
  • Webinars: take advantage of these! ALA does a great job of keeping members informed of regular webinars on a variety of topics. Those not sure the price of membership is worth it should understand that joining entitles you to such professional development tools. Many companies are also supporting/hosting webinars. You can find out upcoming ones at places like School Library Journal or American Libraries. But we aware that companies hosting webinars are oftentimes hoping to interest you in their product. Still, it’s a chance for free information.
  • Subscribe to a listserv, or two, or three: ok, so this seems like a no-brainer that they tell you in library school. But are you doing this? Are you active on at least one? I get tons of ideas by querying both YALSA and ACRL listserv folks. They will tell you when something’s a good idea, or not. Learn about products before they hit the market. Stay connected through listservs. Here’s a good list courtesy of the Library of Congress.
  • Twitter: librarians are voracious Tweeters, as are many authors and techies. Here’s a good list to get you started.
  • Favorite blogs, sites, & wikis: a few I love and always get something out of include Against the Grain, The Scholarly Kitchen, Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki, A Library Story, Librarians Matter (check ou the post on 100 Articles Every Librarian Should Read), and Educause.

Hopefully this should get you started. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some DOWNTON ABBEY to catch up on.

One response to “Update your skills freely (or at least cheaply)

  1. Thank you so much for providing these resources. I am currently working in an Interlibrary Loan department, and considering going back for my MLS. In the meantime though, I’m going to take advantage of these free resources!

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