Professional Development

Professional Development

Posted on Monday June 25, 2007 at 10:51AM

There are many opportunities out there to further your library expertise and knowledge. Reading this blog may help you explore new and used technologies as they apply in library land. It is hoped that sooner rather than later you may find a broader range of topics here. However, this blog is really only here to inspire you and help you discover new things. So this entry will focus on pointing out a few places you can go for more in depth educational experiences.

Web Junction

Web Junction is an online community for library staff which offers a variety of online courses. Many of these courses are free and the rest come at a fairly reasonable cost. The topics range from technology to library advocacy. There are courses here for the beginner and the more advanced student. You can sign up for a free account with Web Junction and start learning immediately. Simply visit

Library U

Another online community similar to Webjunction. LibraryU is sponsored by Illinois Libraries and offers a variety of online courses on everything from library administration to cataloguing and reference. It appears that most of these web-based tutorials are free, you simply need to register. I tried a couple courses and found them relatively engaging. Many courses can be completed in an hour and your progress is saved so you don’t have to do the course in one sitting.

Online Programming for All Libraries (OPAL)

This online community looks very engaging. The “courses” are free and in real time. I’m very interested in this community so if anyone is brave enough to try out one of these interactive courses please let us all know how it went in a comment on this entry. There are book discussions and all sorts of things here. Apparently, the Library of Congress is sponsoring a session on July 18th on the history of the declaration of Independence. Yes, most of these education sites come out of the United States.

[email protected] or Lifelong Education @ Desktop

This is a project of the University of North Texas. There appear to be many engaging web-based courses available here. However, they seem to all cost around 20.00. Maybe if you find something particularly interesting you can get your board to part with a QEII. If you do please share your experience.

SAIT’s Library Operations Assistant Certificate

You may be interested in this program at SAIT. The program can be completed entirely at a distance. Courses appear to cost approximately 400 dollars each. I know several of our library managers have completed this certificate. Those of you who have please feel free to share your opinion on the program in a comment.

Education Institute

The provincial and territorial library associations of Canada, of which the LAA is a member, called the Partnership deliver web, teleconference and face to face workshops on a variety of library relevant topics. If you are a member of the LAA or another partner association you’ll get preferred pricing on these workshops.

ALTA (The Alberta Library Trustees Association)

ALTA offers training for library boards. If you are on a board it is highly recommended that you get this training. Library managers, you may want to help facilitate this training for your board.

FOIP Training

FOIP or Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy training can be had through the Alberta Government. In the library we are responsible for large quantities of personal information and FOIP training could help you to better understand your responsibilities in this area. Anyone who has taken the FOIP training i highly encourage to leave a comment; did you find it helpful, enlightening, a waste of time?

Diplomas and Degrees

For those really series about their education and who want to take their career to the next level don’t forget about the two library technician programs we have in this province. In Edmonton, Grant MacEwan, offers a 2 year diploma in Information Management and Library Technology. In Calgary, SAIT, also offers a two year diploma in Library Information Technology.

Finally, if you have completed your undergraduate degree you may want to think about a Master’s degree in Library and Information Studies. There are seven ALA accredited programs in Canada and Alberta is blessed to house the only program in the prairie provinces. Check out the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta.

Database Specific Education:

Want to learn more about Ebsco’s products and better searching techniques visit: You’ll find a variety of user guides and screencasts on this site which can greatly improve your ability to navigate Ebsco’s products. Moreover, you can signup for complimentary online training sessions.

For in depth help with Gale’s products visit Again, screencasts and user guides are available in plenty here.

Don’t forget about me

Learning our online resources is essential to success in our libraries. Please contact me about face to face training opportunities for you and your staff and the staff of other libraries in your area.

Are there other opportunities out there? Please let me know in a comment on this post.

Author: Northern Lights Library System


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