This week we asked people who hire librarians:
Beyond conferences, what are your favorite sources for professional development opportunities? This could include anything from technology resources, e-classes, books, blogs, webinars, and beyond, with a preference for free or frugal opportunities for the job seeker wishing to stay current. These can be resources you personally use OR resources you (hope) that applicants for positions at your institution are using. No matter how basic, please share!
I find the most current developments reading e-list, particularly Autocat and RDA-L, less so Bibframe.
– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging
I think webinars, when done well, can be great ways to learn, including those offered by vendors and our professional organizations. Often you can register and you’ll get a link to the recording even if you cannot attend. Of course, the danger is that you’ll end up with lots of links to webinars that you never seem to get to (not that this every happens to me). And many of these are free or have low fees. There are a LOT of really great blogs and I strongly suggest managing them well using Feedly or some other tool. It’s also easy to let the posts stack up so it is important to be ruthless. If a post doesn’t grab your attention, move on. There is amazingly thoughtful and thought provoking writing going on out there and sharing and discussing blog posts is also a good way to encourage conversation in your library, at the coffee shop, or during an interview (!). If you are an academic librarian, sign up for the free email newsletters from The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed, or find similar enewsletters from other entities. These are easy to skim each day and you can always dig around for more on a topic that interest you. For those academic librarians, consider auditing a course if you can (and I hope your director will be supportive!). Need a statistics refresher? An intro course to a discipline so you feel more confident about collection development? If your institution let’s you audit, or even take a course for credit at no cost, try it. And, don’t underestimate the value of the unplanned, causal conversation. This isn’t a way to address a specific professional development need, but every day I seem to learn something new when a conversation about one thing leads to an impromptu opportunity to learn when someone says “can I just come around the desk to show you.” The biggest challenge can be making time for this, for writing, for job searching, and for everything else. Make it a part of your routine.
– Celia Rabinowitz, Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH
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