Training and professional development –  Joan Weeks,  Anya Feltreuter 

This blog post is part of a series of posts from the ninth Knowledge Café, held during the 87th IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Dublin, Ireland, July 26-29, 2022. 

The session was co-sponsored by the Knowledge Management Section and the Continuous Professional Development and Workplace Learning Section and was co-chaired by Monica Ertel and Maggie Farrell.

Several Standing Committee Members of Management & Marketing were involved as facilitators or rapporteurs.

Many of the discussions are connected to management and management skills, why we have decided to publish the content also in this blog.

You find all of the content at:

Training and professional development

Facilitator: Joan Weeks  Head, Near East Section and Turkic Area Specialist, African and Middle Eastern Division. Library of Congress  UNITED STATES  

Rapporteur:  Anya Feltreuter  Director Mjölby Public Library  SWEDEN 

What new training do you or your library need to face the future?

  • Start up a Continuing Professional Development Committee – encourage staff to be engaged with society and what´s going on
  • National libraries should be open to more changes.
  • More digital training is needed for staff. Colleagues had problems with programmes during covid – digital skills are needed – colleagues can be trained by colleagues. Trouble with online meeting software, databases (especially law e-resources), downloading apps. This takes a lot of time from librarians with technical skills.
  • Different ways of sharing information- for example colleagues between colleagues is needed.
  • Programme for structural professional development (Croatia), bibliotherapy. National platform for public libraries for librarians in Sweden, but not for academic libraries. Need to keep up with the legal issues for example.
  • Sometimes IT department wants to do things in a certain way that doesn´t work with the way libraries work. One way can be to show the IT department that librarians have skills that can help them.
  • Lack of motivation by staff to attend training sessions, some people want to continue with the way it is.  One way can be to offer one to one training after sessions with the whole staff. Be open to the staff who are not keeping up; if they are not learning the new skills.
  • Publisher fills in a lot of gaps directly to users without help of libraries – how do we develop collections when that happens? Temporary access to e-books. Lots of questions about copyright arose during covid.
  • Communication is key especially between sections of a big organizations. Identify library staff with missing skills – where librarians train their colleagues can be a solution. Good if they can be recorded.
  • Teaching skills are hard to get. The skills that are needed have changed during the last years and librarians have to keep up, for example, teaching online.
  • Sometimes it can be too much information. It can also be a problem with too much personal information.  A policy can help.
  • Collecting websites can be difficult since they disappear after a campaign.
  • People left during covid, more work to do for fewer people. Lots of vacancies.
  • Pear-coaching peer-teaching solution – pairing young and experienced librarians to share knowledge and develop new ways of teaching – some methods have been working. It is a problem when people have contracts and don’t feel inspired to continue develop.
  • It is also a question about management to get to know staff and know how you can help them to move forward. Important that managers show that it is appreciated when staff teach others.
  • Essential to create an environment that allows people to fail and try again. Important that managers show their mistakes and that they are learning, not only co-workers.
  • Important to make the entire library very accessible and inclusive.

What are you doing to keep up with your own training?

  • Joining committees and see what other people are doing.
  • Talk to colleagues, taking notes. Reading literature, attending conferences and meetings.
  • Do new things and remember how it is to be a beginner. Try working at other places.
  • Library labs – round tables like these – where you get to talk about different things. It can be challenging to get the discussions started sometimes and get people to moderate the discussion.
  • Individual development plans can be good in theory but sometimes they are hard to follow. There is a lot of webinars but hard to get the time to take them. Hard to find the training for the needed skills because it costs and you have to travel.
  • Journal club with colleagues – read an article and discuss with colleagues related to things that we are working with right now.
  • Guest lectures are good. It is also good to know which colleagues work with different skills so you know who to ask.
  • With software, for example, you need to try and see how it works.
  • Look up communities on different topics where you can learn and meet people who work with the same thing.
  • Also, important to find new ways of learning. Learn together with users – we don´t need to know everything at first. Collective brains are better than just one.

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