4 Professional Development Tips for Busy Librarians

April 13, 2018 Chloe Wenborn

Working in a library, you're part of a busy environment that requires you to possess a multitude of skills, from expert knowledge of new technology to strong people skills. That’s why, for many, the need for training never ends.

There are always new skills to learn and new abilities to master, and that’s why so many librarians continue to utilize CPD opportunities to boost their overall knowledge.

When it comes to CPD it is important to take charge of your own development. Not only will CPD help you grow professionally it will also provide you with necessary skills to help you adapt in the ever-changing environment that is the library. The benefits will not only be seen in the short-term in your existing role but also in your longer-term career.

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Here are four tips for professional development

1.  Teach yourself a new skill

You don't always need structure or a class to learn something new. Identify a skill that will support you in your line of work or one that you need to improve and start practicing. Web development or Excel mastery are perfect examples of skills that you can teach yourself and that are useful in the workplace. The web is full of free online tutorials, videos and quick guides on how to use these kinds of tools that will enable you to teach yourself.

For example, here is a tutorial on the Wiley Network showing you how to create your own images for posters or social media.

In order to do this, it’s important to dedicate some time to learning during the workday. Practicing these skills often will help you to learn quickly. Learning in the workplace will also enable you to use and perfect these skills in real time and in real situations.

2. Shadow a Colleague

What better way to learn than from the people around you?

Your colleagues are likely to have insight and knowledge in related areas that you can learn from and practice, so why not ask? Find someone who has a skill set that you are interested in gaining and ask him/her if he/she is willing to share his/her expertise. Additionally, shadowing offers a broader knowledge of various jobs and functions within your team. It can provide insight into additional skills you may want to acquire as you watch your colleagues put them into practice.

3. Take a Free Online Course

Taking a certified online course can not only can be an asset to your C.V. but can leave you with valuable skills to help progress your career. Online courses are often less expensive than more traditional courses onsite at a university and often they are even offered for free. The emergence of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) offers librarians another online education option. Many colleges and universities have begun to accept credits earned via MOOCs.

Online courses give you the opportunity to plan your study time around the rest of your day, instead of the other way around. You can study and work when at your most productive, whether that’s early morning or late at night. All of this makes online learning a good option for balancing work and other commitments.

4. Attend a conference

Lastly, have you attended a conference already this year? If you found yourself joining fellow librarians and professionals at UKSG 2018, ALA, ADBU Congress in France, Bibliostar in Italy or even Bibliothekartag in Germany then you can already tick off one of these professional development tips!

Attending a conference can be an exciting way to network and learn more about your industry. Decide which conferences are most worthwhile for you, and don’t be afraid to consider those in related industries, such as technology or marketing.  Research the conference presenters and attendees and review the agenda to make the most of a day away from the library.

Image Source: Pexels/PhotoMix Ltd.

About the Author

Chloe Wenborn

Social Media and Content, Wiley //I work with Librarians to create content for The Wiley Network and @WileyLibraries.

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