- Online classes: ALA offers more than a few online classes on various topics, as do its subsidiary organizations. As I type this I am taking a course on helping children with disabilities in the library, a course that is offered through the Association of Library Services for Children (ALSC).
- Webinars: Webinars are like a one-shot class, and often they are free as well. Some of them deal with library-related topics and some are previews of upcoming titles.
- Professional journals: School Library Journal, Library Journal, Booklist, Hornbook, Publisher's Weekly - all of these organizations have professional journals that librarians can read. This is in addition to all the ALA-sponsored journals.
- Websites and blogs: This is where I get most of my information, since websites are (usually) up-to-date and also allow me to read them at the same time as one of my peers, thus preventing me from waiting oh-so-patiently for the person ahead of me on the list to finish whatever journal happens to be circulating among the staff.
- Books: How could I neglect books? The good news is that there are tons of books related to being a librarian and becoming a better librarian; the unfortunate news is that many of those books are VERY expensive. I usually borrow mine from the library when I can, or I ask for them as gifts. Occasionally, if the expense is worth it, I can ask for our library to purchase a copy.
- Conferences: ALA holds two conferences annually; most state library associations hold an annual conference, and some of the ALA subsidiaries have their own conferences as well. It can be cost-prohibitive to fly halfway across the country to attend a conference, but it is a worthwhile experience once in a while.
- Networking: This is sometimes accomplished through the websites, blogs, webinars, classes, and conferences. I love talking shop with other librarians and finding out what they're doing at their libraries, especially if it's something I can take back to my own library.
These are the main things I do to keep up professionally. What kinds of things do you do? Do you have any websites/blogs/books/articles that you find especially helpful?