"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

16 January 2015

Professional Development

Way back when in caveman days when I was a teacher, I learned how important it was to continue to improve myself and keep up-to-date on pedagogy and technology, etc. etc. The same rings true for me now as a youth services librarian.  But what exactly do librarians do in order to continue to develop professionally?

  1. 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). 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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? 

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