staff training

Trying to create the definitive set of competencies for all library organizations is like creating the definitive LEGO® construction—no matter how spectacular, people will still want to build their own creations. The Competency Index for the Library Field was compiled by WebJunction with that in mind. It provides libraries with the set of building blocks from which to construct a foundation for the development of staff training, recruiting, succession planning, and other personnel strategies.

The Competency Index ‘blocks’ come in four sizes.

  • Large blocks: broad categories, such as Library Management, Personal-Interpersonal, etc.
  • Medium blocks: sub-categories, such as Communication, Customer service, etc. under the Personal-Interpersonal category
  • Small blocks: statements of competency related to the sub-category; for example, Customer Service has four competency statements
  • Tiny blocks: more detailed statements of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior (KSAs) associated with each competency statement; for example, each customer service competency statement has between 3-5 KSA statements.

So mix-and-match freely and let the constructions begin.

Competencies are only the foundation. Check out the connections to courses and resources for building the superstructure for staff development.

Visualize a solution that not only allows you to chat with other participants, but also enables you to view their social profiles and “friend” them. Imagine a solution that also lets you add your own links and related information, which then become part of the final archive.

-David Wilkins, Learning 2.o and Workplace Communities
T&D Magazine, April 2009

Social learning paradiseGuess what? WebJunction already has those essential elements to build a rich social learning environment. Back in March, I announced an e-learning experiment at WebJunction, in which we focused our social tools on an online course about customer service. The results are in and summarized in The Social Learning Puzzle: Putting the pieces together.

Wilkins and I share a vision of “establishing a true learning culture where all employees are actively engaged in both the teaching and learning processes.” But what the Wilkins article misses in its enthusiasm is the reality that providing nifty tools is not enough. There are barriers to the adoption of the whole notion of engaged online learning. As I said in my summary,the active participants in the cohort had an enriched learning experience, but the majority of the initial group did not engage.

I believe in the vision and I’m taking it step by step toward social learning paradise. If you have anything to share on the topic, please let me know. (info (at) attn: gutsche)

CLENE and Webjunction are co-sponsoring a great Webinar on Thursday, December 11, 11 a.m. PST, (1;00 CST, 2 p.m. EST): Learning for Learning Professionals: Competencies, Strategies and Resources.


PRESENTERS: Mary Ross, CLENERT Board member and former manager of staff development at the Seattle Public Library, will lead the discussion. She will be joined by Betha Gutsche, curriculum designer for e-learning initiatives at WebJunction, and Jennifer Homer, vice president of external relations for the American Society of Training and Development.


As trainers, continuing education coordinators and staff development managers, we believe in lifelong learning. We are committed to helping library employees improve their skills and build successful careers. As cheerleaders for organizational and individual learning, do we sometimes lose sight of our own learning? What are we doing to invest in ourselves? What are the competencies that we will need as we lead our libraries in future skill development and employee learning?

To celebrate Employee Learning Week, join us for an exploration of current and future competencies for learning professionals working in libraries. We will look at strategies for our own development and the resources available to help us pursue them.

ASTD’s Employee Learning Week, December 8-12, features champions, who successfully connect staff learning with achieving results. For more information, go to:

Mary Ross, CLENERT Board member and former manager of staff development at the Seattle Public Library, will lead the discussion. She will be joined by Betha Gutsche, curriculum designer for e-learning initiatives at WebJunction, and Jennifer Homer, vice president of external relations for the American Society of Training and Development.

This hour-long webinar is co-sponsored by WebJunction and  ALA’s Continuing Library Education Network and Round Table (CLENERT).

Register here:

Or How to Get Stuck on Lifelong Learning.

Duct tape always gets my attention (must be the craftsperson in me). So a blog post featuring a giant roll of duct tape and titled Sticking it to Instruction was successful in diverting my attention from my over-crowded schedule.

This is a librarian’s review of the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. The book is about successful marketing, but reviewer Ellie Collier found enough library- and learning-related stickiness to write over 2500 words about it. (Maybe I won’t have to read the book now.)

The book identifies 6 major qualities of sticky ideas:

  • Simplicity
  • Unexpectedness
  • Concreteness
  • Credibility
  • Emotions
  • Stories

The one quality that really resonated with me and my thinking about internalized lifelong learning for library staff is emotions. The emotional component in successful learning is huge. I’m a natural learner, and I suspect most of my fellow trainers are –that’s what attracted us to this arena. I have a large appetite for new information. I get excited and I’m sure my heart rate increases when I’m learning something new. But not everyone shares this impulse. The big challenge for trainers is to stimulate that level of emotional engagement in their learners.

[The authors] discuss Maslow’s Pyramid and comment that most self interest appeals invoke the physical, security, and esteem layers. We need to come out of Maslow’s basement.

We often try to communicate the “what’s in it for me?” to learners in order to motivate them. This quotation makes me realize that maybe I have always set the WIIFM? bar too low. Now I really do want to read the book to gather ideas about appealing to the transcendant levels of Maslow’s hierarchy.

The next Learning Webinar at WebJunction is about Creating a Technology Petting Zoo at your library. Join Maurice Coleman and Annette Gaskins as they show you how to create a learning-by-play environment for effective technology training.

When: Thursday, August 14, 1:00 PM Central Time

Please register for this webinar here:

Lori Reed‘s June Learning Webinar presentation was so well-received that WebJunction asked her back for a repeat performance.

Cultivating a Culture of Learning in the Library
When: Tuesday, August 5, 2008, 1:00 PM Central Time

How much time does your library spend on “training?” Statistics show that most learning takes place on the job or with a coworker, yet, as trainers, we spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for and delivering classroom training. In this webinar you will learn why you need to get your staff out of the classroom and instead focus on creating a culture of learning in your library.

Lori will explore:

  • The differences between training and learning
  • The benefits to libraries for creating a culture of learning
  • The key elements of a learning organization
  • Tips for creating a culture of learning in any size library

Please register for this webinar here:

If you are a regular reader of the CLENExchange, you may remember the book review of Card Games by Thiagi, written by then CLENE President, Pat Taviss for the September 2007 issue. Pat described Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan as “an international game master with a reputation for creating engaging games that enhance and support learning.” As the CLENExchange editor, I added an editor’s note to her review about my memories both of seeing Thiagi at an American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) conference in 1988 and attending his 2-day workshop in 1990.

As I frequently tell trainers I meet about the impact Thiagi’s training made on me, I was delighted to receive an email today with a link to a wonderful YouTube video titled Rapid Instructional Design with Thiagi. The April 2008 program was sponsored by the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Training Forum. The email came from Gail Griffith, Deputy Director of the Carroll County (MD) Public Library, responsible for public services and staff development and a CLENE member. I wrote about connecting with Gail as a part of my research for a December 2005 CLENExchange article on Elliot Masie’s Learning 2005 global conference; there is also a profile of Gail in that issue.

Back to the video …the description reads, “Learn how Thiagi and his team undertake complex instructional design projects without the use of time-consuming, low value added traditional ISD models. Thiagi has created, tested and successfully applied his own model that produces rapid prototypes tomorrow.” I urge you not to miss this opportunity to learn and be mesmerized by a master. For more information, tips and tricks from Thiagi, visit his website too.


Come play with Thiagi

Come play with Thiagi

Once again, CLENE events at ALA were sizzling. The pre-conference workshops on Friday were filled to capacity and the Training Showcase on Sunday afternoon was the place to be. In between sipping lemonade and munching pretzels, I talked myself hoarse in two hours of conversation with the steady flow of library trainers and supervisors. What a dynamic subset of the library world—so full of ideas and energy.

Find slide presentations and handouts from all events In the CLENE section of the ALA Conference Materials Archive.

  • Competencies For Your Staff: From Implementation to Integration (morning pre-conference)
  • Implementing A Staff Development Plan (afternoon pre-conference)
  • CLENE Training Showcase

My ALA experience was so packed with meetings this year that I only got to one session— Professional Development Around the World. This one was a high priority for me, combining my deep interest in how libraries operate around the world and my interest in lifelong learning for library staff.

Through the admirable efforts of organizations like Read Global, Lubuto, and others, developing countries are tasting the fruits of what a library can do for their communities. But providing the buildings and the materials is only the first step toward assuring enduring, quality service.

I would ask any library worker who frets about continuing education in our system to stop and think about the enormity of having to start from absolute scratch. The Read Global program in Nepal offers 21-day seminars for library staff that begin with a module on “what is a library?” before moving on to the more technical subjects of cataloging, book repair, or reference. The program also includes training for the villagers on how to use a library and for community leaders on how to steward the library. Oh, the things we take for granted.

A group of this year’s Emerging Leaders undertook to provide access to free, online professional development opportunities through its IRRT Free Links project. Using a wiki in combination with feeds, the group aggregated an impressive array of links to free online technology resources that “will help international librarians stay current with library information and trends in the United States and elsewhere.” Since most of the resources are in English, this list is just as useful for training needs here in North America. I only wonder if the group will ever open up the wiki permissions to allow others to add resources.

Another perspective from the opposite side of the globe resonated more with the training challenges we face here. Dr. Gillian Hallam, from very developed, even cutting-edge Australia, posed the provocative question, “Professional development: whose responsibility is it?” The answer is that responsibility is shared: managers, trainers, and professional associations all play a role, but it is the individual who has the “obligation to yourself to keep up-to-date, develop new skills, knowledge and confidence to ensure you have a successful and rewarding career.” The Australian Library and Information Association has implemented a 3-year professional development scheme with an accompanying career development kit to facilitate learning. So far, the voluntary participation is running at about 8%. Makes me wonder what the motivation/participation ratio would look like between library staff in developing versus developed countries.

Two posts you just gotta see (guaranteed you’ll get some useful ideas!)

  1. Janie Hermann’s interview with Jon Jiras of RIT Libraries talking about their amazing “Food For Thought” Continuing Ed. program.
  2. Janie’s follow up with Jon, reporting on this year’s (crazy successful) program.

For complete info on the Food for Thought program, see the Food for Thought Homepage. Thanks for sharing all of this wonderful info Jon, and thanks for blogging it Janie!

Next Page »