Free/Cheap Professional Development

Since most of us fall into the Student/New Professional category, I imagine that there are many among us who:

A) Are interested in professional development opportunities
B) Don’t get institutional support or funding for professional development.

So, I was curious… what kinds of opportunities are folks taking advantage of in terms of free or cheap professional development?  I know that most of us keep up with professional literature and read a lot online, but I’m primarily interested in having people share their sources for more structured learning.   Opportunities like Five Weeks to a Social Library would certainly fit into this category, as would some of the courses offered through Infopeople, including this upcoming online course offered by Meredith Farkas of Information Wants to Be Free.

Anyone want to add a favorite source for free/cheap workshops?


  1. WebJunction offers free and low-cost, professional development learning modules. (many of which are self-paced)

    Their course catalog covers a broad spectrum of topics from Flash tutorials to Negotiating.

    There are also grants & scholarships for students & professionals that can be used towards the cost of the module(s). Go here for an MS Excel spreadsheet of the various details. (If you have a GPA of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale, I’d highly recommend joining Beta Phi Mu–even if it’s just to get scholarships).

  2. There was also a Web 2.0 seminar in June at the Ohio State University.

    The presentations are under Speaker Links, and the presentation are a mix of video & slide show (delivered via RealPlayer)–this is a great way to capture the presentation and distribute it!

    The presentations are really good for librarians who need to get up to speed on Web 2.0 & what it might mean for libraries.

  3. This free, day-long seminar looks pretty fabulous: Working Digital Assets.

    These types of events are well worth a tank of gas if you live within driving distance (especially if you can convince a colleague to carpool and contribute gas money).

    These events also often provide excellent networking opportunities, so be prepared to mingle and introduce yourself at coffee breaks.

  4. A fellow IU SLIS student brought this resource to my attention:

    EDUCAUSE provides free podcasts at their website. This is a great way to hear nationally-recognized leaders give amazing talks and interviews without having to travel to a conference. Topics range from “Architectures for Collaboration—Roles and Expectations for Digital Libraries” to “An Interview with NYU’s Howard Besser.”

  5. On April 2, 2008, ACRL will be hosting a free-for-members webcast event. “The program features a discussion about the future of higher education with Henry Jenkins, the Co-Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities.”

    For more info, go here.

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