If there’s one sure thing in life – it’s change. As librarians, we must be quick to adjust to the changing information needs of library users, which can include adapting our collections, service models, and the physical space of the library. Many libraries are undergoing a time of intense and rapid changes spurred on by shrinking budgets and increased numbers of users. A recent report on the Today Show brought attention to this.
So, how can librarians stay one step ahead and not only adapt to change but also anticipate and plan for it? One way to accomplish this is through continuous professional development. It’s not enough to get the job (see last week’s post on Surviving the Presentation for tips on successful interviewing). To be able to understand the factors that affect libraries, librarians, and our users it’s important to engage in self-assessment, both personally and professionally, and set goals for new skills and responsibilities you would like to acquire. Then, develop a plan for how and when you will obtain these goals. Continuing education is one element of professional development but there may also be informal, community-based groups that provide learning and networking opportunities.
The current budget crisis can make professional development feel like a dream but there are many opportunities for professional development within your organization as well. Job shadowing, attending staff meetings, and keeping in touch with your colleagues and offering to participate in projects they are working on are all excellent ways to gain professional experience and increase your knowledge.
Do you have suggestions of opportunites for professional development? Please share your ideas!