Continuing Education for Librarians

In her blog, What I Learned Today, Nicole C. Engard comments on the following question posed in a Library Journal article regarding “ALA’s Alternate to an MLS”. “Should certification and continuing education credits be mandatory for library workers?” She suggests “YES! The problems that most of of us have today is that there is such a varied education among the staff. Requiring continuing education would make it so that we’d all be closer to being on the same foot.”

I agree that there is a great need for ongoing training. In fact, I have been spending quite a bit of time lately thinking about continuing education for my staff. One of our biggest needs is for continuing education opportunities that allow faculty members to keep current with new technologies and other trends in our field. Specifically, I would like to see the following (or maybe I should say “more” of the following since ACRL and others are already offering some valuable opportunities):

1. Sequential courses that lead to an advanced certificate, offered either via regional institutes or distance learning; ideally with a local or regional cohort group, so that networking relationships can be established.
2. More continuing education opportunities like ACRL’s that allow the participant to leave the course with a finished product.

It would be helpful for every librarian to participate in these sorts of continuing education opportunities, but I don’t believe that in the academic library setting it could be made mandatory. Our librarians, as faculty members, follow our faculty handbook and enjoy a certain amount of freedom to pursue research in a variety of library related areas. I believe, as Dean, it is my responsibility to help identify and encourage participation in continuing education opportunities that help our library meet its goals.

Group of University Researchers to Make Web Science a Field of Study – New York Times

This New York Times article discusses an announcement regarding a new field of study being proposed. Referred to as “Web Science”, this discipline would study the phenomenon of the Web from both a social science and an engineering perspective. Should schools of Information Science be worried or excited by this announcement? It seems to run parallel to what some schools are are already teaching. Would it be fair to say that perhaps this new discipline would approach the Web on more of a macro level than Information Science? Maybe library schools should be the ones teaching “Web Science”. At a time when library schools are still trying to redefine themselves, this new wrinkle could cause more uncertainty, but might also represent a good opportunity for L.I.S. programs to expand.

Group of University Researchers to Make Web Science a Field of Study – New York Times
Web science represents “a pretty big next step in the evolution of information,” said Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, who is a computer scientist. This kind of research, Mr. Schmidt added, is “likely to have a lot of influence on the next generation of researchers, scientists and, most importantly, the next generation of entrepreneurs who will build new companies from this.”