by Jennifer Crutchfield, Head Editor, INALJ Connecticut
Professional Development: Helpful Websites
Looking for professional development opportunities has been a priority of mine since I graduated with my MLS about five years ago. Since then I’ve been trying to find as many ways as possible to keep myself updated on developments within the library field. I have been specifically searching for free professional development options. I would like to share some of my favorite resources for professional development that I have found lately. I hope that these ideas will help you make the best out of some free tools available to you.
If you are interested in learning more about copyright, Copyright Clearance Center’s website has a few useful resources. Clicking on the “Education” tab will send you to a listing of informational videos and articles. If you’re trying to spread the word on copyright to your patrons, the videos are a great and fun way to keep them engaged. I also like keeping up with the site’s webcast called “Beyond the Book” You can set up alert emails so you can see what the current topics are and what the current webcast is about. The site focuses on all types of libraries. Even if you do not need to know much about copyright in your role, this is a nice website that can help you learn the basics. With the popularity of home and community produced content, becoming familiar with fair use laws will benefit both private and public institutions.
The Library of Congress also has a variety of webcasts and podcasts for you to enjoy. They have webcasts on many topics and you can subscribe to a variety of mailing lists. For example, I receive email updates on new digitization webcasts. I sometimes can find these alerts annoying because I may be 10 at a time, but I just take a minute to sort through which webcast I will find interesting to watch later. Try to listen to at least one a month, as that’s a great way to start building positive learning habits. I suggest being cautious when choosing your alerts because subscribing to too many can be overwhelming!
There are two association resources that I have found useful and interesting. The first is ALA’s Tech Source youtube page. I like the Tech Source series because I feel that it keeps me up to date on any technology topics and issues that are currently impacting libraries. Second is the SLA’s “Learn” section of their website. They have a great webinars section. Some of these you need to pay to see, but there are also many that you can view for free. I like the Copyright Experts webinar, but there are also sections on career, information services, search and research, skills, and social media. Definitely take a look at the SLA site, I find it very useful.
Continuing professional development will help your job search in many ways. It’s great to be able to impress a possible employer with cutting edge knowledge that you’ll only find by staying involved in these circles. Not only will it help you stand out, but it may also lead to a better starting wage and increased job stability. Whether it’s for personal or professional growth, definitely continue to keep yourself engaged. If you find any additional tools or resources that I did not list here, please contact me so I can feature them in a future update. Thanks!