Seminars and Webinars and Online Courses—Oh My!

by Amanda Viana, Head Editor, INALJ Massachusetts

Seminars and Webinars and Online Courses—Oh My!

AmandaVianaI’m insatiably curious; a committed lifelong learner. I think of it as one of my greatest strengths and one of my main motivators in working to make public libraries centers of lifelong learning. Since graduating in late 2012, I’ve been trying to find opportunities to learn, from self-motivated reading and learning to online classes, and I’ve even considered going back to school. Lately I’ve been a little scattered, unsure of whether I want to take seminars in areas of interest, learn to code, learn more about genealogy, take not-for-credit technology courses, get a post-Master’s certificate, or even go back for another degree (or maybe all of the above). Like I said: scattered.

But in the meantime, I’ve been trying to take advantage of as many free opportunities to learn as I can. Although there are many opportunities for continuing education open to me, I can’t always take advantage of them (due to the usual shortages of time and staffing). So I’ve tapped into online learning, keeping an eye out for online workshops and webinars. (Ellyssa Kroski’s monthly blog posts of free webinars on Open Education Database has been especially helpful.) I don’t always get a chance to participate in these webinars but thanks to the magic of the internet I can still watch the playbacks whenever I get a chance.

I’ve also tapped into the resources of my local library, which offers Universal Class, a program that allows me to take online courses with real instructors for CEU’s (continuing education units). Courses are available in everything from computer programs, web development, and genealogy to creative writing and payroll management. And for all you Massachusetts librarians out there, the Massachusetts Library System offers two week sessions free to library staff at MLS member libraries. This week I’m getting familiar with Adobe Illustrator, thanks to the MLS subscription.

So while I’m sure my thirst for knowledge will never be quenched, I’m finding plenty of ways to keep my brain busy.