Lifelong Learning within our Fast Paced Lives

Rima Makari-Saliba, former Head Editor, INALJ Saskatchewan
previously published 2/18/14

Lifelong Learning within our Fast Paced Lives

Rima Makari-SalibaEvery day is a learning experience. We wake up and get ready to tackle the day’s events. What we choose to do with our day is solely our choice and the requirements that encompass our daily lives. We constantly make mistakes and learn from them. We encounter diverse daily events that will shape both our personal and professional lives. So how can we, as professionals, keep our interest in learning alive and at the same time try to keep pace with our ever evolving world? I have come up with a list that includes diverse professional learning opportunities that can help us, as information specialists, in our quest for lifelong learning.

1. Read, Read, Read

To quench your thirst for knowledge, this is a must. Reading library journals or recently published articles in the library field is a good way to keep updated in a field that is ever evolving. Public libraries are one of a few great places to grab a book or a periodical. There are tons of books that tackle diverse topics in the library field. These include knowledge management, school libraries, social media, the World Wide Web, and cataloguing among others. In addition, literary publications provided via newsletters, magazines, reports, and journals should be looked at every now and then. This guarantees that we continue to know about diverse theories and practical research that encompass our profession.

2. Use Social Media

Who would have thought that the day would come for us to actually use social media as a learning tool? So many great librarians out there are using Twitter and Facebook as a means to bring the community together. Many great librarians, who are on those social media websites, keep throwing ideas at us that will keep our libraries and classes engaged and ready to learn more. Who would not agree that Twitter has triggered the increased use of Skype in the library or classroom to interact with authors and other classes around the globe?

3. Register for Webinars

Attending conferences is no longer an issue. Webinars provide a great alternative. If you haven’t checked out Easy Bib, make sure you do. These webinars are usually conducted live. However, if you are unable to join at the specified time, the webcast is then emailed to you as a link that you can use to watch in the comfort of your own home after a long day’s work.

4. Join Professional Associations

No matter where one lives, there is a professional association related to both libraries and/or education. In Saskatchewan, individuals have the option of joining the Saskatchewan Library Association or the Saskatchewan School Library Association. The former would be great if you are working in academic, public or special libraries and the latter would be perfect for those who are teacher librarians.

5. Enroll in Online Courses / Certificates

Many universities and colleges provide learners with the possibility of taking online courses. These courses can either be taken individually or part of a group of courses that can lead to certificates like User Experience, Cataloguing, etc… One online academy that I came across the other day was the Library Juice Academy. This is a California based academy that offers library courses throughout the year. So why not invest a little money on your path to career enhancement?

In conclusion, the above ideas are merely a few drops in a huge ocean. So don’t wait till the library world drowns you. Professional development will make sure you float and glide across the ocean one wave at a time.