Given the numerous areas in which continuing professional education is needed and the multiple ways it might be pursued, could one role for ACRL be to identify a “path” through various options that would allow someone to get a start on a professional development plan? For example, a prepared list of suggestions for formal/informal/F2F/virtual programs one might pursue to get up to speed (or to advance from novice to experienced practitioner) on topics of key concern, e.g., instruction, assessment, data management, etc.? Could be useful to individuals building a professional development plan as well as to administrators seeking to develop greater professional capacities within their existing staff complement.
Also, should not limit one’s thinking about formal education to LIS programs. Many of us pursued graduate education in Higher Education in order to gain a broader view of the institutions we serve. Others have pursued degrees in instructional design, data analytics, marketing, etc. It would be interesting to delve more deeply into the appeal of formal programs of study outside of LIS and outside of the traditional pursuit of a subject degree in one’s area of subject specialist responsibility.
I would take this one step further to consider all of the ways in which local institutions and associations can work together to provide professional development opportunities given the factors you cite (technology, travel budgets, etc.). The road show approach has been a good start, but is it sustainable at the national level across an ever-increasing range of topics? How might we leverage locally-developed programs, perhaps along the model of Michigan’s Instructor College, and how might ACRL provide support for coordinated efforts that might be delivered through chapters/state-level conferences, etc. (the latter having the benefit of adding another dimension to the collaboration between ACRL Chapters and ACRL National)?
Is the planned CritLib Unconference currently scheduled for Portland in Spring 2015 another relevant example?
I’ve heard a term, new to me, of “Sub-conference” – kind of like the idea of a “shadow conference. Where attendees highlight programs of interest to them, plus make plans for meetings outside the offered programs to meet their needs at the time. I know one is being hatched for ACRL in 2015 as well. Dave Ellenwood at UW -Bothell is one of the facilitators.
That’s a really interesting suggestion to make for a ACRL service. If it could be done, it would probably have to happen through the sections – as a support service they provide to their members. A number of them already offer mentoring services (matching folks up) of one sort or another, and this seems to fit with that approach. But perhaps there could be some sort of checklist or inventory of professional development activities where you can identify a path you want to follow – add completed activities to a portfolio, perhaps develop a personal learning network. One of the outcomes for these essays is to get people thinking and have ideas generated for what ACRL could be doing in the future – and so that future Boards can take up those ideas. Thanks for sharing your idea.
“professional development is deeply embedded into our practice” — and, indeed, is one way we as a profession embody and enact the “lifelong learning” we encourage in those we teach.
As one who has the incredible honor of being a Learning Organization Librarian responsible for developing professional development programs for our librarians, staff, and student employees, I highly value your insights on this Steven. I mentioned this article at a regional prof dev event (along with providing the Five Knowledge and Skill Areas for Assessment Librarians from the Library Assessment Conference) and it was joyfully gobbled up. The most difficult aspect of this is for librarians to ‘find the time’. I believe that it’s important to CARVE out the time because it doesn’t just magically appear. Michael Stephens has written/spoken frequently on the importance of learning always, learning everywhere. I agree with other comments that developing a ‘curriculum’ or ‘path’ for growth in major areas of librarianship might be extremely helpful.
I would like to see more emphasis on learning how to conduct an interactive webinar, as so many of them are lecture-based, which we all know is not the best way to learn/retain info. Our librarians are becoming jaded on the webinar format even as the topics become deeper and broader and more applicable to our learning needs. This is a skill many librarians would find useful, now and in the future.
It may be a useful service for ACRL (or one of the sections) to collate the various professional development opportunities … possibly in an online calendar. I’ve been trying to do that (as I’m able) with my blog Learning Beyond (http://beyondlearning-md.blogspot.com/) and disseminating opportunities both monthly and weekly to all our employees. You write: “Despite whatever efforts administrators may make to facilitate and support professional development, it is ultimately up to each academic librarian to make a personal commitment to their own lifelong learning and professional development.” — this is the important message, and it applies to all library staff.
Definitely agree, Scott. There are many advanced degrees and certificates in important fields which complement our LIS work … you’ve mentioned a few … and there are others including management, research and assessment, mentoring, instruction.
There are also archived webinars available on demand from several library-specific training venues such as OCLC WebJunction, Infopeople, and Florida Library.
Are you suggesting that approaches such as tiered reference or research consultation does not allow as much for instructional impact as traditional service on a reference desk? I ask because I see both sides of the argument in this single paragraph. For us, the growth in research consultation seems consistent with our commitment to reference service as an instructional opportunity, and also similar to the approach taken by our writing center colleagues in focusing on providing writing assistance by appointment.
Regarding, “we haven’t yet mastered the art of infiltrating the curriculum and sharing both ownership of the work and a belief that it’s fundamentally important with those who have the greatest influence over students.” I’ll agree that we have not “mastered” this process, but the statements here seem awfully broad given the number of case studies, etc., that have shown different approaches to successful integration or faculty development efforts in this area. I’ll agree that many such examples may be of limited scope, e.g., a particular department or discipline, but there are many good examples that you might use to suggest how we might take steps in the right direction.
I’m not making claims for the relative merits of either approach. When I think about how we teach, that Elmborg article often comes to mind. I think libraries are figuring out what works best for them based on a variety of local situational factors. I admit the last line doesn’t say much about whether/how this is working out. The writing center analogy is intriguing and there’s a huge amount of lit on that. I’ll see what I can do to exand on this a bit. Do you have any favorite must-read studies to recommend?
Exactly – it amazes me, looking back, that this issue has been so pressing for decades, yet we really haven’t as a profession cracked it. I can work on beefing up citations here, as there are lots. Just no cracking of the Enigma code yet.
I’m not sure the claim “we don’t entirely trust faculty” toward the end of this paragraph is 100% accurate, though I suppose it is a statement based in personal observation making “accuracy” less useful in this context. In a recent Twitter convo about librarians’ self-claimed expertise in IL, I proposed that it was more that the library department/information literacy program on any given campus is likely to be the only academic unit on campus that is *prioritizing* in a deliberate, intentional manner the development in students of what we know as IL knowledge, skills, and dispositions, with the only other contender in my mind being the First-Year Writing program. I don’t think a lack of trust is the issue so much as librarians having the resources (time and in some ways training–I shocked myself in a recent meeting with a faculty collaborater by having meaningful, useful ideas about how to improve a rubric we were developing together to assess IL in student work, ideas which were both new to and welcomed by my collaborator) that faculty in the disciplines don’t have to highlight for students and faculty alike how IL is woven into the work they are often already doing within a given course.
That’s a good point – perhaps it’s wrong to characterize it was lack of trust when it really is lack of a sense that they take it as seriously as we do – or think about it apart from other forms of critical thinking, analysis, and communication. But, you know? I may stick to what I’ve said because I think we try to own information literacy in ways that sometimes disenfranchises and disrespects work that is happening in courses every day. So much of the learning that happens around context, interpretation, judgement, recognzing the various forms sources take and why they take those forms – isn’t being done under the tutalage of librarians. We have been saying for decades that we need to collaborate but often that’s framed as a kind of power relationship rather than actually pooling our knowledgebases and experiences. As you point out, the first year experience is a place where faculty have to step back and retool and often they discover – holy cow! I had no idea we had these resources or that students confronted by 1,000 scholarly articles found in a search can’t use the strategies faculty use to zero in on the good stuff because they simply haven’t got the background knowledge or the sensitivity to contextual cues. Anyway, thanks for the comment and I’ll give this further thought…
Oho – just realized CommentPress comments don’t come with paragraph breaks. Sorry for the longggggg comment on your comment.
This is actually a comment on the title “Framing the Road Ahead.”, but I found no way of commenting on that page so I’m commenting here.My first thought was why “Road” in the singular – will we all be traveling down only one? Then I wondered about “Framing” – it sounds a bit limiting, like we can capture the future in a square. What about Imagining the Roads ahead?
Realizing that Education too is part of a larger context, that of Society?
Picking the right title is always a challenge. The authors debated a bit about the title of the entire work (hope that one resonates with you). We could certainly consider “Imagining” instead of “Framing”. There are some points in the essays where we are actually imagining some new roles. Thanks for your comment.
“Research, learning and knowledge creation practices are enacted in technology environments, and are inseparable from them. This has major consequences.” One consequence not mentioned in this paragraph are the effects this (quoted) has on the practices, behaviors, and attitudes of students/researchers. This technology-rich environment is shifting the expectations of researchers in terms of both functionality available and support provided. Librarians need to understand and engage these shifted expectations in order to meet new researcher needs as a result.
What is referred to as a “consortial focus” has been discussed elsewhere as the “network level,” i.e., are there library services that might be delivered in a coordinated manner at a level broader than the local? Will traditional consortia designed to facilitate access to collections be the same as the networks that might provide an array of information and instructional services? Will these networks be aligned with those that institutions create to reflect degree articulation agreements, transfer patterns, etc.? Will networks of this type cross the traditional boundaries of library type to provide added value around collections and services with a local focus (local history, local metropolitan data, etc.)?
There is some discussion of this issue in another section on collaboration. Right-scaling and Conscious Coordination: new contexts for Collaboration between Insitutions.
Scott I think it is possible that instruction services could be delivered at the network level in much the way that networks have enabled platforms for 24/7 reference service. To my way of thinking, it would take the shape of an online learning solution (e.g., tutorials) with a capacity to connect to a librarian educator who could provide additional support. Thanks for your comment.
I like the phrase “change awareness” — it reminds me of a white paper by Brian Mathews called “Change Literacy” (or at least that’s part of the title). Might make a good reference for this point, if his paper reflects some of what you’re describing here? I like seeing these kinds of connections between work within our professional community–makes mapping trends easier 🙂
In this example, as in other sidebars, I would like to see a link to a real-life example of such a position, the programs it supports, etc. For the past 3 years, I have advocated for the establishment of a Community Engagement Librarian position similar (in some ways) to what you propose, and I know that, in constructing that proposal, I had to be creative in finding existing models, including some from medical libraries and public libraries. The impact of these “new roles” sidebars would be greater if the reader could see how it works in practice, how individuals in these positions are integrated into broader library programs, and, in this particular case, how “new roles” develop in library staffing models to better complement strategic goals and mission-centered programs of the university.
In this section, as in others, I am wondering about the opportunity to build links with other ACRL publications, not just C&RL (though all of its content is available digitally), but also ACRL monographs. Throughout this section, I thought of the 2010 collection by Welburn, et al. (Advocacy, Outreach, and the Nation’s Academic Libraries). This collection, especially if it remains accessible in a digital format, seems a great opportunity to enhance discovery of some of the ACRL-sponsored research that appears in monographs and other venues less effectively served than that appearing in journals.
It may be a coincidence that you had something similar in mind. To my way of thinking, these “new role” sidebars (and I wrote most of them) are not positions that we have now – although there might be something “like it”. So they are just small thought pieces on what kind of new roles we might be looking at. They are not based on an actual library position and how it is practiced. Rather than going in that direction, I’d be more interested in having you and others suggest other new roles that don’t – or probably don’t exist yet – and sharing some possibilities for the future.
I second Scott’s suggestion.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the draft New Roles for the Road Ahead manuscript this morning. Your collective description and analysis of the current ecosystem offers fresh insights, both deep and broad, that places academic library organizations’ circumstances within the larger contexts of scholarly communications and higher education. Well done.I now anticipate reading Betsy Wilson’s forthcoming leadership section. My comment arises after reading Steven Bell’s description of a typical day in the life of an engaged library profession immersed in abundant professional development experiences. The challenge, of course, is to ensure adequate reasoning (meaning making) about the content.So I hope that discussion of leadership in the final section includes the topic of designing organizations and workplace practices that enable individual, group, and organizational ‘sense making’ for nimble and responsive decision making in the years ahead. As Bell astutely notes, “with more options comes more confusion” (p. 116) on the road ahead.Finally, I offer a suggestion about enriching the reader experience. While I thoroughly enjoyed each essay and felt topics flowed naturally, I found the boundaries harsh. So I would enjoy seeing a contextualizing preface added to the manuscript and also preceding the sections – perhaps written by Nancy Allen who, serving as editor, enjoys an overview perspective.Mary M Somerville
Thanks for the suggestions, Mary. I hate to suggest that Nancy do more because she contributed so much already to this work (you have no idea…) but I agree that we haven’t really explained or provided context for how this set of essays might work for readers. We agreed on an outline, we divvied up the sections, but each of us has a different style and is coming from a different place. The introductions to sections are meant to provide some kind of overview, but we didn’t hammer them out together so I can see how much each piece may seem a bit disconnected from its neighbors. (In fact, I haven’t printed out and read this in the linear fashion that seem more natural on paper, so I think my own reader geography is a bit different than it will be when I see it all in one document with sequential pages. In many ways, this is typical of US academic libraries – so varied, with so much local flavor and independence that it’s hard to see the road (or roads) ahead in a way that makes sense for academic libraries in general, perhaps more so than in countries where higher ed is more centralized and unified. Nancy was the one who helped us get (metaphorically speaking) on the same page. I’m really grateful to her for that.
Dear Barbara,Thank you for your thoughtful reply. In response, I recognize that I commented after reading a printout of the PDF, in its entirety, from front to back. So I approached the content in a fashion that may not be typical of your readership.That said, I think it would help readers to know the history of the commissioned essays. That, at least, would help me understand how to read this rich compendium of deep and broad thought. Typically an editor provides such context.Thanks.Mary
I’ll admit I haven’t yet made it to the “Age of Discovery,” probably because I don’t’ have a cell phone. 🙂 But, anyway, just wondering what “discovery” means, especially in terms of “research.” They seem like they are conflating in many folks minds, but discovery doesn’t seem to imply process or meaning necessarily, while research does.
Hmmm… I think I also see our (mine at least) budgets not letting us by books, and then we hide them in storage making space for maker spaces? Not a day goes by that I don’t have requests from students “I can’t use a ebook, how can you get me a print copy?” There is something well-tumbled about the technology called the print book – it’s been developing for a few thousand years in symbiosis with humans and I think it will remain a humane way to learn.
I think we need to be non-reactive too. We need to know our strengths and understand, from practice and theory what our discipline of librarianship is all about. We shape the network as much as it shapes us – if we want to.
Interesting to find brief discussion of library publishing efforts here after discussion of universities out-sourcing publishing programs earlier in the collection (p. 31). Both are possible roads, but is one preferable on the road ahead? Is there anything to be learned from the now-slightly-dated essay by Mike Furlough (“The Publisher in the Library”), published by ACRL in 2010?
That’s an excellent suggestion. [Adds Furlough to the To Be Added list.]There definitely are places where we point in different directions. That was one of the fascinating aspects of agreeing on a table of contents, but then each taking different bits, many of which overlap but about which we take different tacks. I’m sure there will be inconsistencies in that we don’t actually agree on what is most pressing or what solutions are most attractive. I don’t want to speak for Steven or Lorcan, but I don’t think any of us were thinking about these essays in prescriptive terms. More raising quesitons about where we could be headed and what our roles might be.
ACRL is publishing this book Getting the Word Out: Academic Libraries as Publishers edited by Maria Bonn and Mike Furlough. This book should be released in January 2015.
Clapp mentions an even earlier attempt to write about the future of research libraries – a 1946 book from Fremont Rider, a librarian at Wesleyan University. Clapp describes Rider’s big prediction of book growth as a “bombshell thrown into the library world”. Rider predicts that by 2040 Yale’s library will have 200 million books and would need 8 acres of floor space to hold the card catalog. But wait…Rider has a solution. Yes! Microcards to the rescue.
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