What they said about Clare Thorpe’s ‘Curious, confident & committed: Transforming libraries into learning organisations’ webinar

Earlier on 13 October 2021, CPDWL and NPSIG invited Clare Thorpe, Director, Library Services at Southern Cross University in Australia to present a webinar entitled ‘Curious, confident & committed: Transforming libraries into learning organisations’ with the support of SMU Libraries and the Library Association of Singapore (LAS). Dr. Gillian Hallam did a summary of this well-attended webinar on her blog post on 20 October 2021 and this post concludes the series with a selection of responses based on the three feedback questions asked:

Q1 What are your key learnings?
Q2 Any ideas on how will you apply these in your professional practice?
Q3 What other webinar topics would you like us to organise?

Responding to the question “What are your key learnings?” the image below shows some of the deep reflections received:

In addition, participants remembered professional ‘gurus’ such as Senge and Ranganathan as noted: “To read books of Peter Senge” [Reference: Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. Hint: Makes a nice gift anytime!]

This was underscored by other comments such as, “Learning is a continuous process, and we find the opportunity to learn. Reading is essential for our minds to grow.”

Another respondent remarked,

“I’ve learned the value of professional development and that learning is a never-ending process. We should consider learning to be a part of our daily routine and that we are in charge of our own learning. I’ve also gained an understanding of the concepts of curiosity, confidence, and dedication. It was also encouraged to learn independently. Be inquisitive, ask questions, and learn to share your experiences so that others may benefit from what you’ve learned.”

I couldn’t agree more with this comment especially during these times of the pandemic and the focus on digital transformation, “Being/Becoming learning organisations are important to libraries as this support the 5th Law of Library Science by S.R. Ranganathan, “The library is a growing organism”. It supports the growth and lifelong learning of library staff.” [Read more about the Five laws of library science in this article].

Thus one participant noted,

“Work must become more interesting and meaningful” and another highlighted, “Libraries are not just part of an organization, it is the heart and soul of an organization!”

The transfer of learning into the workplace is one of the key focus for CPDWL and responding to the second question, “Any ideas on how will you apply these in your professional practice?” there were 32 meaningful responses such as:

“Ensuring that policies take note of all stakeholders. Keeping an eye on existing policies to ensure that they are egalitarian” and looking within is also important as noted in this comment, “Realign the goals of the library into a learning organization.” And who better to start with to ensure no one is left behind as noted by this respondent, “Talk to my team together and as individuals about their goals and where they can take active responsibility in partnership with our organisation to develop themselves.”

Someone remarked,

“I will definitely be applying the 3:2:1. I also already use the ALIA CPD program, but see more value in using and applying it now. I also have better insight into how I can advocate for workplace support for my PD.”

So what is the 3:2:1?

The 3:2:1 strategy was frequently noted by many participants. I got curious again and read Dr Gillian Hallam’s blogpost here where she noted,

“Thanks were extended to Michael Stephens from San José State University in California, USA, for a very simple strategy for reflecting-sharing-applying the learning, referred to as the 3-2-1 approach. Clare suggested that, after participating in a learning activity, you should identify three things you were introduced to that amazed you, two concepts that you will focus on, and one idea that you will apply immediately.”

There were many other comments along the lines of getting support, sharing and motivating others about our “5 star profession” such as “I will share the article and webinar recording with all staff at my library (including our new big boss) and suggest we discuss what we can do at our library to foster/support PD even more [learning]” and “Encourage co-workers to attend or present in the conferences or at least have a simple chat with them about their experiences at work.”

The concluding question asked “What other webinar topics would you like us to organise?” and in addition to the many thank you’s and regular topics such as information literacy, leaderships, librarianship and some just wanting to ruminate on it over time, others highlighted specifics topics as can be seen from these below:

“How to choose a specialisation within your career- I am currently a student, and am excited about starting my career – but I don’t really have a clear understanding of what type of library I would like to work in, and what type of role I aspire to.”

“Developing digital literacy strategies for staff for continuous professional development. Wellbeing at work Networking and developing a Personal Learning Network”

A clustering of comments around the impact of the pandemic and coping strategies were also synthesized from the open-ended questions focussing on strategies, techniques, how to improve our services and engagement with the community to learn new things.

Other areas included, “CPD in an online environment” and some wanted more of the same, “Maybe a follow-up on this kind of topic. Thank you :)” and “Any topic that is related to this.”

Encore Clare!

As can be seen from the comments above, the webinar was a success and participants took away many learning points. The suggested webinar topics are worth exploring in 2022.

Rajen Munoo

Head, Learning & Engagement. SMU Libraries

CPDWL Standing Committee Member