Category Archives: General

Developing the “Opportunity Incubator” to Support Professional Development: An Interview with Brian Mathews and Talia Perry

Talia Perry

Brian Mathews

The IFLA Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (CPDWL) Section embraces all aspects of professional development and learning in the workplace in the period post-qualification to the end of a career. One of the exciting aspects of this section is that we explore how colleagues are promoting professional development learning in their communities, institutions, or associations.

In this interview, we feature two library professionals: Brian Mathews and Talia Perry from Carnegie Mellon University Libraries (USA) to talk about their latest project tracking professional development opportunities called, “Opportunity Incubator.” This platform enables colleagues in CMU Libraries to explore and identify upcoming conferences, funding sources or publications to publish in. They both share their thoughts about this project and professional development trends.

Thank you both so much for speaking with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your roles at Carnegie Mellon University Libraries?

Brian Mathews: I’m the Associate Dean for Research & Innovation at the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries. I’m very interested in creativity and innovation ecosystems and how libraries can systematically yet organically develop new services and engagement. Brian is currently working on a book about how libraries and other organizations can help address complex global challenges. More here:

Talia Perry: I’m the Digital Projects & Digital Publishing specialist at the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries. With a background in the arts and humanities, I’ve written about the ways in which technological and material change has historically reshaped social experience—this research in turn feeds a reflexive practice that seeks to leverage design thinking and contemporary communication technology to build and support communities today.

We wanted to talk to you about this project called, “Opportunity Incubator” that you and your colleague, Talia Perry, worked on. This project will “identify journals where [colleagues] could publish, conferences where they could present, and funding sources for their projects, research, and professional interests..,” In Brian’s blog post, Brian described this project very well and we wanted to ask how it was to get buy-in from colleagues to build this project out for and with your CMU colleagues? What’s been the reaction from your colleagues in using this tool or learning about it?

This project emerged organically from the ground up. In conversations with librarians and staff, we heard frequent frustrations about finding and following venues in which to publish or present. Many of our colleagues come from diverse academic backgrounds, and so we wanted to provide a common framework that gathered together these points of engagement. Additionally, we have seen an increasing interest in sponsored projects. While there are a great many foundations and funding agencies, we wanted to be targeted and systematic in our selection. As we thought about this common interest across publishing, presenting, and funding, we started to conceive of them as opportunities—and with that, we imagined an incubator that could collect, curate, and connect people with these possibilities.

We developed a prototype in the Spring 2024 semester, and are working over the summer with some early adopters to test and develop it further. We will incorporate what we learn into an official release for our library in late summer or early fall. People are interested in exploring the tool, but so far it’s largely been an experimental side project for us. We’re eager to release it!

Brian also mentioned in the blog that there will be a chatbot component too, and will include GPT-4 for the prototype and Gemini later. What has been useful in using AI tools to support professional development learning?

We started by creating a large dataset, which we’ll continue to build upon. With the dataset in place, we can parse it out in different ways: It can be displayed on a calendar, in interactive lists, or in other ways on a website. We also wanted to experiment with generative AI.

We developed a personal GPT as a test. We loaded it with all the information we have pertaining to the conferences, journals, and funding agencies most relevant to our organization—over 300 records. The useful part of the chat assistant is being able to have a conversation across all the opportunity types. For example, let’s say you’re interested in doing work related to climate change, data literacy, and open science. You could identify places to present and publish, as well as how you might frame your narrative or consider your audience. That topic might work well as a case study in one place, an editorial in another, and as a learning module elsewhere. Additionally, you could find potential foundations or agencies that might fund work on that topic. The chat option helps facilitate a cohesive conversation across our spectrum of opportunities.

Is there anything that surprised you in working on this project or the process itself? If someone wanted to create something similar, what should they think about?

Tracking down future conferences is tough; there are a handful of conferences on our list less than a year away, and the final dates have not yet been published. Grants and foundation timelines are likewise often elusive, emerging and closing within short windows. That’s something we need to figure out going forward: how to keep things constantly refreshed and how we might be able to automate or at least predict patterns or cycles for these opportunities.

We talked about building the Opportunity Incubator in Jekyll or using a system like Notion, but ultimately decided to use the Google suite. This will reduce the entry barrier and upkeep since our organization already extensively uses Google Drive and Google Calendar. Central to the project is this giant spreadsheet (Google Sheet) that needs to be regularly updated, but in terms of ease of use and ease of export, this worked well enough for us. Building the core technical infrastructure took about a week, with little refinements as we experimented, but the more difficult and time-consuming part was identifying the core publications, conferences, and funding agencies, and all the related metadata.

With a project like this, it’s also easy to underestimate the number of decisions you’re making until you start making them, and how important those decisions end up being down the road—the questions that you ask always inform the data you’re gathering. While some of the information we were collecting was a given (e.g. identifying closing dates for calls for proposals) there were also inherent value judgments in the act of including or excluding certain data: As an institution that supports and promotes open access, for example, we wanted to note the open status of each journal in our list; on the other hand, we were less inclined to summarize citation metrics since the range of audience, format, and subject matter for our list of publications varied widely. Distilling the content of the opportunities into a discrete set of thematic tags was another level of decision-making; identifying the different fields and interests, even in very broad terms, while necessary for the ability to group and sort as the list grew, was a multilayered curatorial act (which only underscored the expertise of our colleagues working in cataloging and archival metadata!).

Professional development is very important in the LIS field as you know. What are your thoughts on the future of professional development in LIS? What are some professional development trends in LIS that you are seeing? It cannot just be artificial intelligence, right?

Brian: My general advice is don’t be too myopic. Go to lectures, workshops, and events outside of LIS. I have gained insight and inspiration listening to engineers talk about glacial melting, activists talking about community archives, artists talking about perceptions of time, and physicists talking about the beauty of art. I urge everyone to be curious and develop that as a skill—this leads to asking new questions and exploring new problems across our organizations and communities. By expanding our perspectives and skills, we can approach our work in more creative, inclusive, meaningful, and original ways.

With AI and automation, there will be an increasing demand for soft skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication, community engagement, service development, and leadership. This is where I encourage people to invest their professional development. Data science and statistics and visualization techniques are extremely valuable, but being able to imagine, build, explain, re-interpret, and collaborate effectively is a timeless foundation.

One last thing, for me personally, I have gained the most from cohort-based programs. Virtual and in-person. There is something powerful and effective when a group of people gather for a limited time to learn and grow together.

Anything else you like to mention that we did not get to discuss?

We have big dreams for the Opportunity Incubator. The 1.0 version is focused on finding potential places to present and publish, as well as agencies who might support our work. We also want to integrate workflows, policies, processes, forms, and advice. So instead of just finding a grant, we can layer that with information, tools, and support to help move things forward at our institution.

We imagine it could also function as a community finding tool—who’s working on what or what opportunities exist for collaboration. By identifying participants and attendees from CMU, too, we might inspire a more strategic approach to conference attendance, as well as encourage more reflective post-conference conversation. Essentially, it’s about pooling resources and creating a framework to invite people to work together in different ways. In this sense, not only are we connecting people to a range of resources and opportunities, but we’re also aiming to connect them with each other.

An Interview with Tracie D. Hall, Incoming Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the University of Washington Information School


Tracie D. Hall

Professional development work is more than attending a conference or a webinar. It’s about learning how to bring one’s values into the learning to address issues like inequity and disparity in the field. We spotlight library thought leaders and their thoughts on professional development and research. In this blog post, we interview Tracie D. Hall, Incoming Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the University of Washington Information School, for her thoughts on library issues like censorship, her current research project, and reflections on IFLA WLIC 2023

Thank you for speaking with us! Please tell us about your work, your research, and what you are focusing on in libraries. What are you looking forward to regarding the University of Washington Information School?   

Since leaving the American Library Association (ALA), I’ve turned to a research project that has literally been on the side of my desk for the past decade. I’m interested in the history of de facto and de jure efforts to restrict the right to read and the right to learn to read, both in and beyond the United States. Censorship, compulsory illiteracy, and disinformation have long been used as tactics to repress and disempower people. I am returning to that subject in the hopes that I can produce some substantive writing that will raise visibility and inspire reparative action.

I think what I’m looking forward to most at the University of Washington Information School, which is also my alma mater, is co-investigating with students the deeply political nature of information access in and outside of libraries. Whether we acknowledge it or not, the flow of information and the ability to access and interpret it, ultimately determines socioeconomic and political agency or conversely, disenfranchisement.

You attended IFLA WLIC 2023 in Rotterdam, what did you think? Any highlights and reflections you want to share with us?

As always at IFLA, I spent a lot of time at the poster sessions. I really learn from talking with library practitioners about applied research. There were librarians from places like Senegal and Indonesia doing really progressive work. I was particularly impressed with the lengths that librarians at Chaoyang University of Technology (CYUT) in Taiwan have gone to make their Poding Memorial Library open to the broader community beyond the campus. I think that colleges and universities have a real opportunity to grow their reach and impact by expanding their adult education offerings beyond degrees and certifications, and the library can be a resource for that.

Another huge highlight of WLIC 2023 is that I spent a significant amount of time, as I always try to do, visiting public libraries. I was able to get to the Rotterdam Public Library, De Boekenberg (the public library of Spijkenisse), The Hague Public Library, Utrecht Public Library, and of course OBA — Amsterdam’s public library, which I first visited shortly after its opening in 2007 and remain obsessed with.

Visiting libraries outside of the US and looking for new and different models of service and how users respond is an indispensable part of my ongoing development as a librarian, LIS strategist, and educator. I have been known to plan my entire travel itinerary around libraries, even when taking vacations.

We’ve been seeing an increasing wave of book banning especially on authors and illustrators who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) or LGBTQ+ in North America, in Asia, and in Europe now, what are your thoughts about these issues happening globally? 

You are right that the resurgence and really unprecedented nature of book censorship today has quickly become a global phenomena.

In the last six months I’ve spent sustained periods in Australia, South America, and Europe speaking about and observing the suppression of information, which has increasingly become state-sponsored or aided. Though book censorship is not new, what’s concerning is that we are seeing the rise of censorship occur in and across democracies that fought for and were founded on civil liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly. Restricting any one of these interconnected freedoms poses a threat to the ecosystem necessary to maintain democracy.

What’s really worrying is that I am seeing evidence that those that seek to restrict the right to read and to discredit the histories of marginalized people in order to politically suppress those communities are being informed and emboldened by the book banning and media disinformation that has become so rampant in the US. Now we have some states banning not just books but also words like “gay” and in Alabama censuring whole concepts like Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  My concern is that if we are not careful, censorship — as well as information restriction, and thought-policing – will become one of the most consequential US exports of this contemporary era.

When we met at WLIC 2023, we briefly talked about the meaning of justice as a value in our work. You mentioned in a presentation at the ALA Annual 2020 virtual conference, “Let our legacy be justice.” How should we ground ourselves in this meaning, and consider what justice means in librarianship work?  

It isn’t lost on me that of the speeches I made and writings I authored during my tenure as executive director at ALA, “let our legacy be justice,” seems to have left the most indelible mark. I’m grateful for that.

I wrote those words less than a month after the murder of George Floyd, when compounded by the racial and class disparities further revealed by the pandemic, libraries like other institutions were encountering lines in the sand: racist or antiracist, complicit or accountable, performative or committed, unjust or just. And to be honest, there are long histories of libraries being on both sides of these relationships.

What I wanted to stress then is that we who run and work in libraries always have a choice to reinforce the status quo of racism, classism, ableism, homophobia, and bias, or resist it. History judges every generation. That judgement becomes our legacy. My plea was then, as it is now, that when we are judged for what we did and what we did not do, let’s work to ensure that the collective legacy of library workers practicing today is that we consciously tried to stand on the right side of history. Let it be that we consciously chose equity, accessibility, fairness, and inclusion. Let our legacy be that we did not let disparity, violence, and tyranny stand unchecked even when it loomed over us, even when it called us out.

Visiting a Library Series: A High School School Library by CPDWL Advisor Ray Pun

Welcome sign

Recently I made a visit to the Sequoia High School Media Center, a school library in California, USA. I had a chance to meet with Ms. Snow, the teacher librarian to learn more about how her work as a teacher librarian and the school library supports high school students (ages 14-18). As part of this series on visiting libraries, I wanted to highlight what I learned from this visit and hopefully inspire you to visit your libraries and bring some ideas! It was amazing to see how Ms. Snow recruited and partnered with student ambassadors to promote the library. It really creates a lot of excitement when they take on initiatives to promote the library on social media and in person. Students also created “March Madness bracket” which was placed in front of the library.


The library ambassador team! Photo provided by Ms. Snow

A student-made March Madness bracket shared by Ms. Snow

ambassador sweatshirts

Photo shared by Ms. Snow

ambassador sweatshirts

Photo shared by Ms. Snow of student ambassadors; “each student put their name on a book spine and the goal of ambassadors is to build community around the media center and its goals.”

student ambassadors.





Here are some of the student ambassadors in cutouts holding a QR code to promote research and information literacy videos on their YouTube Channel. The students are also in the videos and explain how to use the library resources.

There is also a book bike where Ms. Snow used after the pandemic to deliver books to students. This was based on an inspiration to deliver books with Ms. Snow’s own bike. The book bike is occasionally shared during school events and parades. According to Ms. Snow, “The book bike appears in the quad and around campus from time to time to remind folks that literacy exists everywhere!” The library has a book display celebrating women’s history month, in March.

Library Bike – photo provided by Ms. Snow

book display

The library also has an exercise bike for anyone wanting to read while on-the-go! It’s been used in the library’s social media videos to promote reading and library resources. The library also has many graphic novels on display to be borrowed. There was also a series of Dragon Ball graphic novels on display in honor of Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball, who passed away recently.

library exercising bike directions to books

The media center also has a computer lab where students can learn different technology skills. Ms. Snow also teaches proper citations. The space is also used by the school’s lego club. The shelf on the left contains books focusing on Indigenous experiences by Indigenous authors. The collections support the school’s ethnic studies curriculum.

indigenous collections computer room

In addition, there are also “zines” which are small-circulation self-published works of original or appropriated texts and images, created by students to share out. On the shelf, there are also book recommendations created by students, like a bookstore you would see. It’s a very clever way to get students involved in creating and sharing their experiences in this space.

zine collections student book reviews

I had a great time chatting with Ms. Snow about media literacy as well as other projects related to text books, multimedia learning, and podcasts. I highly recommend visiting a high school library because it’s very different from an elementary or middle school library. In fact, visit any school library and meet with a school librarian if you have the opportunity!

with Ms. Snow

An Interview with Dr. Aisha M. Johnson, Advocate, Educator, & Scholar

When we think of leadership in professional development, we need to think about different approaches and styles, and how to grow as a leader in the library field over time. We spotlight professional development trainers and experts in librarianship to talk about their work. In this blog post, we interview Dr. Aisha Johnson for her thoughts on leadership and professional development.

Aisha Johnson

Dr. Aisha Johnson (she/her), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Outreach at Georgia Institute of Technology Library, is a revelator of Southern library history, information access, and literacy. Formerly MLS Program Director for the School of Library and Information Sciences (LIS) at North Carolina Central University, continuing as adjunct, she stands on her commitment to enhancing LIS through service, practice, and curriculum to produce librarians and archivists who become scholar-practitioners and leaders.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Can you briefly tell us about your work as a library leader and your professional development interests?

Aisha: I’ve been working in libraries for since 2006, starting as a circulation assistant for a public library. I have worked in a variety of libraries/archives (and departments) including academic (public and private), federal, and public. More specifically, I have worked progressively in archives and library leadership for more than 10 years. In these different roles, I have experienced different styles of leadership, some I didn’t agree with and some I did. Oftentimes, I found myself in the position of not receiving the type of leadership I needed; people leadership. Those experiences helped me become the people-leader that I am today, with a toolbelt for situational leadership.

My style of leadership is strictly about people and professional development. As an educator, I always say I love to be the vehicle to someone’s epiphany, and I mean that for students and professionals. That’s my leadership! That is what I focus on, advocacy and professional development. When we better understand that people need to feel seen, valued, and heard for a true investment in the well-being of the organization, I think leaders – and those in managerial positions – will better understand emotional investments.  Currently serving as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Outreach at the Georgia Tech Library, I have been able to employ a variety of leadership skills from my toolbelt that has helped me be an inspiring leader and scholar-practitioner.

What do you think are the challenges in engaging library workers at all levels in leadership development activities?

Aisha: Organizations (and state politics) that restrict engagement with policy and funding. We know, everything DEI is under attack, but the reality is we have had to shift over the decades in a variety of ways due to political challenges. Our very core of intellectual freedom is challenged. But we are information professionals! We are and will continue to become more innovative in our approach to language concerning foundational activities and people. I encourage everyone to learn educational policy as it relates to your organization and follow the ink, if you will. Discuss it and see where it’s going so you are ready without surprise. Learn the policy, learn the game. We got this, for the communities we serve. They need us and we need them.

Also, people. People are a challenge, sometimes. The “we’ve always done it this way” people. A good leader seeks to bring everyone along. Sometimes, we only focus on new and/or mid-career professionals. And while it may be challenging, it is not fair to neglect your seasoned and veteran professionals. They have institutional and professional knowledge. While it may take some maneuvering, do it. You won’t regret it and they will appreciate it.

Challenges will always exist, and it is leadership’s job to curve the challenges so that your library workers have a smoother day serving the patrons. That’s leadership.

What are some trends or areas in the library leadership field that you are seeing?

Aisha: The leaders that are doing it right are invested in the development of their people…even if it means the person outgrowing the organization. Be invested in your people for the profession. We want to retain professionals for the LIS field, not just one organization. Bright minds should have bright futures.

I do not care for boxed-in departments, you know those that do not allow for the people to explore the work of others or engagement. I love when leaders are open and allow the natural curiosity of library workers to explore and engage. I think that is a wonderful “trend,” but really it should be the culture. It breaks down barriers on a variety of levels and builds understanding of how various parts of the big machine works. It gives way for empathy and appreciation of your colleagues.

Also, I wouldn’t call community engagement a trend. It’s a part of our core values; serving the community in social, recreational, and educational ways. I love that! It is one of the most exciting things when the library is meeting the community where they are in a fun and intriguing way.

What resources or opportunities would you like to share to highlight the people-leadership skills?

Aisha: Talk to people, communicate. Ask about experiences and seek guidance. This profession is filled with kind people who want new leaders to emerge and develop. No one will turn you away or not share their experiences. At least, I never do. The saying is “closed mouths don’t get fed,” and I have extended that to half open mouths don’t get full. Talk to people.

Invest in your own professional development. Seek leadership and management training through professional organizations like Association of College and Research Libraries, Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, American Library Association, Society of American Archivists, state library associations, etc. Even webinars and seminars provide helpful insight. You can learn leadership skills from a variety of places.

Get involved in the profession. Leadership needs to be seen. People need to get to know you and your platform. Seek to build partnerships and collaborations that add to the LIS platform of advocacy. Become scholar-practitioner. You have something to say, write about it. It helps build the LIS curriculum.

Get outside of yourself. Believe it or not, I am introvert. Yes, yes I am. But it was my passion and love for the profession that evolved me into the advocate that I am. I knew in order to get things done, I had to put the shyness to the side and build this platform. Not to say I do not get exhausted, but it does get easier. Now advocating – for libraries and archives, librarianship and archivists, leadership and professional development, representation, and inclusion – is my favorite thing. Advocate to the point that others are advocating for you and the platform. I’m really good at that and I only do what I am passionate about. It’s the easiest way to remain authentic. Also, when it gets to the most frustrating moments, it’s the simplest way to recall “the why.”

Leave. Sounds absurd, right?! But be ok leaving. First let’s be clear. People do not leave organizations; they leave leaders that are not invested in growing the individual. Always have a plan and be open to relocation. Especially early in your career, know that three to four years of impact is enough time for you to make a difference. Grow or Go. Be impactful for the profession, and sometimes (often times) that does not mean staying in the same location for 5-10+ years. As long as you are building on an impactful platform, this will not hurt your career.

Pay attention to the leaders of the field, look at those CVs and resumes. Build the path for you while learning from others. Have a goal that highlights and uplifts the profession.

Thank you for speaking with us! Anything else you’d like to share that we didn’t get to talk about?

Aisha: For library leaders, see your role beyond the library. The library is the soul of the schoolhouse, so commit to partnerships and collaborations across campus and community that highlight the services, collections, and people as resources. That’s how we remain relevant as a primary resource. It will only strengthen the advocacy for students, faculty, and the community. Talk to people.

For those who aspire, leadership goes beyond a title. Leadership is innate, but it is also a taught skill set refined with experience. Even if you do not hold a titled leadership role within your organization, you can get involved in the profession and develop as a leadership, mover, and shaker. Leadership is a life skill that is transferable.

Visiting a Library Series: A Middle School Library by CPDWL Advisor Ray Pun

library spaceAs part of this CPDWL blog series on visiting libraries, I wanted to highlight a middle school library visit (a library for students ages 11-13). Located in Palo Alto, California (USA), this middle school is called “Ellen Fletcher Middle School.” A mutual friend connected me to the teacher librarian, Ms. Lee, who was gracious to show me around and shared what she and her library assistant Ms. Arlana have been working on. We talked about school library advocacy work, embedding library collections into the curriculum, project-based learning, media literacy, honor books, short story dispenser and more!

The library space was very open and there weren’t many students at first since they were in class. It gave me an opportunity to explore the library’s collections and services. I’ll highlight a few unique features that this middle school library is doing to support the students here.

Library short story dispenser and a contest exhibit

On the left, it is a short story dispenser where this device can create and print out a 1, 3 or 5 minute-stories for students to take and read! It’s been popular in universities like in Penn State too. Ms. Lee received this opportunity through a partnership with the Palo Alto Public Library. Students could grab a short story to read as they go in or out of the library. In addition, the library hosted a contest for students to write a 1 minute story and these stories would be entered into the machine for other students to read. It was a nice way to engage with literacy and creativity.

Ms. Lee told me that the judges came from other school and public libraries and teachers too.

honor books on shelf

Afterwards we looked at the honor books on a shelf. Honor books are books that anyone can borrow without having to ask about it or be seen checking them out. The topics focus on teens, youths, and adolescent interests such as puberty, mental health issues, and more. It was a safe shelf for students to borrow a book and not have to talk to anyone about them.

Next, I noticed the book cart focused on sustainability topics and issues. It was very interesting to see how the books aligned with specific topics like climate, transportation, and other topics. Even the garbage bin was labeled with helpful information about landfill.

garbage bin label

books on shelf with labels

IFLA Spot Fake News StandWe also discussed collection development strategies and how they actively diversify the collection to reflect different voices and identities. I learned from Ms. Lee about how she as a teacher librarian, engages with the curriculum by collaborating with teachers on assignments such as an Ancient Egypt research project, having books ready on shelf on that topic. She was also ready to engage with students having to cite their sources. I also noticed the IFLA Spot a Fake News flyer in the library too, which is timely since California recently mandated a new media literacy curriculum in schools. Teacher librarians will be great collaborators on this issue.

3 people posing in a photo togetherMs. Lee also developed a lot of online resources such as research guides. You can learn more this library by visiting their website with extensive book recommendations to students. I also noticed there’s a focus on engaging teachers and students through learning technologies and resources developed by the library, such as online tools to help students cite their sources properly. 

It was evident that Ms. Lee and Ms. Arlana were striving to make this library into an inclusive and fun learning space. I appreciate visiting this library because I learned a lot about what our colleagues are doing and can better inform our work in the library field! I highly recommend visiting a school library and connecting with colleagues there!

Celebrating #InternationalVolunteersDay and Meme Contest Success By Helen Chan, IFLA CPDWL Section Chair

Celebrating Meme Contest WinnersCelebrating Volunteerism and Creativity in Librarianship

As we mark #InternationalVolunteersDay on December 5, 2023, we at the IFLA Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning (CPDWL) Section, along with the New Professionals Special Interest Group (NPSIG), extend our warmest regards and gratitude to our dedicated volunteers. Our volunteers are the backbone of our collective efforts, contributing to our library associations with innovative programs and invaluable resources.

A Tribute to Our Meme Contest Winners

The recently concluded Meme Contest was a resounding success, thanks to the creativity and enthusiasm of participants from around the globe. Congratulations to all who took part!

Applause for the Winners

We extend our heartiest congratulations to the top three memes that won our community’s hearts. Each winner has been awarded an eCertificate, meticulously designed by CPDWL Standing Committee Member Elena Corradini.

Here are the victors who managed to both amuse and enlighten us:

Mohamed Sherif Mahmoud (Egypt)

Hamid Sana (Pakistan)

Cat-aloging Napping my way past p.eriodical publications









Sywar Ayachi (Tunisia)

Gratitude to Our Jury and Advisors

A special thank you to our dedicated CPDWL jury members, a truly global panel that faced the challenging task of selecting the best from the best. Your discernment and commitment are greatly appreciated.

Furthermore, we thank the CPDWL advisors who participated in the voting process:

Ray Pun
Ulrike Lang
Monica Ertel
Edward Junhao Lim
Loida Garcia-Febo

Acknowledgement to Standing Committee Members and Volunteers

Our heartfelt appreciation goes to the CPDWL Standing Committee Members:

Helen Chan (Chair)
Jorun Systad (Secretary)
Joan Weeks (Information Coordinator)
Heba Ismail
Anne Reddacliff
Carmen Lei
Svetlana Gorokhova
Julia Gelfand

And a special mention to our volunteer:

Calista KY Lam

Join Us for Future Events

Your participation and contributions as IFLA volunteers empower our profession and create a vibrant community. We eagerly look forward to your involvement in the upcoming events brought to you by the IFLA’s CPDWL Section. Let’s continue to inspire and be inspired!

Thank you all once again for making a difference!

Visiting a New Library: Exploring the Community Impact in New and Familiar Ways by CPDWL Advisor Ray Pun

Main Library, South San Francisco Library

In late December, I visited the Main library of South San Francisco (a different system from San Francisco Public Library) called “Library |Parks and Recreation Center.” This library opened its doors back in October 28, 2023. In this post, I wanted to reflect on this experience and share what this library is offering to the community in South San Francisco. This library was very spacious and in a new land as I learned from a library staff.  There were programming and events listed for children, young adults, families, and adults. These activities included lego building events, book clubs, and story times for children in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Tagalog! Signage throughout the library was bilingual in English and in Spanish. In addition, a library wing was named after a dedicated library advocate and former U.S. representative for California’s 14th congressional district Jackie Speier.

Library Wing named after Jackie Speier

Here are some highlights from my visit:

Memory Activity Kits

Memory Activity Kits – According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease. “An estimated 6.7 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in 2023. Seventy-three percent are age 75 or older.”  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “currently more than 55 million people have dementia worldwide,” I saw there were “Memory Activity Kits” which is the library’s Mental Health Initiative, “funded in whole or in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provision of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, administered by the California State Librarian.” The kits support “caregivers and families in providing mental stimulation to members experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s.” I looked at the kits and they included jigsaw puzzles and card games as well as music and books for specific decades to help those experiencing memory loss.

Video game collections on display

Video Game Collections – Video games as library collections aren’t necessarily new to libraries (see Stanford University Libraries, 2023 and IFLA WLIC 2018 programme from Audiovisual and Multimedia Section joint with the Information Technology Section called “Video Games: Winning strategies for libraries“). But what made it interesting was that I was just looking up a couple of games on Twitch, an interactive live streaming service for gamers, and suddenly I see the games available to be borrowed. They were located in the youth section of the library. It reminded me of the importance of public libraries collecting and sharing resources beyond books. The American Library Association’s Games and Gaming Round Table offers more information about video game collections and community engagement with games

Veteran resource center

In addition to collections, this library had a  Veterans Resource Center and a MakerSpace. The Veterans Resource Center offers library and community resources supporting veterans. (For additional resources and ideas on libraries supporting veterans, see Libraries & Veterans: National Forum).

The MakerSpace in this library was very big and had different technologies such as sewing machines and printers. There were products on display ranging from small robot toys to miniature figures. (See IFLA Section’s Libraries for Children and Young Adults on “MakerSpaces: new tradition in context.”) Not all libraries can offer these MakerSpace resources and training since they can expensive but it was very good to see how this library’s MakerSpace support, engage, and transform their communities in different ways.

MakerSpace in the library

MakerSpace products on display

When you are a librarian, visiting other libraries, especially new ones, can offer new ideas and lens into how libraries serve and impact the local community. It’s important to document these experiences to show how we can learn from each other and better serve our communities. As you visit a library for the first time, observe the space and service points from signage to accessibility, it may help you understand how the library is set up to support all members of the community. I am inspired by visiting this new library and hope this blog post inspire you to visit libraries and offer you some ideas too!