Tag Archives: continuing professional development

Translators wanted!












Our new poster promoting the IFLA Guidelines for CPD in the digital environment was proudly launched at the WLIC in Dublin (see the earlier blog post, 27 August 2022). We are now calling for LIS colleagues across the world to translate the poster into their own language(s).

The goal is to ensure that the important messages about the imperative for CPD for everyone working in library and information services is shared, with emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders when professional learning moves online.

We hope that all national and regional library associations will support the translation of the poster for their members. If you would like to get involved in the translation work (it’s only a couple of hundred words!), please contact Gill Hallam (gillian.hallam1[at]bigpond.com) to request a copy of the poster template file.

We are looking forward to hearing from you very soon!

Librarians in the borderland between professionalism and amateurism

I know – the title may provoke, but by the end of this text, it will hopefully seem comprehensible and justified.

As senior lecturer at a Swedish university offering educational programs in Library and information science (LIS), I sometimes get questions and comments about the training of future librarians. Often it is about what aspiring librarians should know and how this is best taught. It is striking how engaging the issue of librarians’ competence is – the various opinions come from widely different quarters. Sometimes librarians’ work is even proposed as the answer to major societal challenges such as reawakening young people’s lust to read and strengthening citizens’ digital skills.

In addition to the outside world’s expectations of the profession, there is an internal tendency to problematize the professional role and competence. That debate has recurred over decades in trade press, mailing lists and social media. In parallel, research is conducted with the aim of understanding, challenging, equipping and ideally inspiring the profession, and the production of Bachelor and Master theses at our universities testifies to the interest in profession-related topics among students. Their small-scale research contributions are quick-footed and likely to delve into the field’s hottest questions.

Debate and recurring discussions are sometimes interpreted as the profession facing a crisis. For my own part, however, I am both optimistic and incurably curious (the researcher’s occupational injury?). I see vivid discussion as an expression of the importance of libraries for the country’s inhabitants, and internal debate as a sign of vitality. Few professions show such spark! The need for discussion can be linked to the history of the profession; the professionalization process of the past century, amalgamated professional organizations, academisation of training and the establishment of the LIS discipline. Today the profession is powerfully organized, but at the same time it spans disparate activities.

As a natural reaction to societal developments, and perhaps as a backlash for the unifying professional project, new competences are called for in libraries, and more specialized training.

Another important aspect of the position of librarianship today, is its quality as a welfare profession; one of the female-intensive occupations that have thrived within the Nordic welfare hub. Ambivalence towards the profession’s theoretical basis is typical, and compared to classic professions, the welfare professions are less hierarchical, more collaborative and highly focused on the clients. I know from experience, that responsiveness to users’ needs and interests is a shining beacon for aspiring and active librarians, regardless of library type.

Surely that sounds nice? But every medal has its flip side. The emphasis on responsiveness, commitment, and (often) idealism, can make librarians stretch far in their compliance. Always being prepared to tone down competitive thinking and professional pretensions out of consideration for the interests of others, is an attitude that risks backfiring. For an illustration of this dilemma of a welfare profession, we may turn to the children’s librarians – a group that was early associated with selfless work of the “vocational type”. We’d like to think that image faded decades ago, but my research into the competence of children’s librarians was an eye-opener.

The participants in my study said they appreciated the rich opportunities for competence development as well as their chance to influence its content. But several librarians also described dissatisfaction with the overly free choices and the perceived lack of managerial steering of the knowledge-developing activities. Rather than seeing the collective competence as a strategic resource for the workplace, competence development was often treated as an encouraging ‘salary benefit’. Several managers also hesitated in connection with my interview question concerning what incentives they saw for children’s librarians’ competence development. Their answers were that the librarians’ heartfelt meetings with the users – in this case children who love to read – were to be regarded as both a driving force and a reward.

Get me right – trusting relationships and personal appreciation are worth their weight in gold in everyday work, but should we really, in 2022, regard professional work as its own reward? Such an approach, with the logic of the old “vocation” just below the surface, undeniably brings to mind non-profit and amateur work.

There is no room here for the follow-up questions that need to be asked. I end by stating that those concerned with how the librarian profession can be strengthened for the future, should pay attention to where the boundaries are drawn between professional and personal commitment. As a representative of research and higher education, I want to promote a reflective professional practice, where sensitivity to the outside world is complemented by research-oriented and proactive working methods; an ambition that probably applies to most universities offering LIS education around the globe.

What do you think – is there reason to push the discussion about the prerequisites and the future of librarianship one step further? I think so.


Jenny Lindberg
Lecturer at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science, University of Borås, Sweden


Note: This article has previously been published in Swedish at http://www.noll27.se

The study on children’s librarians mentioned in the blog entry is accessible (in Swedish): https://regionbiblioteket.se/publicerat/barnbibliotekariers-kompetens/


Meet your CPDWL officer

CPDWL will try a new format, to keep the connections of the standing committee members and advisory group members more tight.

As a result of the breakout room sessions during the mid-term meeting of CPDWL in February 2022, we are planning to have zoom meetings every month without an agenda, just to chat and talk about the ongoing projects, questions raised by the participants or information from IFLA and its bodies. And we hope to gain some new ideas for programmes as well.

We’ll start by invitation, but might open up these meetings for interested colleagues from around the world later.

Let’s see, if it will be successful or the hosting officer will be just on her/his own?

Happy for your comments and ideas to make this format successful.

Take care and kind regards

Ulrike, Almuth, Alan and Edward

Information for Coachees

Check out the new content on the Coaching project webpage https://www.ifla.org/node/93744

Vera Keown from the Management & Marketing Section, the project partner of CPDWL since 2018, created useful information for coachees to prepare their first coaching session with us or in a different environment. To showcase the international community the original English information is already translated in all official IFLA languages and into Swedish. More translations to come.

These Coachee information and preparation will help LIS professionals for the second round of online coaching during this year’s WLIC 2021 in the second half of August.

Timing and booking will be announce later this Spring.

And still the Coaching Initiative is looking for Coaches.

If you are interested in being a coach, send your expression of interest to:

Carmen Lei [email protected] or
Barbara Schleihagen [email protected]

And if you haven’t visit the webpage so far check out the webinars and coaching resources https://www.ifla.org/cpdwl/projects


Attend Bilingual Virtual Conference focused on Civic Engagement March 25-26, 2021

I am very excited to announce a free bilingual Spanish/English conference – Seguimos Creando Enlaces 2021: Civic Engagement in Action – which will be taking place online over two days from March 25th-March 26th 2021 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm US-Pacific Time each day.

This mini-conference is part of the Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conference series, which was started in 2011 and was founded based on many of the principles of civic engagement. Civic engagement is all about making a difference in the civic life of our communities and about promoting the quality of life in a community. Civic engagement activities range from voting to volunteering as well as other activities that benefit society. Libraries are an essential part of helping communities thrive and libraries have a key role to play in engaging with individuals and groups to help them participate actively in civic activities.

This mini-conference differs from the typical Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conference in several ways.

  • It is the first completely bilingual Library 2.0 conference ever offered since the conference series was founded. All sessions will be offered in both Spanish and English.
  • The sessions are spread over two days instead of just one day; this is to accommodate the additional time it takes to translate content.
  • This conference was a true collaboration of multiple organizations all working closely together to ensure that great content would be included and available in both English and Spanish. Library 2.0 Worldwide Conference Series is partnering with the Seguimos Creando Enlaces (Creating Connections) bilingual conference to bring it online; the conference is presented by the San José State University School of Information, Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conference Series, Southern California Library Cooperative in partnership with the SERRA Library Cooperative, and the California State Library.

Registration is free, and attendees will have the option to view live presentations in English and Spanish. Sessions will be recorded and made available after the event.

Seguimos Creando Enlaces 2021: Civic Engagement in Action

  • Who Should Attend: Librarians, library staff members and library school students from around the globe
  • When: March 25 and 26, 2021
  • Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pacific Time each day (UTC-7)
  • Where: Online via Zoom
  • Cost: FREE!
  • Presentations and Speakers: Conference Schedule
  • REGISTER NOW! (English form)
  • REGISTER NOW! (Spanish form)

I hope you will be able to join the conference to learn about different perspectives related to civic engagement, meet colleagues from the US, Mexico and across the globe, and engage in interactive discussions through the virtual conference.


I love reading PUBLIB one of the OCLC discussion lists (listservs)[1] that includes more than 9,000 public librarians from around the world with whom you can share your successes, questions and problems. One of the messages that capture my attention was from Dr. Ruth V. Small, ENABLE project Director talking about the project.

ENABLE stands for Expanding Nondiscriminatory Access By Librarians Everywhere, the website is available at: https://projectenable.syr.edu. Since 2012, Project ENABLE, funded in part by a series of grants from the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian and Laura Bush 21st Century Library Continuation Grants of the Institute for Museum & Library Services and from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University.

Vision and Goals[2]

Project ENABLE Provides professional development for library professionals from all types of libraries in order to build capacity for providing equitable access and services to students with disabilities, an underserved population. Project ENABLE training is intended to:

  • Raising the level of librarians’ understanding of and sensitivity for the library and information needs of students with disabilities and
  • Fostering their ability to develop programs and services, provide adequate facilities, and select appropriate resources and technologies to meet those needs.

While this site provides training for all educators who support diverse learners, they focus particularly on the school, public, and academic librarian to reach their goal of equity for all students.

Learning Modules:

Project ENABLE training site offers most comprehensive, totally free, online training site for librarians in the area of libraries and disabilities. It also contains self-paced learning modules, each focused on a major area of content related to library and information services to students with disabilities. Each module includes an introduction, learning objectives, a set of topics, examples, activities, related resources, and a brief self-assessment. The learning modules are:

  • Module 1: Disability Awareness
  • Module 2: Disability Law & Policy
  • Module 3: Creating an Accessible Library
  • Module 4: Planning Inclusive Programs and Instruction
  • Module five: Assistive Technology in Libraries
  • Module 6: Targeting Autism in Libraries

Dr. Ruth mentioned in his message that the website was recently updated and contains the following:

  1. Interactive challenge videos, featuring real-life librarians who describe how they faced (and overcame) specific accessibility and inclusion challenges.
  2. Created and published the first issue of PE News, a semi-annual e-newsletter with informative articles written by disabilities experts, professional librarians, and pre-service librarians.
  3. ENABLE is partnering with Infopeople, the high quality professional development site, to provide a series of free online courses, webinars and discussions related to libraries and disabilities.
  4. They have created a “Train the Trainer” section of training (to be available in early 2021) that will contain workshop/course outlines and templates, learning support materials, PowerPoints, suggested readings and assessments that everyone can use to create and deliver customized training to their staff, paraprofessionals and/or volunteers.

This is indeed a great initiative that really deserve to be highlighted as it offers all the previous resources for free to all librarians.

[1]  https://www.oclc.org/content/forms/worldwide/en/internet-subscription.html

[2] https://projectenable.syr.edu/AboutUs

“Soft Skills are Heart Skills”- Part 2: More Take Aways from the Library 2.0 Conference: Wholehearted Libraries

On March 10, 2020, I attended the virtual conference Library 2.020: Wholehearted Libraries: Soft Skills for 21st Century Information Professionals. I previously described my take aways from the opening keynote session of the conference. This blog post addresses some of my takeaways from other sessions I attended at the conference.

The recordings for the keynote and regular sessions are all posted on the main event page for Library 2.0: https://www.library20.com/wholehearted. Please note that you need to be a member of Library 2.0 (free) to view them. If you aren’t a member, just click “Join” on the top right of the homepage. You can then view all of the presentation recordings for free.

Here are my takeaways…


Library Leaders Are Failing Librarianship: Soft Skills Needed for Human Library Leadership
Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian, Temple University Libraries

I attended an excellent session by Steven Bell focused on “Library Leaders Are Failing Librarianship: Soft Skills Needed for Human Library Leadership.” He identified common library leadership concerns including that staff are disengaged, staff have low morale, and staff lack confidence and trust in their leaders. For more on Low Morale Among Academic Librarians, see the research conducted by Kaetrena Davis Kendrick. He also mentioned a related article he wrote: How about a little kindness for library leaders? Leading from the Library.

Bell recommended that library leaders focus on three areas of human leadership. Human leadership means:

  • creating a culture of change readiness,
  • adopting new power (open, participatory, peer-driven) vs. old power (exercise new power), and
  • establishing a self-aware empathic approach which means understanding workplace issues from the perspective of workers.

Bell identified 5 soft skills for human leaders:

  • Engage in focused listening, e.g., talk less and listen more.
  • Give meaningful feedback, e.g., give positive and negative feedback and engage in two-way feedback.
  • Help others grow, e.g., nurture others and support their growth.
  • Be flexible.
  • Practice balanced leadership.

For next steps in human leadership, Bell recommended the following:

  • Commit to being a human leader
  • Commit to being a learning leader
  • Commit to being a reflective leader
  • Start with a small change, e.g., focus on more listening and less talking.

For additional reading, see Daring Leadership: What Library Leaders Can Learn from Brene Brown and SmartBrief Leadership.


Wholehearted Hypergrowth: Scaling Up in Silicon Valley
Elizabeth Borghi, Knowledge Program Manager, Knowledge Bee Knowledge Management Consulting

Before making the transition into knowledge manager roles in the Silicon Valley, Elizabeth Borghi started her career in public and academic libraries. Through her work in the Silicon Valley, Borghi learned the critical importance of soft skills and how, in fact, soft skills are key to team success.

She shared her experience of working at a rapidly growing startup company which had to scale its global employee hiring very quickly. She was asked to develop a 2-week-long training program for all new employees and to on board these new employees quickly.

Through this experience, Borghi identified the following as key elements of wholehearted workplaces:

  • Empathy – for our customers and for one another; this should be part of everything we do.
  • Curiosity and growth – through a supportive learning environment, which can provide job shadowing, mentorship, lending library, and exposure to new opportunities.
  • Radical trust – support employees when mistakes happen; encourage failing forward. Make sure that employees know that you are there to help them succeed, and that you show up to work giving 100% to the job. It is also important that we give one another feedback.

Summing up her talk, she quoted Rumi:

“Wherever you stand be the soul of that place.” Rumi


Closing Keynote
Michael Stephens, Associate Professor in the School of Information at San Jose State University
Stacie Ledden, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Anythink Libraries @ilovemyanythink

Dr. Michael Stephens kicked off the closing keynote by asking Library 2.0 conference attendees to reflect on 3 AHAs that amazed you, 2 concepts you want to focus on, and 1 idea to apply immediately. A couple of AHAs participants shared were that we have to serve ourselves, libraries are central to meeting basic needs, a strong library = a strong community, and kindness is important. A couple of concepts participants wanted to focus on included self-care and developing more empathy. One idea that a participant wanted to apply immediately was being more kind to myself.

Dr. Michael Stephens then interviewed Stacie Ledden about Anythink Libraries and her views about wholehearted libraries.

  • Q: What does it mean to you to be a wholehearted library?
    A: It means putting people at the center and helping people fall in love with libraries. Anythink is a values-based organization focused on: Compassion, Eagerness, Passion, Everyone is creative, and Optimistic attitude.
  • Q: What skills do you look for in Anythinkers?
    A: As a competency-based organization, Anythink hires and reviews people based on their 13 core competencies, which includes I am customer focused; I am flexible and embrace change; I am a problem solver; I am emotionally mature; among other competencies. Anythink Libraries believe that they can teach their staff skills but they need to hire for the soft skills and attitudes (in other words, the innate sense of a person) that they are looking for.
  • Q: What can we do to increase empathy in staff?
    A: She recommended looking outside ourselves and our industry for inspiration and looking in the community.
  • Q: What do you do if you feel some of your staff may not have that level of empathy that is needed? Can we teach it?  What happens to people who aren’t where they should be?
    A: She suggested that solid mentorship can help.
  • Q: What story do you want to tell as Anythink Libraries?
    A: She likes to think of Anythink Libraries as “Town Square” – the library is the place where people come together and can have dialogues for civic engagement.

Dr. Michael Stephens then concluded the conference with a brief conference wrap up. He reviewed some of the themes that emerged from the conference, including the importance of the following: love and taking care of people, “hygge” or sense of community, kindness, compassionate service, and compassionate leadership.

“We are the heart of our communities, and that only works because of what the people who work in libraries give of themselves. The best make that emotional investment because they believe in the institution and the communities they serve.” Dr. Michael Stephens

In sum, the heart of library means that:

  • We listen to our users
  • We teach in every sense of the word
  • We build community
  • We let everyone in.

“Libraries encourage the heart, which means we should…lead from the heart, learn from the heart, and play from the heart.” Dr. Michael Stephens


If you enjoyed this Library 2.0 conference, you might also be interested in speaking at and/or attending other upcoming Library 2.020 virtual conferences (all 12-3pm Pacific Time):

  • Small, Rural and Independent Libraries Wednesday, June 17, 2020. This conference is being organized in partnership with Jim Lynch from TechSoup for Libraries, Kate Laughlin from the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, and the School of Information at San José State University.
  • Sustainability in Libraries Wednesday, October 14, 2020. This conference is being organized in partnership with Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, executive director, Mid-Hudson Library System (New York), and the School of Information at San José State University.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the Library 2.0 conference, go to: https://www.library20.com/page/miniconferencefaq.