Library Staff: Take Advantage of These Free Learning Opportunities
With budget and resource constraints, it’s not always possible for everyone on staff to reap the benefits of the learning opportunities provided at conferences and events. But there are plenty of online opportunities to keep you up-to-date and in the know about everything library!
Even if you’ve participated in one of Demco’s free live webinars, you may not know that all of the past webinars are archived for you to watch at your convenience. You’ll find topics for school, public and academic librarians that range from how to start a makerspace to advice for your library renovation projects. Head over to the Ideas + Inspiration webinar page and register for an upcoming webinar or check out the archives and have a viewing party with your staff. You’re sure to learn something new!
But don’t stop there. Our friends over at WebJunction® also provide a plethora of free learning opportunities for library workers. Below, Jennifer Peterson, WebJunction’s Community Manager, gives you the scoop on all they have to offer.
WebJunction is a free online learning community for library staff, offering self-paced courses, webinars and news on relevant library topics.
We have offered free webinars to the library community for over 10 years to address critical barriers faced by staff pursuing continuing education, including lack of time or funds to attend in-person training.
The webinars are generally focused on topics that are relevant to the public library community, but staff and volunteers from other libraries are always encouraged to attend if the topic is of interest.
WebJunction has produced over 200 webinars and developed expertise in creating an engaging experience that is instructive and relevant to help make the most of your limited time.
Our webinar presenters are library leaders and successful practitioners, invited to bring their expertise and experience to the library community.
How do I register for upcoming webinars?
Upcoming webinars can be found on the WebJunction Event Calendar and in our online newsletter, Crossroads. After you register, you’ll receive an instant confirmation and a reminder the day before the webinar. You can even register for the webinar after it’s started, and if you miss it, we’ll send you an email once the recording has been posted.
Making the most of WebJunction webinars
Over the years, we’ve seen a wonderful evolution toward library teams sharing what they’re learning, often gathering to view and discuss the webinar together.
You could gather as a group (perhaps even with your library board, friends or other volunteers) to view either a live or recorded webinar.
We’ve heard from libraries that this approach provides an opportunity for everyone to hear the same thing, allowing the team to adopt a common language about the topic and work toward a shared understanding of how to apply what they’ve learned in the webinar.
Others have mentioned that the opportunity provides the time and space for their team to participate in something larger, but still feel safe sharing ideas in a small group.
Some teams like to view the recording of the webinar (instead of the live event) so they can pause the session to make time for locally relevant discussion. If you’re thinking about gathering a group together, check out this Viewing Party Guide that was created for a past online conference. It includes tips for taking full advantage of viewing with others. We encourage you and your colleagues to consider these options, and then mix and match to find the approach that works best for your library team.
“I attended this webinar together with a group of staff and trustees and we had a great discussion after about our own services.” — WebJunction webinar attendee
Learner guides are often available for WebJunction webinars to help you take your webinar learning and apply it immediately to your work. Each guide includes a handful of questions for reflection or discussion and additional activities that can help you broaden your thinking and ability to take action. Here is an example of a learner guide from the webinar Above and Beyond: Developing a Culture of Organizational Citizenship.
A Piece of the Learning Pie
Webinars provide a number of options for learning. They can be a way to meet an immediate learning need, or they can help your team work toward achieving an organizational goal for the year. And many learners use our webinars to apply toward continuing education requirements from their organization or state library. However you choose to use WebJunction webinars, we hope you find them valuable to your learning!