Thursday, February 19, 2015

Continuing Education in the Wisconsin Public Library Profession


Part of my responsibility at the Department of Public Instruction is to ensure that public libraries within the state are led by qualified library personnel and those persons capable of professional management and administration of Wisconsin’s library resources, programs, and services. This has been library law in Wisconsin since 1921. Additionally, “The law also recognizes the need for public librarians to continually update their skills and knowledge and be prepared for new challenges and responsibilities.” (Page 1, Certification Manual for Wisconsin Public Library Directors, 2011, http://pld.dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/pld/pdf/certmanual.pdf). Continuing education is an essential element of re-certification every five (5) years since library directors must participate in 100 hours to maintain their certification. This is due to the continuous changes in the library profession and the services offered within communities. For more information see the blog post written in December 2014: http://wilibrariesforeveryone.blogspot.com/2014/12/continuing-education-for-public.html
Learning
Learning courtesy of Pixabay

That does not mean that continuing education is essential for library directors only. Continuing education (otherwise known as CE) is vital to all persons working in the library profession. Library services have evolved from the singular responsibility of circulation, cataloging of library materials, or reference to knowledge of technology to find the information that may only be available online. Those who now perform a reference interview need to become proficient in technology to enhance services to library patrons individually or to instruct a group of persons about finding information in online databases and materials listed in the integrated library systems.

Access to continuing education is available through many resources including your public library system’s continuing education coordinator web links (http://pld.dpi.wi.gov/pld_certvalida), the UW Library School’s Continuing Education site (http://www.slis.wisc.edu/continueed.htm), BadgerLearn Pro (http://badgerlearnpro.dpi.wi.gov/) and many other websites.

Continuing education is a comprehensive term that includes learning how to best accommodate and provide multiple services for adults and children. Your previous educational background is insignificant. Working in a library, with or without a degree, makes you the professional face of the library to the public.

Written by Terrie Howe, Public Library Development Team