Best Practices: Training and Certification for Library Support Staff

Good news is spreading for library support staff—an often overlooked group when it comes to library staff training programs. A three-year project to develop consistent cross-training for library employees who do not have a Master of Library and Information Science degree is well underway, American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) Director Jenifer Grady assured ALA New Member Round Table members attending the ALA Midwinter Conference here in Philadelphia this morning.
Those who eventually enter the program, which will culminate with formal certification for graduates, will be trained on topics including access services, reference and information services, technology, personal skills, and technical skills. The program, designed to provide educators with guidance for training curriculums, will also include electives in youth services, reader’s advisory, public programming, marketing and public relations, and management and supervision.
Funding for the project, which began in 2007, comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through ALA and the Western Council of State Libraries. ALA-APA and an advisory committee are the project directors. Efforts are currently underway to develop core competencies for support staff; the proposed competencies may be available for public review as early as Spring 2008.
Those interested in learning more about the developing program can find details through a fact sheet posted on the ALA-APA website.
Do you have examples of innovative training programs for library support staff? Please share them with colleagues by posting a comment here.