Staff Learning in Libraries: Conversations at ALA Annual 2016

The ALA Annual Conference in Orlando was a great opportunity to learn and connect. While there, I had the chance to be part of two special activities for Infopeople. Both provided opportunities to engage with others who are interested in continuing education and professional development in libraries.

The Training Showcase

lisa brenda training showcase
(I’m the short one.)

Lisa Barnhart and I hosted an Infopeople table at the Learning Round Table’s Training Showcase. It was a small but mighty group, including individuals and organizations focused on training and professional development in libraries. At our table we shared the Infopeople planned training calendar.and talked to people about the deposit accounts that are now available.

Each table host at the Training Showcase was asked to share a training tip with attendees. Here’s our tip: “Create opportunities for staff to share new skills and knowledge gained at conferences and training workshops. By using meaningful methods to share what has been learned, we facilitate deeper learning and knowledge transfer in the individual, while increasing the knowledge base across the organization.”  We shared a Training Tips handout with  more ideas, too. It was a perfect opportunity to talk to people about upcoming training we’ll be doing, focused on Building an Effective Learning Culture.

Conversation Starter

crystal brenda stephanie conversation
(I’m the tall one.)

Crystal Schimpf, Stephanie Gerding and I facilitated a Conversation Starter focused on building an effective learning culture, too. It was a highly interactive session focused on three questions:

  1. What does a supportive learning environment look like?
    We took on different roles and looked at this question from various perspectives including director and front line staff.. and also introvert versus extrovert.
  2. How does meaningful professional learning happen?
    Participants in the session wrote down a professional learning challenge on an index card and then we passed the cards along, each adding suggestions for tackling the challenge.
  3. What is the role of leadership in staff learning?
    Participants were asked to pair up and to have one person focus on the things you do as a leader to support a learning culture. The other person in the pair focused on what you want from a leader (related to a culture of learning in an organization).