Make a Plan for Learning

What will you learn in 2017? Have you set any professional learning goals? Plan On Monitor Shows Expectations

Creating a learning plan is something an individual, a team, or a community of practice can do. It is a way of communicating intentions and identifying action steps to be taken to achieve your learning goals. Achieving learning goals can make your work life more satisfying and it can ultimately lead to improved library services.

There are many different approaches to creating a learning plan, but this article will overview a simple three step process that may work for you.

  1. Reflect: What did you do in 2016? What did you learn? What changed in your community, organization, and department or with your position? Think more broadly, too, and also consider… How has the field changed? What new technologies, trends, or opportunities have you not yet explored? Consider these questions and critically think about your workplace performance and consider areas for growth. It may be useful to solicit input from peers or supervisors who are familiar with your job performance, too.
  2. Set Goals: Based upon your reflection, identify things you want or need to learn. Start by creating a long list of possibilities and then establish priorities. Looking at the strategic goals for your library, organization or community can help you determine the learning priorities that are most relevant. Discussions with your supervisor can also be key as you narrow down your list of learning possibilities. From your list, select 3-5 learning goals. Try to set goals that are ambitious, yet realistic.
  3. Identify Actions: For each goal, create an action plan. How will you achieve each learning goal? Will you take a course? Attend a webinar?  If so, we can help!
    • Infopeople’s Planned Training Calendar can help you identify learning opportunities.
    • If you want to receive email notices as courses and webinars are scheduled, you can sign up for the Infopeople training announcement list.
    • Having trouble finding a course or webinar that addresses your learning goals? Please use this form to make a training suggestion.
    • It’s critical that learning not stop at the end of the training. Applying what you have learned in your workplace is a vital action step to include in your plan. Infopeople training always emphasizes practical application.

Ready to start learning with us? Here are a few of our upcoming courses and webinars!

Online Courses (4 weeks, unless otherwise noted)
  • After School and Out-of-School Programming – Instructor: Lisa Shaia
  • Adult Literacy Programs – Instructor: Jane Salisbury
  • Technology Planning – Instructor: Diana Silveira
  • Widgets and Tweaks: Tools for spicing up old websites and blogs (2 week course) – Instructor: Rita Gavelis
  • Introduction to Library Management – Instructor: Anne Cain
  • Serving People with Mental Illness at Your Library – Instructor: Josh Berk
  • Developing Effective Library Partnerships – Instructor: Catherine Hakala-Ausperk
  • Beyond Cataloging: RDA – Instructor: Emily Nimsakont
  • Emotional Intelligence (Part 1) – Instructor: Catherine McHugh
  • Programs for Emerging Adults – Instructor: Audrey Barbakoff
  • All Work is Team Work (LSSC) – Instructor: Cheryl Gould
  • Customer Service Challenges- Instructor: Mary Ross
  • Supervisory Success – Instructor: Sarah Flowers
  • Staying on Top of Technology – Instructor: David Lee King
  • Re-Defining Safe at Work – Instructor: Catherine Hakala-Ausperk
Webinars (1 hour)
  • Historypin: Connecting Communities with Local History – Presenter(s): Kerry Young
  • What’s New in Children’s Literature 2017 – Presenter(s): Penny Peck
  • Informational Books for Storytime – Presenter(s): Penny Peck
  • What’s New in Young Adult Literature 2017 – Presenter(s): Michael Cart

If you would like to receive email notices as registration for these courses and webinars opens, please sign up for the Infopeople training announcement list.

Libraries Seeking Solutions and Serving Communities

Arsolutionse you seeking solutions? If you look at Infopeople’s planned training calendar for 2016/2017, you will see a number of learning opportunities for those seeking to address important challenges in their libraries and communities.

Make a plan for learning! We encourage you to review the options and to make a plan for learning. Which 4-week courses or 1-hour webinars address the topics that are a priority for you? Consider divvying up topics among staff members and then sharing what you learn with one another. To be alerted when registration opens for these options, subscribe to the IFPTraining email list.

November 2016: Active Shooter Policies for Libraries

In this one-hour webinar, participants will learn what an active shooter situation is and how to respond (run, hide, fight). Active shooter policies will be covered, including emergency/disaster, communication, and evacuation plans. Best practices for training library staff will also be included.

Instructor: Mary Soucie is the State Librarian of North Dakota. The North Dakota State Library was one of the first state agencies in North Dakota to write active shooter procedures, with assistance from the ND Highway Patrol.

January 2017: Social Services in the Library

In this one-hour webinar, participants will hear from Elissa Hardy, a social worker working in the Denver Public Library. Denver City Librarian Michelle Jeske said the position is focused on the following outcomes, “To connect people who are at risk with services they need, remove barriers, and we want to do that while making the library a safer, more comfortable place for everyone.”

Instructor: Elissa Hardy, a social worker, is the community resource specialist at the Denver Public Library. In this role, she is making an impact in a way that’s helping many library patrons and also her coworkers.

February 2017: Libraries Services for Patrons Experiencing Homelessness

In this four-week course, participants will learn to provide meaningful library services to library patrons experiencing homelessness. Are you concerned about how to balance the needs of all your library users? Do you find yourself questioning the rules and policies of your library related to those experiencing homelessness but aren’t sure how to create good alternatives? Using real life examples, this course will provide you with the tools you need to navigate the world of services to people experiencing homelessness, helping you figure out your library’s place in that world.

Instructor: As a librarian, Julie Ann Winkelstein worked in a range of positions, from jails and prison librarian to Family Literacy coordinator to children’s and young adult librarian. In 2012 she received her PhD in Communication and Information from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where her research topic was homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) and public libraries. Since 2008 she has taught online and face-to-face undergraduate and graduate courses in children’s and young adult literature, as well as courses in race and gender.

April 2017: Serving People with Mental Illness at Your Library

In this four-week course, the instructor will share a practical, compassionate and understanding approach to the delivery of library services to patrons who have a mental illness. Gain the information and tools needed to better understand mental illnesses. Look at examples of the challenges faced by libraries and their patrons, and learn from the exemplary approach some libraries are taking as they seek to meet the challenges.

Instructor: Josh Berk is the Executive Director of the Bethlehem (PA) Area Public Library. He is actively involved in mental health training in public libraries. He is also the author of four books for children and young adults.

May 2017: Customer Service Challenges

In this four-week course, participants will develop an understanding of and skills to deal with a range of difficult behaviors from merely annoying to potentially harmful. Prevention and proactive approaches will be shared. Library policies and procedures will be covered. Special issues related to safety in small or minimally-staffed libraries will be included.

Instructor: Mary Ross has over 25 years of experience working in public libraries as a children’s and adult services librarian and as a branch manager. She managed the staff training and development program at the Seattle Public Library for eight years. While working at Seattle Public Library she implemented a training program for all staff on dealing with difficult patron behavior. She has helped hundreds of library staff members learn how to safely manage difficult and disruptive patron behavior.

June 2017: Re-Defining Safe at Work

In this four-week course, participants will explore how libraries can develop safe and respectful service environments and workplace cultures. Policies and procedures, job descriptions and performance expectations, behavior and discipline rules, and safety guidelines will be covered. Participants will be encouraged to look at the current conditions in their library – including signage, bathrooms, and parking lots – to assess and make plans for improvement. Everyone, from administrators to staff to customers, can contribute to creating a safe and respectful environment.

Instructor: Catherine Hakala-Ausperk is a 31-year Ohio public library veteran, with experience in everything from direct customer service to management and administration. She is the author of several books including Be a Great Boss, Build a Great Team, and Renew Yourself! A Six-Step Plan for More Meaningful Work.

Youth Services: Upcoming Learning Opportunities

Do you work in Library Youth Services? Infopeople has a number of upcoming training opportunities that may be of interest to you!

Age Range: Under 5 years old

Creating Baby Spaces in Public Libraries: Designing for Success 3-baby
1-hour webinar on Jan 27 with presenter Bridget Alexander

Sensory-Enhanced Storytimes
1-hour webinar on Feb 11 with presenters Laura Baldassari-Hackstaff and Laura Olson

Age Range: 5 – 12 years old

Children’s Programming on a Budget
4-week course with instructor Penny Peck  play colors
Free or low-cost library programs are a natural and effective way to meet the needs of school-age children and their parents or caregivers in your community. Your library’s programming efforts could include multicultural events, do-it-yourself craft and game programs, book-related movies, Lego clubs, board and electronic gaming programs, book discussion groups, Makerspace programs, storytelling, puppet shows, and “dog buddy” reading programs.  In this course, expert children’s librarian Penny Peck shares her practical experiences with determining, developing, and delivering programs that stimulate and engage children – all for a reasonable cost to your library.

Age Range: 12 – 18 years old

Adapting Informal Learning Practices for Teen Services: the labs @ Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
1-hour webinar on Feb 24 with presenter Corey Wittig

STEM and STEAM Programming for Teens in Libraries
1-hour webinar on Jan 21 with presenter Karen Jensen   youngpeople
Jensen will discuss the basic concepts behind both STEM and STEAM programming. We’ll also discuss the benefits for both libraries and the teens they serve. We’ll also provide you with some basic program starting points for STEAM programs that involve art, music and/or books.

Teen Services Fundamentals
4-week course with instructor Sarah Flowers
You’ll come away from the course with an understanding of the developmental needs of teens in our diverse society and tools to identify and enhance the library’s role in meeting those needs. This course will enable you to advocate for teens and for library services geared specifically to them.

Libraries as Civic Engagement Leaders

“Libraries are at the heart of the communities they serve, and civic engagement is at the heart of where libraries are going in the 21st century. Moving from a community resource to a civic engagement leader is a logical step in the evolution of public libraries. They have a rich knowledge base about what’s going on in the community that can shape and encourage strong connections for engagement and action.”

                          – From the Urban Libraries Council report Stepping Up to the Civic Engagement Challenge

Is “civic engagement leader” one of the roles you see the libraries in your community playing? Or would you like to strengthen this role in the library in which you work?jane salisbury

In her Infopeople course, Communities and Civic Engagement: The Library’s Role as Connector, instructor Jane Salisbury says, “Libraries are finding many ways to form connections through civic engagement. Public forums, conversation projects, and embedding librarians in local government projects are some of the ways that libraries are making themselves pivotal, and sometimes essential, to the process of building community.”

Libraries are not only hosting and facilitating forums and conversations in the library, but in some cases librarians are also going out into the community for civic engagement. Salisbury shares, “Sending librarians out into the world of local government and community events—embedding them, as some express it—is the other side of the two-way street of civic engagement. Libraries are learning to place their staff in the boardrooms, convention centers, and farmers’ markets of their cities, marketing their skills and resources in a whole series of new contexts. City council members and health and job fair organizers don’t necessarily expect librarians to show up, but when the value of their skills and resources is demonstrated, they become essential partners in important initiatives outside the library walls.”

Interested in learning more about civic engagement in libraries? Consider enrolling in the upcoming 4-week course, Communities and Civic Engagement: The Library’s Role as Connector. The course will support your efforts to enhance civic life in your community. Exemplary programs will be discussed and resources will be shared, with an emphasis on practical steps that you can take in your own community.

Programming for Children: Passive Programming Ideas

Library programming for children can entertain, educate and engage young people and their families in your community! There are various types of library programming for children. From jugglers and magicians to book groups and Makerspaces, many libraries embrace programming as a way to foster learning, reading, and creativity. When library resources are in short supply, however, it can take creative approaches to offer programming that does not require a lot of money or staff time. One type of programming that can be viable is passive programming.

Infopeople instructor Penny Peck describes passive programming in this way:penny_peck

Passive programming is a term you sometimes hear used to refer to activities which do not require staff direction, such as a simple craft, coloring pages, games or puzzles left on a table in the children’s room. For practical purposes, this might be an activity to keep kids busy while their parents are on the computer or finding books. It can encourage positive activity after a child has finished his homework and is waiting to be picked up.It might also mean having something for a parent and child to do together at the library. Passive programming is very low cost, as it involves just a few games or toys and some simple craft supplies. On busy days, you could even assign a teen volunteer to monitor the passive program area –  refilling craft supplies, assisting younger children with scissors, and cleaning up regularly to make sure game pieces don’t get lost.

There are plenty of simple things you can do as a passive program. Here are a few ideas from Penny:passive programming

  1. Contests: Have a contest related to a display. For example, if you are displaying photos of famous Hispanic-Americans for Cinco de Mayo, allow children to enter guesses as they try to identify the famous person for a prize. This could inspire them to do some research to identify the person in a photo!
  2. Character of the Week: Create a simple book display highlighting a favorite children’s book character. Make some arts and crafts (bookmarks, masks, paper bag puppets, mazes, etc.) related to that character available, too. You can often find activities on an author or publisher’s website. The books will circulate and children will enjoy the crafts.
  3. Origami: Display some of the popular Origami Yoda books by Tom Angleberger and include some related origami instructions and paper.
  4. Scavenger Hunt: Make handouts with scavenger hunt clues that focus on different areas of the library. For example, “Name a magazine from the children’s area,” or “Name the Dewey Decimal number for folktales.” Once a child has filled in all the answers, he or she can bring it to the librarian’s desk for a prize (like a bookmark or stickers). Plus, they have completed a self-directed library tour!

Interested in more great ideas for Children’s Programming on a Budget? Registration for a new course taught by Penny Peck is now open at: