Library staff from across library sectors gathered at Athlone Institute of Technology on October 11th for a networking event where skills and CPD were the themes steering the discussion. Our opening talk was the perfect confluence of personal interest meets CPD and Michael Doheny gave us a talk from the heart about how his passion for counselling sparked a really interesting library initiative around a bibliotherapy section in the AIT Library and an accompanying Positive Living LibGuide.
Participants from HSE libraries, the Institutes of Technology, university and public libraries were vocal in their contributions around the CPD needs they identify for themselves and for the profession. The scene was set for a lively discussion early on when one contributor remarked that librarianship is no different to the other professions, in that our graduates are simply ‘ready for training’ once they complete their formal education. Recognising the need for ongoing professional development and upskilling is what characterizes a profession so the organising committees felt this was an appropriate and timely theme for this free event, attended by 26 library workers, about half of whom were LAI members.
Certain technical competencies and sometimes, as ASL Chair David Hughes pointed out, “a tech curious attitude” can go a long way in helping library staff to develop their systems acumen. David admitted that he is an accidental systems librarian and encouraged people not to be afraid to dabble with technology to explore what it can do. There are many ways that library staff can avail of technical upskilling, talk to us in ASL and WRSLAI if you need something in particular and we can try to help you out through our contacts and networks.
The absolute pre-requisites for library staff to do their jobs were acknowledge as important with a growing emphasise emerging across all sectors for us all to be more digitally capable but it was the soft skills that attracted most discussion on the day. Participants felt that they could do with training in areas such as working in teams, leadership, PR, advocacy, marketing, report writing and the presentation of data. There was a good exchange of ideas as others at the event were readily able to suggest ways to get these opportunities. The following table lists some, not all, available training outlets for some of what was discussed on the day:
|Required library skill||Where to get training|
|Presenting Data||Library Juice Academy, Excel For Librarians|
|Report Writing||Robert Gordon University|
|Academic Writing||Helen Fallon’s courses Maynooth University|
|PR, Advocacy, Marketing, Leadership, Working in Teams, Supervising Teams||Check locally with your line manager or HR/Training officer
Look also at libraryskills.io
Participants in the event will receive a CPD Certificate from the LAI and all were encouraged to begin or maintain a CPD diary. Having a diary, even if it’s just the back page of your work diary, reminds you of all that you have learned and achieved and is an invaluable record when you prepare an application for a job or when you apply for things like LAI awards.
The Western Regional Section of the LAI partnered with Academic & Special Libraries to hold this event and we were hosted by Jane Burns and her great team at Athlone Institute of Technology. Thanks to both committees and the local team in Athlone who made it all happen and to everyone that travelled to be with us in Athlone.