Thursday, July 29, 2021

Skills for 21st-Century Librarians: Learning Objectives for Library Programming

 




http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/Digest/ALA-Requests-Input-on-Its-Librarian-Learning-Objectives-Document-148172.asp

ALA Requests Input on Its Librarian Learning Objectives Document

ALA announced that it is looking for feedback on its new document, Skills for 21st-Century Librarians: Learning Objectives for Library Programming, which explores next steps for creating a programming curriculum for library workers and students. According to the press release, “Library workers, library school instructors and administrators, students and others are invited to read the report and submit feedback. The public comment period will end August 16.” It goes on to state the following:

Through its Skills for 21st-Century Librarians project, ALA convened a task force of 12 leaders in libraries and library education to explore how library programming skills can be taught in library degree programs and professional development trainings.

Working with Knology, a social science research organization, the task force met virtually from January to June 2021. The result of their discussions are recommendations for learning objectives within nine core library programming competency areas: Organizational Skills, Knowledge of the Community, Interpersonal Skills, Event Planning, Creativity, Content Knowledge, Outreach and Marketing, Financial Skills and Evaluation..


Skills for 21st-Century Librarians:
Learning Objectives for Library Programming

Rebecca Joy Norlander & Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein


Contents

Introduction 2

Specific Learning Objectives 4
Content Knowledge 4
Creativity 5
Evaluation 6
Event Planning 7
Financial Skills 8
Interpersonal Skills 9
Knowledge of the Community 10
Organizational Skills 11
Outreach & Marketing 12

Recommendations 12

Input from the Field 12

Introduction

Skills for 21st-Century Librarians: Task Force for the Development of a NILPPA- Informed Programming Librarian Curriculum is an IMLS-funded grant initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office. Working with Knology, a social science research organization, we built on earlier work as part of the National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA). 

In that earlier work, we identified nine competency areas for library workers who do public programming. In the current project we convened a task force of 12 leaders in libraries and library education to begin fleshing out these competency areas for both library degree programs and professional development training sessions.

The task force reached consensus about the following:

  • There is a real need for a curriculum that covers all of these competency areas, and a great deal of excitement about creating it;

  • The effort to develop the curriculum needs to be two-pronged: while ALA’s Public Programs Office can lead the development of professional development, we will need to work with ALA’s Accreditation Office and other stakeholders (such as instructors and current students) to successfully integrate this curriculum into degree programs;

  • The original nine competency areas remain relevant and appropriate, updated to include both digital competencies and EDI considerations (following ALA’s social justice framework) in all nine areas.

Share your feedback on these recommendations by August 16th. 

The task force also discussed a number of challenges and opportunities to keep in mind as we move forward.

Challenge / Opportunity #1: Lack of formal training

At the beginning of this process, we reviewed the landscape of training opportunities. While the review was not exhaustive, we found several telling patterns.

There were many more opportunities for short-term professional development than for formal coursework. Formal coursework was most likely to cover knowledge of the community – and quite unlikely to include financial skills, creativity, or organizational skills. Other areas were covered to a greater or lesser degree, and there were opportunities to expand all of them. Meanwhile, professional development courses were particularly likely to cover content knowledge and particularly unlikely to cover financial skills, evaluation, or organizational skills. Task force members’ professional opinions largely aligned with these findings. They saw a particular need for more formal training in interpersonal skills, event planning, and evaluation as well as more professional development in quite a few areas.

Challenge / Opportunity #2: Mismatched goals

Task force members shared a sense that MLIS programs and professional development have very different goals. While professional development tends to cover the day-to-day realities of librarianship, degree programs focus on principles of librarianship. Combined with Challenge /Opportunity #1, this points to a need to separate the development of these two types of library training.

Challenge / Opportunity #3: The COVID-19 pandemic

When the task force began meeting in early 2021, some participants raised concerns that the competency areas might need to be updated because they were developed and finalized prior to COVID-19, in 2019. The practice of library programming changed considerably with the pandemic: when in-person events were cancelled across the US, many library workers expanded their digital, remote, and hybrid programs. The task force came to the conclusion that identifying digital components of the existing competency areas was the preferred approach, since it highlights continuities between different modalities rather than the differences. They also thought it would be valuable to explicitly identify EDI considerations for each competency area, using ALA’s social justice framework. These conclusions are reflected in the learning objectives outlined below.

Specific Learning Objectives

This section lays out specific learning objectives to prioritize within each competency area. Task force members identified these learning objectives through deliberation, including review of other courses and learning materials where available. As ALA continues to build additional professional development and work towards incorporating these competencies into degree programs, they should focus on the following considerations.


Content Knowledge

Works toward sufficient knowledge of program content to deliver, manage, or evaluate programs, according to role.

Learners will be able to:

  • Identify content priorities based on their community’s needs, particularly the needs of under-served stakeholders and publics;

  • Assess their own knowledge and gaps in their understanding and build partnerships to complement their gaps; and

  • Assess the expertise of potential presenters and partners and incorporate them effectively into programs.

Further Resources

Creativity

Responds to challenges and opportunities with innovation, flexibility, and creativity to resolve them.

Learners will be able to:

  • Troubleshoot a number of technical and practical programming issues and develop on-the-spot solutions;

  • Develop and enact contingency plans;

  • Build a toolbox of strategies that promote and apply creative thinking, particularly to create more inclusive and equitable programs; and

  • Foster lateral, non-linear, and iterative thinking and decision-making, both individually and in a group setting.

Further Resources

Evaluation

Works toward using statistical and qualitative tools to measure program effectiveness and impact on all community audiences, including those that have historically been un- and underserved; and using this information to iteratively improve the development and delivery of programs.  

Learners will be able to:

  • Recognize and use frameworks for culturally responsive and equitable evaluation;

  • Discuss and explain the importance and role of measurement and evaluation in library activities;

  • Discover and use tools and resources available to librarians to effectively evaluate programs;

  • Differentiate components of the evaluation process (activities, formative assessment, summative assessment, etc.);

  • Create valid instruments (surveys, interviews, observation tools, and other methods) that measure the intended outcomes using best practices such as universal design, backward design, and systems design;

  • Collect evaluation data and analyze patterns in these data, including disaggregation to consider differences between groups; and

  • Communicate results of evaluation and use findings to improve future programs.

Further Resources

Event planning

Works toward planning, managing, and implementing events that are both developmentally and culturally appropriate and accessible for their intended audiences.

Learners will be able to: 

  • Explain how core values of librarianship infuse all aspects of library event planning;

  • Differentiate strengths & weaknesses of online, hybrid, and in-person events, as well as different virtual platforms and participant structures, for learning, enjoyment, inclusion, and accessibility; 

  • Identify and address 

    • safety considerations (e.g. COVID-19, emergency exits, online harassment), 

    • accessibility considerations (e.g. mobility, digital divide, language access, common allergens),
      and 

    • sustainability considerations (e.g. environmental impact, staffing needs);

  • Create contingency plans for common logistical challenges (e.g. rain);

  • Employ camera and lighting techniques, as well as sounds, backgrounds, and filters in online events to treat the screen as a stage; and

  • Create a seamless and dynamic experience for different activities in a virtual environment that keeps participants engaged.

Further Resources

Financial Skills

Works toward budgeting, seeking funding for, and managing the finances of a program or suite of programs, often in collaboration with external partners.

Learners will be able to: 

  • Understand and discuss common financial documents such as budgets, 990s, and basic contracts;

  • Use common budgeting tools and techniques as needed for individual programs and/or institutions or departments;

  • Employ financial techniques like cost-benefit analysis and futurecasting at the individual program and/or the institutional or departmental level;

  • Communicate about budgets and financial documents so that all stakeholders (including publics historically left out of these conversations) can understand, to support more informed and collaborative decision-making; and

  • Identify a variety of resources (grants, partnerships, etc.) and apply to work with those resources.

Further Resources

Interpersonal Skills

Works toward communicating effectively and appropriately with all stakeholders and audiences to provide consultation, mediation, and guidance during programs and in other contexts relating to programs.

Learners will be able to: 

  • Create a welcoming and respectful environment;

  • Identify varying norms of communication among different groups of library users and adapt accordingly;

    • Recognize hindrances to effective communication, particularly online (e.g. Zoom fatigue; lack of eye contact and body language; pandemic fatigue, etc.);

  • Apply de-escalation, conflict management, and facilitation techniques to encourage difficult conversations, both online and in person;

  • Make programming initiatives part of larger relationship-building work within communities the library serves;

  • Create accessible environments both online and in person (via the use of e.g. closed captioning, description readers, interpretation); and

  • Support an ecosystem of information sharing within existing organizations.

Further Resources

Knowledge of the Community

Works toward understanding the communities for and with whom programs are developed, including their particular needs and interests; building respectful, reciprocal relationships with community members and organizations; and ensuring access to a wide variety of programs for all community members, especially those who have historically been underserved or face other challenges to access.

Learners will be able to:

  • Develop an ethic of care and curiosity that leads their work;

  • Apply EDI lenses to community conversations and program development.

  • Distinguish between and use a wide range of methods (e.g. circulation data, participatory asset mapping, listening skills, focus groups, social media skills, publicly available demographic data, etc.) to understand the community and particularly to identify populations that are being excluded currently;

  • Build partnerships by using a listening model;

  • Collect, access, interpret, apply, evaluate, and communicate community data (qualitative and quantitative); 

  • Program with an eye to their own institution’s strategic goals; and

  • Invite a wide range of voices to co-create and co-lead programs.

Further Resources

Organizational Skills

Works toward managing time and projects efficiently and effectively at multiple levels: individually, institutionally, and in collaboration with outside organizations and agencies.

Learners will be able to:

  • Identify project management skills, tools, and approaches and contextualize them in the library setting;

  • Divide large projects into specific tasks and assign responsibilities and deadlines;

    • Define milestones for a project and create a milestone schedule;

  • Manage their own time across multiple tasks and priorities, as well as the time of team members;

  • Document their own work and progress across multiple tasks and priorities, and communicate with team members to streamline work transitions etc.; and

  • Use a wide range of digital programs and tools for organizational purposes (e.g. spreadsheets; calendars; etc.).

Further Resources

Outreach & Marketing

Works toward communicating information about programs to all community members who could potentially attend or benefit, using a variety of digital and analog channels in ways that are culturally and developmentally appropriate.

Learners will be able to

  • Identify a range of approaches for outreach (from signs in the library and around the community to social media) and map which techniques are most effective for which audiences;

  • Develop a basic understanding of marketing technologies, graphic design, social media platforms and management to meet community communication needs and preferences;

  • Create accessible marketing materials both on- and off-line; and

  • Create a marketing and communications plan for specific programs and an overall long-term plan that is tied to the library’s larger strategic plan.

Further Resources

Recommendations

In light of the above, we recommend that ALA and its Skills for 21st-Century Librarians task force:

  • Move forward in creating professional development opportunities, with a focus on interpersonal skills, creativity, and understanding the importance of taking an EDI lens to library work.

  • Explore additional training pathways through librarianship institutes and state libraries.

  • Seek buy-in from accredited library degree programs through the following strategies:

    • Survey recent MLIS graduates about their level of preparation for the public programming components of their jobs;

    • Share information and findings in existing communities of practice and publish in journals that library faculty read;

    • Make a case for public programming as a core aspect of librarianship;

    • Build relationships with accreditors.

Input From the Field

This document is currently a draft and will be sent to library academics and practitioners for comment. Upon finalization of this report, this section will summarize input received, along with additional edits made to the above content. 

Share your feedback on these recommendations by August 16th. 





Practical social science for a better world



© 2021 by the American Library Association under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Citation: Norlander, R.J., & Barchas-Lichtenstein, J. (2021).  Skills for 21st-Century Librarians: Learning Objectives for Library Programming. Knology Publication #IML.074.707.02. Chicago: American Library Association.

Date of Publication

July 23, 2021

Knology Publication #

IML.074.707.02


These materials were produced for Skills for 21st-Century Librarians: Task Force for the Development of a NILPPA-Informed Programming Librarian Curriculum grant number RE-246421-OLS-20. The authors are advisors  for the project and are solely responsible for the content in this report. 


repalated article:

Ask a programming librarian what a typical workday for them entails and you’re likely to get a long and varied list of tasks: meeting with partners, handling event logistics, working with budgets and creating marketing materials.
https://programminglibrarian.org/blog/lesser-taught-programming-skills-evaluation-financial-skills-and-creativity

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Popular Posts

Welcome to LSF

Please react, comment, like and share.
Don't forget to subscribe.
Thank you LSF pips.
Much Love!

Send us your Lib-Life-Stories!
Message us here or visit our Facebook page