Contrasting Professional Development and Continuing Education Opportunities for Library Professionals: Offerings both Within and Outside the Profession

Contrasting Professional Development and Continuing Education Opportunities for Library Professionals: Offerings both Within and Outside the Profession

Agnes K. Bradshaw (University of North Carolina – Greensboro, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5780-9.ch111
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


By design or not, most librarians restrict their professional organization involvement to professional librarian organizations. Limiting professional involvement to only library related organizations will not provide the depth of professional knowledge that today's librarian needs to have in order to keep up with the requirements of the profession. Library budgets and funding have been slashed due to economic downturns, and patrons are turning to libraries for assistance with a variety of concerns that libraries did not have to address in previous times. Reaching beyond the scope of the profession, librarians can broaden their knowledge base and use that broader knowledge base to benefit their patrons and communities.
Chapter Preview


Professional development and continuing education are crucial components to any profession. In academic libraries, librarians may have faculty status; and in fact may be tenured or tenure track faculty. Those librarians that are tenure track know that scholarship relating to the profession is a requirement for tenure attainment. In addition, there is the expectation that tenured and tenure track librarians will make meaningful contributions to the profession by professional writing, but also by presenting at conferences, and serving on professional association committees. Professional development is not limited to academic librarians. In order to meet the service needs of an ever changing patron base, professional development and continuing education are also important for all librarians, no matter the constituent base they serve. Many professionals, librarians included, obtain their continuing education and professional development through their respective professional organizations. Professional organizations frequently offer or sponsor specialized professional development and/or continuing education opportunities that are unavailable elsewhere. Like other forms of education, technology has had a large impact, so professional development and/or continuing education is now available virtually, using a variety of forms, such as webinars, online course offerings and teleconferences.

Bugher (1983) states the purpose of an association is to “serve its members. Associations are organized by people who voluntarily join together to achieve common goals and solve common problems.” For purposes of this chapter, I will use the definition of “professional association” as provided by the Reference for Business Encyclopedia for Business (2013):

Professional and trade associations are membership organizations, usually nonprofit, which serve the interests of members who share a common field of activity. Professional organizations—also called professional societies—consist of individuals of a common profession, whereas trade associations consist of companies in a particular industry. Professional associations have the additional objectives of expanding the knowledge or skills of its members and providing professional standards. The definition of a profession is an occupation that requires considerable education and specialized training, such as medicine, law, accounting, and engineering. However, many use the term more loosely to encompass any coherent occupation class.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: