Online Workshops a Growing Opportunity for Professional Development

Press Release from Library Juice Academy Online Workshops a Growing Opportunity for Professional Development August 23, Los Angeles: Conference attendance is a major professional development activity for academic librarians, but tight budgets and a desire for greener alternatives to air travel are leading many librarians to participate in more local regional conferences, and and in online workshops and courses. Local and regional conferences give librarians an opportunity to network with other professionals in their geographic area, while online workshops provide the benefit of focused educational opportunities, often allowing librarians to participate as their schedules allow, and often earning Continuing Education Units. Continuing education opportunities for academic librarians are sometimes provided by academic LIS programs and by ALA's divisions, but as the market for online workshops has grown, a growing need has emerged for more diverse course offerings. Responding to this need is a new independent provider of online professional development workshops for librarians, called Library Juice Academy. A spin-off of LIS publisher Library Juice Press, Library Juice Academy has 26 courses slated to be taught over the next several months, beginning with six in October, with the list growing as new instructors are hired. Courses range from two weeks to four weeks in length, and are on practical topics such as "Cataloging for the Non-Cataloger," "Do-It-Yourself Usability Testing," "Introduction to FRBR," "Introduction to Drupal for Libraries," and "Game-Based Learning in Library Instruction." Course offerings include a balance of technology skills training and innovative conceptual models, such as Margaret Heller's course on community-driven collecting, cataloging, and curating. The Library Juice Academy instructors are academic librarians and LIS faculty with specialized knowledge of a field of practical interest, who often are notable for their accomplishments in these areas as presenters or authors. Participants in the workshops earn Continuing Education Units, and schedule their participation at their own convenience, as their work schedules permit. Certificates of successful completion of a workshop document the earned CEUs. Although the classes are not face-to-face, they can provide networking opportunities for librarians to interact with other librarians interested in the same topics, in much the same way that conferences do. Workshop participants interact with the instructors and with each other in an online forum where class discussions take place. In the planning stages at Library Juice Academy are a facility for book discussion groups and, in cooperation with Library Juice Press, a series of "readers" published in print form and included with the cost of course enrollment. ###

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