Continuing Education Needs and Interest Survey, 2008

The IS Professional Education Committee conducted a survey in May 2008 to ascertain the continuing education needs and interests of instruction librarians.  The survey was sent to all members of the Instruction Section. 881 people completed the survey, for a response rate of 18.9%.

We asked nine questions total, including a few questions from the 2003 survey.

1. How would you rate the importance of continuing education for instruction librarians?

Percent No. Reply
72.0% 686 Very High
22.5% 213 Above Average
4.6% 44 Average
0.4% 4 Below Average
0.0% 0 Low

2. ACRL has adopted Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators. In which of these proficiency categories would you like to see continuing education programs offered? (Check all that apply.)

Percent No. Reply
22.8% 209 Administrative skills
81.9% 750 Assessment and evaluation skills
33.7% 309 Communication skills
73.7% 675 Information literacy integration skills
85.7% 785 Instructional design skills
31.0% 284 Leadership skills
36.6% 335 Planning skills
53.7% 492 Presentation skills
38.6% 354 Promotion skills
71.6% 656 Teaching skills


  • (10 responses) Instructional Technology
  • Finding additional ways of increasing current students' understanding and use of e-resources (databases, catalog, etc.) via screencasting software such as Camtasia or Captivate. 2. Outreach best practices to new full-time and adjunct faculty. 3. How to "grab" and retain students' attention. 4. Best practices for student group activities during a one-short information literacy instruction class.
  • working with teaching faculty; dealing with budget shortfalls, staffing shortfalls; "train the trainer" ie, workshops for faculty on integrating IL in the classroom
  • making instruction accessible to all people of all abilities
  • networking skills
  • budgeting and finance
  • All of the above, really; I just checked the key areas for me
  • Classroom management & delivery techniques
  • We need practical, not theoretical
  • Curriculum development
  • overview and analysis of different university structures and how library instruction fits differently in each, also guidelines for e-instruction delivery vs in person (like e-ref tools vs print or e-ref delivery vs in person)
  • incorporating games into lessons
  • teaching diversity topics and diverse users
  • working with faCULTY
  • how to convince academe to hire "older" librarians for instruction. They keep thinking that old means not technilogically proficient--
  • I think that the role of the teacher is an extremely important one, and much emphasis should be given to learning styles, learning strategies etc.
  • Publication
  • using active learning techniques
  • Most of these, but with online/distance ed focus. and different assessment than already offered.
  • content--new sources
  • marketing/partnerships
  • designing faculty development programs
  • campus politics
  • innovation skills to incorporate new technologies
  • classroom management
  • Awareness of the range of IL formats, beyond in-person synchronous group instruction; using technology to support pedagogy; collaboration skills; outreach skills within and beyond your own institution
  • Peer review of teaching
  • working with relucatant students
  • Outreach
  • round robins to see what others are doing
  • Marketing skills and management skills
  • Integrating/Exploiting new technologies effectively in IL to reach students; bridging the gap between research generations
  • especially engaging students (presentation) and critical thinking (IL integration)
  • Education theory, instructional technology
  • Liaison skills: getting IL research competencies and their assessment out of the library, where they don't belong, and into academic programs and curricula, where they do belong, through faculty, administrators, curriculum committees, etc.
  • Integrating new information/re-design skills
  • Collaboration skills
  • web 2.0 and web interaction teaching programs
  • Handouts and material design
  • Collaboration; Learning technologies
  • marketing techniques
  • Subject expertise
  • Learner-centered design rather than teaching-centered design
  • assignment design skills
  • web 2.0 and 3.0 skills
  • assignment design with teaching faculty
  • Instructional technology use and assessment; place of information literacy in constellation ofliteracies (media, visual, IT/digital
  • Learning Community (may be IL integration) / Instructional Space Skills

3. What obstacles keep you from attending or participating in continuing education activities? (Check all that apply.)

Percent No. Reply
53.3% 485 Lack of financial support from my institution
25.3% 230 Topics not of interest
12.3% 112 Lack of release time from my institution
64.5% 587 Finding time to attend
35.4% 322 Lack of more advanced workshop opportunities


  • (12 - responses) Distance/ Location
  • (6 responses)No obstacles
  • (6 responses) Prefer online
  • (6 responses) Insufficient institutional support
  • (6 responses) Lack of relevant opportunities
  • (5 responses) Lack of awareness
  • (4 responses) Personal Financial Restrictions
  • (4 responses) Question of worth the cost and money
  • (2 responses) Blank entries
  • At ALA and ACRL conferences, multiple topics of interest are often offered at the same time.
  • professional development is great for performance improvement and tenure track; however, the option to earn accredited, graduate credit units allows me to advance on the pay scale; also summer sessions would be most helpful since most academic librarians are either 10 or 1month, or are less busy during the summer sessions
  • Workshops I'm interested in come at a bad time, and then aren't offered again
  • Annually as an administrator supervising 2 instruction librarians I have provided them with support and they attend at least national conference and monthly local meetings all paid by the library.
  • Too often the informaiton is basic and already covered by journal articles. I need more hands on time with edcuational technology experts and help designing and integrating authentic tasks.
  • I am looking for a "certificate" that will say, "She can do it"
  • I am able to attend most of the workshops and meetings that I want to attend. Conferences, like ALA in CA this year, I cannot attend due to lack of funds.
  • I find it hard to implement things that I leaded in continuing education, so I have been going to fewer conferences.
  • lack of classroom facilities/software/ etc. at our end to carry out learned skills here
  • Many competing opportunities for continuing education
  • Lack of excellent instructors
  • timing conflicts at ala mtgs
  • Unclear program descriptions. Lack of confidence in inexperienced instructors.
  • The more Web based opportunities for CE activities, the better. It's hard to get away to travel anywhere, not to mention that my institution often has not funds for this.
  • do not like online instruction
  • Lack of cross-disciplinary workshop opps (composition, performance pedagody, learning technologies, quantitative lit, etc.)
  • I'm a member of the section, but I have little active involvement in IL. I do support it
  • So many times it's librarians talking to other librarians; I would like to see administrators and other faculty talking to librarians; we need their perspective, or we're just preaching to the choir
  • Lack of connection to pro cohort community through multiple workshop levels

4. What method of delivery do you prefer? Rank 1-3. (1 = most preferred):

Selected 1 -
most preferred
Selected 2 -
strongly preferred
Selected 3 -
248 165 152 Attending state or regional meetings
83 128 131 Attending national meetings
180 134 99 Attending specialized meetings (e.g. LOEX, LOEX of the West)
39 60 67 Attending preconferences
49 67 162 Reading on my own
159 165 107 Participating in online courses
138 168 155 Participating in teleconferences, videoconferences, or webcasts


  • (9 responses) local/regional continuing education
  • (9 responses) webcasts/teleconferences
  • (3 responses) Reading or Researching
  • (2 responses) free
  • I'm not sure what the difference is between "preconferences" and "specialized meetings" but I prefer sessions with a specific focus and learning outcomes; I have never found the generalized state or national meetings helpful
  • iNSTRUCTORS of online courses need to be better at teaching in the medium. Too much social chatter.
  • A mixture of face to face and online seems to develop a learning community for advanced work
  • Preferred -- Consider participating in WILU (basically Canadian LOEX).
  • most strongly preferred Anything that is hands on for better assimilation of the information
  • Bring in someone to our institution
  • I have never been to LOEX, so I don't know about that one
  • Attending ACRL meetings in Second Life 
  • pre or post conference workshops
  • I would find teleconferences more useful if they had follow-up (interactive!) materials - they're too much like listening to a talking head presentation, & too easily distracted from content
  • Reading journal articles, attending specialized conferences
  • Preconferences are a rip-off. Should be included.
  • amigos
  • Attending national conferences -
  • online does NOT teach most of these skills - they require interaction
  • I attend TxLA and not my states.
  • Difficult to do this on work time due to work area, archiving them to view later would be helpful.
  • blended - an online discussion or paper to read followed by discussions with colleagues
  • talking to colleagues, tuning into my personal network
  • My most strongly preferred method is face-to-face, regardless of what kind of venue (part of a conference, seminar, etc), as long as I can afford to get there
  • it depends if how long of a workshop and if hands on is used.
  • (The question required me to rate items, rather than just using this "Other" choice, which was my preference.) I most prefer having a variety of choices, synchronous & asynchronous, in-person & online, including in virtual worlds
  • Aside: I have generally not been impressed with the quality of content offered in webinars or in online courses; if the quality was improved I would rank online courses as #2.
  • Add to 1) Reading on my own: correspondence, discussion lists, other interaction - not conducted in isolatio n
  • they are all great! ideally it would be a mix of all, maybe more focused on virtual and local with the occasional state/national thrown in.
  • in-person meetings, not related to conferences
  • I ranked these based on what I most prefer, not what is most practical
  • preconferences
  • also preferred (3) Attending national & regional conferences

5. How do you currently learn about continuing education opportunities? (Check all that apply.)

Percent No. Channel
48.6% 436 ILI-L
59.5% 534 C&RL News
6.8% 61 IS Professional Education Committee's Continuing Education website
73.1% 656 Association newsletters (ALA/ACRL, state, local, or other professional organizations)
63.9% 574 Colleagues
44.2% 397 Webpages of national, state, or local organizations


  • (75 responses) E-mail (including discussion lists and alerts from colleagues or organizations*)
  • (16 responses) blogs, RSS feeds**
  • Other publications, American Libraries, Library Journal
  • Online lists of library conferences
  • Some vendors offer CE/updates for their products
  • Blended Librarian, EDUCAUSE
  • my employer/college
  • HBCU Library Alliance
  • LOEX Currents
  • NW Central (online professional development calendar for libraries)
  • facebook
  • Infopeople
  • TexShare
  • Anything online, not print
  • Flyers in the mail
  • State Library Organization
  • I don’t
  • ALA Conference wiki
  • Participation in our local library instruction group (NELIG)
  • serendipity unfortunately (no box for “Other” to be checked off)
  • Mailings

*Discussion lists and organizations specifically mentioned:  ACRL, ALA, BRASS, NEC, SOLINET, COLLIB-L, RUSA, ULS, CJRLC, SJRLC, JESSE, web4lib, NMRT-L, Newlib-L, Immersion Alumni list.

**Blogs specifically mentioned: Library Garden, ACRL Insider

6. Please choose the top 3 types of instruction with which you are involved. Rank 1-3. (1 = most heavily):


1 -
most heavily involved


2 -
very involved


3 -

114 169 253 Orientation sessions
21 57 125 Drop-in workshops
247 272 114 General instruction sessions
372 205 100 Discipline-specific instruction sessions
56 40 32 General credit courses
35 32 26 Discipline-specific credit courses
36 65 131 Online instruction (tutorials or distance education)


  • individual bibliographic instruction sessions  very involved
  • 3 - Faculty workshops.   
  • one on one instruction as I do reference.   
  • One-on-one office consultations.   
  • one-on-one with faculty.   
  • Consultant to faculty - very involved.   
  • one-on-one collaboration with instructors and tutors.   
  • 3 - drop-in or 'on the spot' instruction.   
  • general instruction session - 3.   
  • Tutorials - 3.   
  • ONe-to-one instruction hands-on in library.   
  • BY 1) General instruction sessions, mean BI for Freshman Composition.   
  • Just a little online instruction through Blackboard.   
  • 2 - one on one instruction.   
  • I'm in charge of the planning of the istruction program.   
  • 4 tutorial creation.   
  • In an administrative role & not currently teaching.   
  • None at this time. I had to answer to continue survey..   
  • most heavily involved in course-integrated instruction with general education, especially English composition.   
  • I am a department head so I mostly provide leadership and oversight of the instruction program. We engage in all of the types of instruction listed..   
  • by appointment (individuals/small group) involved.   
  • 3. I also teach a library school course in IL for MLIS & Ph.D. students, once every other year.   
  • 2-very involved: instruction at the reference desk.   
  • IS For-Credit Course.   
  • online instruction.   
  • teaching IS students to become instruction librarians in a 3-credit course.   
  • student tutor training.   
  • learning communities - interdisciplinary - rank 1.   
  • Credit bearing Info Lit course - very involved.   
  • Reference Desk - 1.   
  • now retired - not too helpful to you.   
  • 3 - Drop In Workshops.   
  • Library Science 10req. course 1.   
  • not yet teaching, student.   
  • faculty  IL workshops.   
  • instruction with mobile devices specifically iphone itouch.   
  • I am HEAVILY involved in ALL aspects of instruction at my institution.   
  • weekly, required, no-credit pass/fail class.   
  • one on one training with individuals.   
  • I am in a special library, but would like to move into academe. I am 60 and cannot seem to find a position.   
  • I teach Information Literacy in a SLIS program..   
  • 3rd = reference desk instruction.   
  • Embedded librarian #1.   
  • Non-library discipline specific teaching.   
  • faculty development.   
  • Info literacy instruction in Second Life 2 - very involved.   
  • Instruction for faculty in discipline.   
  • Our institutions primary focus is in online delivery of integrated IL instruction, spread throughout the curriculum and not just in a .    .    library 101.    .     or english composition type of course..   
  • unfortunately because  I am now assoc. dean at a union shop,  I can no longer instruct in the classroom..   
  • 1 credit info. lit. course offered by the library.   
  • one-on-one consultations addressing focused research needs.   
  • one credit info lit course     -  1-2.   
  • on demand.   
  • drop-in visits.   
  • Drop-in workshops.   
  • Not overly involved in any of these areas at present....   
  • faculty & graduate student advanced skills instruction sessions (2).   
  • note- these are all for graduate-level courses.   
  • Faculty who request sessions don't know the difference between .    .    general instruction.    .     and .    .    orientation sessions.    .     it's all the same to them.   
  • Teaching multiple information literacy sessions (from five to three) in a class currently designed for at-risk students.  Class covers topics such as time management, study skills, critical thinking and information literacy.  This class will eventually become a Gen. Ed. requirement for all new students. Current rating: 3.   
  • I am heavily involved with all except discipline-specific courses & online instruction..   
  • I've moved into administration for public services, so am not doing much instruction myself, but looking for opportunities for our librarians..   
  • clarification for Q1: 1credit Info Literacy course.   
  • I am a student, but have done workshops and orientations at my day job for 8 years.

7. Your institution is a:

Percent No. Type
46.1% 410 Doctorate-granting university
24.5% 218 Master's college or university
12.1% 108 Baccalaureate college
14.5% 129 Associates college
2.7% 24 Special focus institution
0.0% 0 Tribal college


  • NOTE: In process of being accredited for 1 Bacc program.   
  • well there are now two phds so we are not research intensive, not an R 1.   
  • also offers baccalaureate select degrees.   
  • Joint use campus: community college and university.   
  • Doctorates and Master's granting ONLY.   
  • Technical college granting both Baccalaureate (30%) and Associates (70%).   
  • Masters in Education and Nursing.   
  • Consortium.   
  • we grant doctorates, masters and baccalaureates.   
  • branch campus of a doctorate granting u..   
  • Some Graduate degrees, but mostly undergraduate.   
  • mostly Master's university.   
  • branch campus of a doctorate granting university.   
  • Currently unemployed.   
  • not currently employed in a library.   
  • study abroad campus for large university.   
  • public library.   
  • Masters program only in Theology.   
  • Small number of PhDs..   
  • I am at a regional campus, with only 1 Master's degree program..   
  • I work for two colleges, one grants Master's degrees; the other grants Associates degrees and certifications.   
  • not applicable at present.   
  • Secondary Prep School.   
  • Design College/ Baccalaureate.   
  • other --.   
  • Religious institution granting degrees from associates to doctoral level.   
  • museum.   
  • Degree-granting vocational school.   
  • Undergraduate, graduate and associates (co-located campus).   
  • With limited doctoral offerings.   
  • military training center.   
  • High School.   
  • U.S. Government.   
  • Masters in Religious Studies & Theological Seminary.

8. What level of student do you teach?

Percent No. Level
30.5% 271 Only undergraduates
42.3% 376 Mostly undergraduates and some graduate students
17.1% 152 Some undergraduate and some graduate students
7.4% 66 Mostly graduate and some undergraduate students
2.6% 23 Only graduate students

9. Please note your years of experience as an instruction librarian.

Percent No. Range
20.1% 178 0 to 2 Years
20.7% 183 3 to 5 Years
21.2% 188 6 to 10 years
38.0% 337 More than 10


Instruction Section Home Page

Send us your comments and questions