Volume 29, Number 3, Fall 2007

Delaware and Maryland Share Library Associate Training Institute

Kathy Graybeal, Delaware Division of Libraries

The Delaware Division of Libraries joined forces with Maryland’s Division of Library Development and Services in 2002 to pilot core competency training for library staff. This long-standing Maryland program proved to be an excellent vehicle for joint continuing education of Delaware staff and the Eastern Shore residents of Maryland. Recognized by the Institute for Museum and Library Services as an exemplary program for Delaware, 16 percent of Library Associate Training Institute (LATI) students in this effort have received or are pursuing higher education toward a library or information science degree. An additional 10 percent are seriously considering this commitment.

LATI revolves around four key areas for library service:

  1. communication and customer service;
  2. reader’s advisory evaluation and recommendation;
  3. reference resource evaluation and recommendation; and
  4. service to diverse populations.

Using a blended learning environment, LATI begins and ends with face-to-face sessions; nationally recognized experts such as the young adult diva Sheila Anderson and reader’s advisory guru Michael Gannon bring topics to life for the library associates. But the majority of the institute rests in synchronous and asynchronous learning through the weekly content on the LATI Web site and telebridge conversations. The chance to experiment with technologies also figures heavily into the institute; these technologies can range from reading e-books to building a group wiki to podcasting.

Woven throughout LATI are discussions and exercises designed to alert the students—and their supervisors—to their individual learning and communication preferences, to coaching concepts, and to lifelong learning and brain research, philosophies, and societal trends that will be driving library service in the twenty-first century.

For more information, contact Kathy Graybeal.