Continuing Education (and where to find it)

Continuous learning is critical to renewing the expertise and skills needed to assist patrons in this information age.  Library workers must continually expand their knowledge in order to keep up with the rate of change. Whether you are an entry-level professional, mid-career librarian, support staff, senior management staff or trustee, the American Library Association has continuing education resources for your own development or that of your staff. For specific questions, you may either contact sponsoring units (where listed), or you may contact the ALA Library.

Regional library associations and consortia and state libraries offer continuing education (CE) courses to library workers in their areas. These can be workshops led by peers and/or courses provided by a vendor through an agreement. If earning CEUs is directly related to and required by your state's public librarian certification, the state library can provide details on courses that will fulfill those requirements or may provide the courses themselves.

There are also numerous continuing education opportunities at state library association conferences , the ALA Annual Conference, or WebJunction.

Although many library organizations offer some form of continuing education programs, not all programs have had their offerings evaluated according to the continuing education unit (CEU) standards set forth by the International Association for Continuing Education & Training (IACET). The IACET maintains a searchable online database of the colleges, universities and other organizations that have continuing education courses that meet its criteria. ALA has recently become an authorized provider of IACET CEUs.

ALA's Continuing Education Resources

Conferences & Events Page -- Gives information on ALA Midwinter Meetings, Annual Conferences, and other association meetings such as state conferences 

Education and Continuous Learning brochure (1999)  -- Education and Continuous Learning is one of the key action areas adopted by the American Library Association to fulfill its mission of promoting the highest quality library and information services for all people. Providing librarians, library staff and trustees with opportunities for professional development and promoting continuous, lifelong learning for all people is integral to that mission.

Library and Information Studies Education and Human Resource Utilization Statement (PDF) -- An ALA policy statement 

Online Learning Center with its current listings of CE offerings from all ALA units


Further Reading

The importance of continuing education is regularly addressed in the professional literature.  Two recent such works are:

Holley, Robert P., and Carol Smallwood. Continuing Education for Librarians: Essays on Career Improvement Through Classes, Workshops, Conferences and More. Jefferson, NC [u.a.]: McFarland, 2013.

Stewart, Andrea, Carlette Washington-Hoagland, and Carol T. Zsulya. Staff Development: A Practical Guide. Chicago: American Library Association, 2013.

Annotations for each can be found on American Libraries Magazine.  List of titles from the "Librarian's Library" column from July/August 2011 to the present.


Last updated September 23, 2013.