VIRTUAL Library Skills Academy

Six-Week Virtual Online Course

This program is open to individuals already working or newly hired in libraries, or people interested in working in public and academic libraries. To receive a certificate, the individual must complete the entire program without missing a session.

Session I: Introduction

An introduction to libraries and library services.  Discussion topics include the history of libraries, the foundational principles of library service, the major types of libraries, the different functional areas of library work, the various jobs and roles in library work, an overview of the current employment landscape in the library field, and a discussion of “hot topics” such as censorship, privacy, rights of access, social media, etc.

Learning Outcomes

  1.     Understand the history of libraries and the profession’s ever evolving complexity.
  2.     Understand core principles of library service and the place of libraries in a democratic society.
  3.     Have a working knowledge of major library types - public, academic, school, special.
  4.     Have a working knowledge of major functional areas of library work - circulation, reference, technical services, etc.
  5.     Have a working knowledge of the various jobs and roles in library work.
  6.     Achieve an overall understanding of libraries and library services in order to provide context for the other components of the course.

Session II: Reference Services

This component of the training program is an introduction to reference and information services in libraries. Topics include the reference interview, changing nature of reference services, the definition of reference and reference work, active listening, technologies for completing reference work, information literacy, information organization and information-seeking skills. The role of the library assistant in this aspect of library service is explored.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss the nature, function, and organization of reference and information services and sources in different type libraries and information centers.
  2. Develop an awareness of current and emerging trends in reference sources and services (e.g., chat reference, “roving reference,” print vs electronic resources).
  3. Grasp the concept of and practice the “Reference Interview” and the Assistant’s role in providing reference service.  
  4. Understand the multitude of perspectives of library users and how to address them in the reference interview.
  5. Identify and access multiple reference tools to answer reference questions.
  6. Evaluate information online and employ methods to teach information literacy to library users.

Session III: Public / Customer Service

An introduction to public services in libraries. This section covers access policies and procedures, collection management, customer service, and public relations.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Summarize the various aspects of customer service in the library setting, including Circulation Desk management, conflict resolution, and patron security.
  2. Explain the role and philosophy of public services in a library environment, the differences in public services among different types of libraries, and the library assistant’s role in providing these services.
  3. Describe how the library assistant provides access to library resources while protecting patrons’ privacy.
  4. Understand the critical role of technology in serving patrons.

Session VI: Technical Services 

What is library Technical Services and how does it fit into the overall library set-up? This session will provide background information on the basics of “tech services” including structure and non-cataloging responsibilities for this area of library services.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the relationship of technical services to the library as a whole and to the library's mission.
  2. Describe the overall process for obtaining resources for the library's collections, and variations on that general process.
  3. Describe the physical parts of a book and of other tangible resources acquired by libraries.

Session V: The Library in Your Community

An introduction to public services in libraries. This section covers the intersection of the library and the community it serves.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Upstanding the various stakeholders of a library.
  2. Organizational structure and how it interfaces with the community.
  3. How library funding and budgets are interconnected with the community.

Session VI: Outreach, Promotions, and Advocacy

An introduction to how libraries get the word out and engage their community.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understanding of outreach, community engagement, and partnerships.
  2. Working strategies for displays and signage.
  3. Understanding of the role of public relations, social media, and community reports.
  4. The importance of advocacy: legislative, local government, and every day.

There are no materials required to be collected in advance of the first program.  All required materials will be distributed at each session.

Upcoming Program Session

The Fall 2024 Session will open registration on September 1st and sessions will begin in October. Stay tuned for our registration form opening later this year!