I’m never quite sure how to present grad school work. When I’m at work, my MLIS classes are considered professional development. But when I become a fully fledged librarian I’ll no longer have the graduate classes to fall back on in terms of professional development. I had webinars on my radar in the past, but mostly as an alternative to a conference I could not attend (my previous library provided support in the way of time and expertise but we did not have hard funds for professional development for staff) or as a way to catch up on a new piece of software. It wasn’t until this year (note all years for me are school years so “this year” for the blog started in September) that I began to truly make use of the offerings of some of the professional organizations that offer student rates and discounts. My favorite in this so far has been SLA – they offer a large variety of webinars on everything from new technology to copyright workshops. The webinars are available in a synched format at a specific day and time and a good number of them are recorded and posted online for review later. The live webinar experience is great because I can listen and interact at work while I’m on a break and when I cannot watch all of it I can watch it later.
I attended a great webinar this week on open source technology presented by ByWater Solutions, the slides can be found here. This presentation was an excellent overview of what open source technology means (the code is shared so you can update it but it is not necessarily free technology) and what it means for libraries. The presenter moved through the material at a good pace and allowed plenty of time for questions. She is giving another presentation of the open source presentation in April, refer to the link above for times and how to sign up.
Webinars and taped meetings are a big part of working in libraries today. I go to class online, interact with student groups online and work with meetings similar to the webinar software for presentations. If you have access to an ALA, SLA, CLA or other library association membership look for information on their websites on what they offer. Some webinars are free, some are more expensive than others. ACRL provides scholarship opportunities (which reminds me I need to use that before it expires!) throughout the year and other professional groups do as well. The one thing I don’t know yet is what the rules are for having a small group “attend” one one projector (ie. one computer but three or four attendees) does that work like an individual rate or do you use a different form?