Continuing Education

by Tim Gavin

The following quotes are from the 2010 Edition of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State:

“Trustees must learn and grow during their tenure on the board, developing an ever-deepening awareness of the affairs of their own library and an appreciation and understanding of other libraries and library organizations.

Effective and knowledgeable trustees undergo a constant process of growth and learning. Attending board meetings and voting on current questions is not enough. Continuing education, for trustees as well as staff, represents an important investment in the library’s future”.

The Library Trustees Association of New York State sponsors an Annual Trustee Institute and most public library systems offer workshops and seminars specifically aimed at trustees. The annual NYLA Conference offers an excellent opportunity to learn about new developments, programs, and activities across the state.

Many will ask . . . how do you justify public funding for conferences, webinars, workshops and similar resources, especially in tough economic times? Having a clear continuing education policy that can be shared with your library community is key – but once again, I defer to the Handbook:

“Financial constraints or the perception of public disapproval make some boards reluctant to approve dues, registration fees, and travel expenses for continuing education. However, these expenses are essential to keep libraries alive and vibrant through a better-informed and more effective board and staff. Every library should have a written policy regarding staff and board training and budget sufficient funds each year to assure that both the library board and the library staff can take full advantage of educational opportunities and remain aware of new trends and best practices in the library world”.

Library professionals are also facing updated requirements for continuing education. Public librarians issued professional certificates as of January 1, 2010 are now required to complete 60 hours of continuing education every five years. (Commissioner’s Regulation § 90.7.)

Does your library have a continuing education policy – not only for staff but for board members?

If not, please do an advanced search on our policy database and select the policy category, “Continuing Education,” for some examples.

If it does, kindly share it with your peers.

How to send policies:
Fax: 518-288-3571
Mail: please contact me by email or call me at: 518-288-3571. (If your policies are only in hardcopy, we will convert them to digital files and send them back to you at no charge.)

For more information about revised Regulation § 90.7, concerning continuing education for public librarians, please visit the following pages on DLD’s website:

Continuing Education for Public Librarian Certification 

§90.7 Certificates for librarians in registered public, free association and Indian libraries (amended December 23, 2008, effective as of January 8, 2009)