Professional development for school librarians can be formal or informal. Options include recognised qualifications or courses, through to online communities, learning networks, and professional reading.
Joining professional associations and developing your own network of collegial advice and support will assist greatly in your professional development, as you look for opportunities to update your knowledge and skills.
Professional library qualifications and training opportunities
Professional associations - New Zealand
Professional associations - international
Employment agreements for school library staff
Professional learning networks
- The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) maintains a guide to relevant undergraduate and postgraduate courses throughout New Zealand
- The Open Polytechnic offers a variety of information, library and record-keeping programmes and courses ranging from the introductory level through to higher-level qualifications. Of particular interest is the Certificate in Literature and Library Services for Children and Young People.
- Victoria University of Wellington offers a Masters in Information Studies that can be completed full / part time and via either face-to-face or distance delivery. At this time the MIS does not include courses focusing specifically on the school library environment.
- Charles Sturt University, Australia offers a Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship), a Teacher Librarianship qualification, offered to teachers by distance over two years, and available to international students.
- National Library Services to Schools Professional Learning and Development (PLD) programme.
Professional registration information is available from LIANZA.
- Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA): The professional organisation for library and information management professionals in New Zealand.
- Te Rōpū Whakahau: The organisation that unites Māori librarians and information specialists in Aotearoa New Zealand. Aims "to teach, strengthen and unite us all no matter where we are, and to advocate for the improved management of Māori workers, Māori materials and Māori clients." Te Rōpū Whakahau has a formal partnership with LIANZA.
- School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) - Te Puna Whare Matauranga a Kura (SLANZA): Aims to strengthen and promote the role of school libraries, to enable all school communities to become information literate.
- American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
- Australian School Library Association (ASLA)
- Canadian Association for School Libraries
- International Association of School Librarianship (IASL)
- UK School Library Association
Here are the main sources of employment agreements for school library staff:
- New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI) is the union that covers support staff in schools, and has Support Staff Collective Agreements
- PPTA Collective Agreements
- Support Staff in Schools Individual Employment Agreement provides an Individual Employment Agreement (IEA) for school support staff who are not members of the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa.
An important part of your growth and development as a school librarian is developing a Professional Learning Network or ‘PLN’. Sometimes also referred to as Personal Learning Networks, PLNs are groups of people who can:
- guide your learning
- point you to learning opportunities
- answer your questions
- give you the benefit of their own knowledge and experience.
PLNs consist of relationships between individuals where the goal is enhancement of mutual learning. These networks can be formal and informal, through participation in a professional association such as SLANZA or over coffee with colleagues in the school staff room.
Communication and sharing of knowledge and experiences can be face-to-face and online. Rapid digital development has made it easier to transcend geography and institutional and professional silos to create a truly global and cross-sectoral PLN.
You can develop a PLN by participating in listservs, wikis, online communities, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social media tools and platforms. The challenge can be filtering and selecting from the almost limitless possibilities for communication and networking on the web.
The following recommended resources may help you to create a PLN suited to your interests and needs.
- National Library Services to Schools website: You will find a number of avenues of support here, including the 0800 LIBLINE advisory service.
- Online Communities enable members of the school library and education communities to meet, become informed and discuss issues of interest. A number of Online Communities have been set up to provide and share support and inspiration among participants on specific courses.
Listservs and mailing lists
- SLANZA's Schoollib listserv, open to anyone involved with school libraries in New Zealand. Many SLANZA members take an active part in this forum, helping the wider school library community by sharing their experiences and knowledge.
- OZTLNET: A forum for teacher librarians and school library staff to meet, gain assistance and share with colleagues throughout Australia. Topics of discussion include Internet resources, library automation, events and children's literature.
Websites, Wikis, blogs, Twitter and other social media
- SLANZA Reading is a space where information and news about reading is shared among members. Incorporates content from the previous SLANZA wiki.
A 'wiki' is a website developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.
- International School Libraries Network-Singapore is a good example.
A 'blog' is a web site on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis.
- Our Libraries and Learning blog explores ideas, trends, information and research around school libraries and learning.
- Our Create Readers and Engaging readers blogs focus on children's and young adult literature (especially New Zealand), literacy research, and ways to get, and keep, kids reading.
- SLANZA blog includes New Zealand library news and updates from the SLANZA executive. SLANZA is also on Facebook and Twitter.
- US site Top 50 school library bloggers, includes two New Zealand school library blogs in this annotated list – Kings High School in Dunedin, and Springston School, Canterbury.
- Tip: Use Feedly to aggregate your selected blogs of interest.
Twitter - A social networking platform that enables anyone in the world to instantly share their experience in searchable 140 character chunks. Many library bloggers also have a Twitter account – so check out the Blogs list for these.
- AnyquestionsNZ: AnyQuestions.co.nz is a free online reference service for New Zealand school students.
- DonnaRae9: Donna Watt is Technical Services Manager at Invercargill Public Library, previously library manager at two Southland schools.
- L2_S2: L2 Libraries and Learning is the Twitter account of Services to Schools, National Library of New Zealand.
- Tips: Look who these library and education leaders are following on their Twitter accounts to expand your Professional Learning Network. Find out which libraries in your local community tweet.
Content Curated websites
A content curated website organises, filters, selects and ‘makes sense’ of information on the web. They are a great way for you to find and share the best content focused on a particular theme and targeted towards a specific network. Curation sites include Scoopit, Pinterest and Storify.
- School Libraries and Learning and Creating Readers: Curated ‘Scoopits’ maintained by National Library Services to Schools.
- Collected magazine [SLANZA] - Latest developments in New Zealand school libraries.
- Connections - online journal for school libraries from the Curriculum Corporation, Australia
- The School Library (from the New Zealand Book Council): Features reviews for children of all ages plus writer interviews, news and commentaries from the children's book world in New Zealand.
- School Library Journal Online (USA) Features current news about school libraries and librarians.
- American Libraries Magazine AASL's online journal.
- Teacher Librarian (Canada)