During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen an increase in webinars, which has been great for my professional development. Webinars are defined as “a live online educational presentation during which participating viewers can submit questions and comments.” Webinars are essential to librarians’ introduction to and understanding of a variety of topics. In addition, it is helpful that most of them are free. Since there have not been any in-person workshops, many associations had to pivot and start offering webinars. I will briefly discuss two organizations that I discovered and one organization that I was familiar with that offered incredible content. There are so many organizations that are doing the work.
Be sure to check the Infobase Webinar Calendar regularly for upcoming webinars educators won’t want to miss!
At the end of 2020, I saw a webinar that piqued my interest, and it was conducted by The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL). Since that time, I have attended more of their webinars. Elaina Norlin, the ASERL Program Coordinator for Professional Development, does a great job of bringing experts in our field to share their expertise with us. Also, I love that if I miss a webinar due to a schedule conflict, the video will be uploaded to the site, and sometimes the PowerPoint slides are made available. This is great for inclusion and accessibility. They have some exciting webinars coming up.
At the beginning of 2021, I saw a webinar hosted by InfoPeople, and I attended Vocational Awe and Librarianship: Loving Yourself Is Not a Crime by Fobazi M. Ettarh. The first time I heard Ettarh speak was at the 2019 Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference, so I knew that I had to be present for this webinar. Since that webinar, I have attended some other ones that have been informative and helpful when supporting college students. Furthermore, some topics discussed, like mental health, will help us as library workers. Taking care of ourselves is just as important as supporting the communities that we serve. InfoPeople does a fantastic job of archiving the recordings of past webinars.
I am a part of the virtual engagement committee (VEC) of The African American Medical Librarians Alliance (AAMLA), a caucus of the Medical Library Association. Before the pandemic, our caucus was very active in hosting webinars. Last year and into this year, we conducted webinars on publishing, wellness, and self-care. Many librarians have questions about the publishing process. Then I was inspired by the BIPOC in LIS Mental Health Call to Action Symposium hosted by Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, MSLS, Twanna Hodge, MLS, Amanda M. Leftwich, MSLS, and Rayna Smaller, MSW. As a result, the AAMLA VEC was able to apply for a grant from the Network of the National Library of Medicine Southeastern/Atlantic (NNLM SE/A) region, now called Region 1, to host a series that discussed wellness and self-care. The series was called the Radical Self-Care & Wellness for Information Professionals Series. We were able to have the speakers from the BIPOC in LIS Mental Health Call to Action Symposium in attendance with so many other great people. The recordings of the webinars are archived on the website.
Many organizations, associations, and caucuses host webinars since in-person events are not entirely happening in most places. Attending webinars is a way to get the professional development you need, and frequently they are free.
Check out the Infobase Resource Library for recordings of webinars covering informative professional development topics for librarians and educators.
- Infobase Professional Development and Training Solutions
- Trending Professional Development Topics in Higher Education
- The Uphill Upskill: Preparing for Career Success Campus-Wide
- Tips on Creating a Professional Development Plan
- Five Library Podcasts for Exploring Careers in Libraries
- How to Plan a Comprehensive Professional Development Strategy