Free Seminars for Librarians: Its time to learn something!!

So… I wrote a super snarky blog post yesterday that basically came down to complaining about librarians or library workers who claim they can’t do something because they don’t know how (we work in a library, everything you need to know is on the shelf, in our databases, or you should know how to find it). However, I decided not to post it on the advice of quite a few librarians. So instead, I’ll post this blog about an organization that presents a solution. I don’t like complaining but I do like solutions after all.

I’m going to put out a plug for an organization called InfoPeople who I have had many great experiences with but whose Twitter account I just found. From their website InfoPeople describes themselves as:

“A statewide LSTA project that functions as the training arm of the California State Library. Some other state libraries provide training via in-house staff. California has opted to essentially outsource training in order to leverage the maximum return on investment of training dollars. The Infopeople model provides a breadth of training topics and a depth of training expertise greater than any single library or library agency, no matter how large, could provide.”

While I do like this organization quite a bit, you might have noticed a tweet once or twice where I expressed my frustration with some of the trainings that they offered. This was more in regard to the fact that they saw a need for those trainings and not because the organization did something wrong. (Ex. A $75 training for Googledocs? Librarians should already know how to use this)

Anyway, I have been to some of their trainings and I enjoyed them and learned quite a bit. More recently I had a couple of experiences with some of the folks behind the organization and I have to say that they are all good people trying to do good work for libraries.

While they do charge for their trainings, they do provide quite a few webcasts and online seminars that are archived that you and your staff can see for free. Even though this is a California based organization, it seems that anyone can access the free webinars! What a great service to libraries! If you haven’t checked out their webinars you really should. One of my favorites being George and Joan: Thinking out Loud.

Here are some of their more recent offerings;

Re-energizing Your Preschool Storytime: New Ideas for Busy Children’s Staff

Top Tech Trends for the Non-Technical

Michael Cart Talks about Patrick Ness and Chaos Walking

George & Joan, Thinking Out Loud about Competition and Disruptive Technologies

Writing a Library Behavior Code – an Update

The New Medline Plus: An In-Depth Look

Michael Cart talks about the life and career of Sid Fleischman

Cool New Legal Sources Online

George and Joan, Thinking Out Loud about the Space Between

Infopeople webinar at noon PDT today:

So if these don’t help you learn something new, check out their website because they have a whole lot more to offer. Don’t forget you can also check your library’s shelves, or its databases, or a podcast, or youtube, or google, or even wikipedia. Once again, I will restate what spurred this post in the first place and simply say – If you work in a library, not knowing something is no excuse.

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7 thoughts on “Free Seminars for Librarians: Its time to learn something!!

  1. While I can understand why you question the need for training in some topics that are no-brainers for a lot of us (ex: Googledocs), the reality is that there are LOTS of library staff out there who have no idea where to start on such things. I know…but that’s what it is like in the trenches.

  2. This is completly snark free, well done 🙂
    I actually attended the webinar on re-energizing your storytimes yesterday, so your post is especially timely. Nice shout out for infopeople!

  3. Nice job writing a constructive, non-snarky post about an issue that frustrates many of us. It’s so ironic to me that librarians, the supposed champions of lifelong learning, so often need to be prodded into learning something new, and often are not proactive about learning something new. The Googledocs training example is so classic, in my experience. But in many situations, if the formal training isn’t offered explicitly, the staff will moan over being expected to use something “we never got training on”. Even if it’s something they (in theory) should be able to use their librarian skills to learn anyway. How many classes have I done teaching librarians how to use a simple keyword based search box? Too many.

  4. Keep in mind that sometimes people take a class to see if they have mastered the topic fully enough to teach it, or to get ideas for instruction. $75 to validate one’s knowledge and provide pedagogical insights is pretty cheap.

  5. Three cheers for solution-oriented! 🙂 Of possible interest to you and your loyal readers: Marianne Lenox did a great post on free webinars at the alalearning blog. Check it out: Of special note her links to Stephanie Zimmerman’s Library-Related Training Opportunities Google Calendar (, Brad Ward’s Library Webinars blog ( and Marianne’s own Google Reader bundle (

    Happy Learning!

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