There are those of us who tend to await the opportunities. Hope that our efforts and hard work simply lead into professional opportunities. However the world is changing, and so too has the world of work. We can no longer rely on our employers for providing all of our professional development opportunities - the world is changing too quickly, and whilst our employers can support our efforts and provide some professional development, it is really about taking a proactive attitude to one's career, and taking sole responsibility for it.
If we don't take responsibility for our careers, then who will? We will render ourselves obsolete very quickly if we don't continue to upskill ourselves, and include professional development and growth as part of our weekly and daily habits. We need to accept that our lifelong learning journey is never over. Professional development comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be simply reading material daily or weekly, or it can be undertaking a short course, listening to podcasts, listening to free webinars, undertaking a qualification etc. The fact of the matter is, most upskilling and professional development can be free of charge. You don't need a big budget to undertake professional development - you just need to make it a priority in your life, and make it a habit.
As Aristotle once wisely said "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore, is not an act but a habit". The professional development opportunities for Library and Information Services is extensive, however, it is wise to be strategic in one's approach to professional development. Instead of trying to do everything, and getting no where, or not very far, it is far better to:
- Find out where your strengths are, and put them to better use in your library; and
- Find out where your development opportunities are (or weaknesses), and create a strategy to build up your skills and knowledge in those targeted areas.
Fortunately, there is a tool out there to help you with this, and it is known as a Training Needs Analysis (TNA), or a Skills Audit. A TNA is a resource that identifies the skill gaps that you have, and then allows you to create a strategy on how you will address those skill gaps. LTSA has created a fantastic free resource for our community of dedicated library afficionados to use. Our free Training Needs Analysis can effectively help perform an analysis to identify specific training or professional development opportunities (free professional development where possible). Thus allowing you to best structure and plan professional development opportunities that will progress your career.
The benefits of completing a Training Needs Analysis include:
- Discover the skills you have, and the skills you need to progress your career, relevant to your current and future library and information services roles.
- Receive the full report of your responses, so you can keep them on hand and compare to later results in the future.
- Receive a Summary Report, which identifies your strengths, and how you can use them better, and also your development opportunities, including professional development ideas targeted for you.
- Understand better your career journey and skill set required.
- Compare your skills to those required to a Diploma of Library and Information Services level (you don't need to wish to undertake a Diploma - but that is the skill level to which we are measuring).
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