Professional Development Opportunities from Home

These free and affordable learning options allow library professionals to follow their interests and dig deeper into new approaches.

Educators rarely have enough time: to grade, plan, and eat—and also to learn. At the moment, though, many of us do have some time to pursue personal learning interests and professional development—which make us better at our jobs.

These free and affordable learning options allow library professionals to follow their interests and dig deeper into new approaches. That can include anything from learning about the latest technology to looking after your mental health. How are you brushing up on professional development during school closures? Let us know in the comments.

Courses and webinars

The Great Courses is currently 70 percent off (sale courses range from $20 - $70).

● Universal Class is offered free via many public libraries, with a wide range of categories.

Sophia is offering some free ACE-recommended classes for college credit.

American Libraries, the publication from ALA, offers archived webcasts; some topics overlap nicely with school library issues. Planning ahead, consider this July 17th offering on articulating what matters to you in librarianship.

● The Professional Learning resources from NCTE are excellent; scroll down for pointers to other sites.

● Amazon “Future Engineer” has free courses through its partner, Edhesive.

Library Juice Academy is relevant for all kinds of librarians. Not free ($175), but if your district has money for PD, it provides high quality seminars.

Infopeople offers a combination of free and paid online courses and webinars for librarians.

WebJunction offers free library-specific courses and webinar recordings.

Class Central aggregates a variety of free online classes.

Teaching Tolerance has a variety of learning options.

● Keep an eye on the Spring 2020 SLJ /ISTE Tech Trends Webcasts. The April 2 event, moderated by Joyce Valenza, addresses equity and information poverty.

● Consider presenting at #LIBRESILIENCE web conference organized by Callan Bignoli (@eminencefont).

Read: Publishers Adapt Policies to Help Educators

Videos and talks is a live nature cam network and documentary film channel with free lesson plans.

● Heinemann blog has good English language arts PD on Facebook with well-known authors.

Skype a Scientist is well-known as a platform to connect students and experts, but it could also work as a PD and planning opportunity for interested librarians with teachers.

The Kid Should See This is not just for kids. Watch, learn, and get great ideas for STEM integration, media literacy, history, writing prompts, and more.

● Media Education Lab is hosting Virtually Viral Hangouts every week. It’s an online gathering to share and support educators during the coronavirus pandemic.

● Check out the archived sessions, free book, and case studies from Univ. of Michigan/IMLS-funded conference on Data Literacy.

● Archived webinars from Booklist, including STEAM topics, diverse book suggestions.

● Podcasts, including CyberPunk Librarian and The Librarian’s Guide to Teaching, are great places to explore new ideas.

● The Nebraska Library Commission has a list of free webinars from all over, covering topics from grant-writing to asking strong research questions.


● The book Read the World by Ziemke and Muhtaris covers K-8 digital literacy. Heinemann publisher's page for the book has viewable parts, and the authors have created a new site to help with COVID-19 and new remote learning needs.

Booklist’s Professional Reading Roundup offers reviews of professional reading materials. The books themselves are not included, but this is a great way to find that new title to download to your ereader.

● Coach and international school educator Sherri Spelic has written a short article on taking a breath and stepping back.

● Jennifer Gonzales offers her perspective on the teaching of reading and engendering joy in reading.

New American History has podcasts and curated articles.

Educator Innovator is the National Writing Project’s online hub.

● Remember that reading good blogs counts as informal PD. MiddleWeb covers all subject areas.

● Read previous columns from Joyce Valenza’s NeverEnding Search, especially now while SLJ is freely accessible.

Creativity and self care

● Instagram-based #THE100DAYPROJECT, global online project starting April 7th.

Future Learn provides a collection of free online classes to build your creativity in writing, art, filmmaking, and music.

Public Art and Pedagogy is a MOOC taught by Duke University Professor and artist Pedro Lasch in which students study and create socially engaged art.

● See the Crafts & Hobbies section of Universal Class (see above, free via many public libraries).

● Carolyn Foote (@technolibrary) has several good mindfulness sites for adults on her Talking to Students about Coronavirus.

Melissa Techman is in her fifth year as co-librarian at Western Albemarle High School in Virginia. She previously worked in K-5 and public libraries. Paula Archey is in her second year as co-librarian at Western Albemarle High School. IdaMae Craddock, A 20 year veteran of Albemarle County Public Schools, is a librarian at Albemarle High School. 


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