Library Skills Academy

Student Photo

Three Week Course

This high level program is open to individuals already working or newly hired in libraries, or people interested in working in public and academic libraries. To receive a certificate, the individual must complete the entire 18 hour program.

The course is offered on the same day over the course of three weeks (e.g. three consecutive Tuesdays), and each class is six hours long.

Introduction (Day 1, morning)

An introduction to libraries and library service.  Discussion topics include the history of libraries, the foundational principles of library service, the major types of libraries, the different functional areas of library work, the various jobs and roles in library work,  an overview of the current employment landscape in the library field, and a discussion of “hot topics” such as censorship, privacy, rights of access, social media, etc.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1.     Understand the history of libraries and the profession’s ever-evolving complexity;
  2.     Understand core principles of library service and the place of libraries in a democratic society;
  3.     Have a working knowledge of major library types - public, academic, school, special;
  4.     Have a working knowledge of major functional areas of library work - circulation, reference, technical services, etc.;
  5.     Have a working knowledge of the various jobs and roles in library work;
  6.     Have an appreciation of the current employment landscape in libraries, including the connection between career & work skills to work within a library;
  7.     Achieve an overall understanding of libraries and library service in order to provide context for the other components of the course.  

Reference Services (Day 1, afternoon)

This component of the training program is an introduction to reference and information services in libraries. Topics include the organization of information, the reference question, and search strategies.  Electronic reference products, trends in reference work, types of reference materials, and library/bibliographic instruction/information literacy, are discussed. The role of the library assistant in this aspect of library service is explored.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1.     Discuss the nature, function, and organization of reference and information services and sources in different type libraries and information centers;
  2.     Comprehend basic reference tools and documents in both print and electronic formats;
  3.     Grasp the concept of the “Reference Interview” and the Assistant’s role in providing reference service;  
  4.     Understand patron use of various computer applications in public areas, including the Internet, online catalogs, periodical and other informational databases;  
  5.     Develop an awareness of current and emerging trends in reference sources and services (e.g., IM reference, “roving reference,” print vs electronic resources);
  6.     Use search strategies to locate appropriate information sources for both reference and information literacy instruction to assist patrons’ basic information needs (e.g., locating a book on the shelves);
  7.     Recognize the organizational structure of information in libraries using classification tools such as the Dewey Decimal System, the Library of Congress Classification, Scheme, and Book Industry Subject Headings (BISAC).

Public Services (Day 2)

An introduction to public services in libraries. This section covers access policies and procedures, collection management, customer service, and public relations.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1.     Explain the role and philosophy of public services in a library environment, the differences in public services among different types of libraries, and the library assistant’s role in providing these services;
  2.     Describe how the library assistant provides access to library resources while protecting patrons’ privacy;
  3.     Provide information on the various types of collections found in libraries and the library assistant’s role in providing access to these resources through organization, maintenance, distribution, and security services;
  4.     Summarize the various aspects of customer service in the library setting, including Circulation Desk management, conflict resolution, and patron security;
  5.     Explain aspects of library public relations including displays, marketing, and space management.

Technical Services (Day 3)

An introduction to technical services in libraries. This section covers technical services policies and procedures, also technical components of general utility across the library.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1.     Explain the relationship of technical services to the library as a whole and to the library's mission;
  2.     Describe the overall process for obtaining resources for the library's collections, and variations on that general process;
  3.     Describe the physical parts of a book and of other tangible resources acquired by libraries;
  4.     Identify various tools and standards used to create catalog records for library resources;
  5.     Match library records to their corresponding resources, through basic knowledge of the MARC record an analyzing the information recorded there;
  6.     Describe the steps involved in physically preparing library resources for inclusion in its collections.


There are no materials required to be collected in advance of the first program.  All required materials will be distributed at each session.

Upcoming Programs

The cost for the program is $215 for NYLA Members and $255 for NON-NYLA Members.

There are two scholarships available for this program for diverse applicants – contact for details. All materials and lunch each day are included in the registration fee.

Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
New dates TBD.

LSA @ Suffolk Cooperative Library System - POSTPONED

Central New York Library Resource Council, East Syracuse, NY
Thursday, Ocotber 8, 2020
Thursday, Ocotber 15, 2020
Thursday, Ocotber 22, 2020


Library Skills Academy Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship

This scholarship is intended for individuals who have been historically marginalized or excluded due to race, gender identity and expression, or sexual orientation. This scholarship covers the full registration fee for the Library Skills Academy; travel and lodging are not included. Applications are due 4 weeks prior to the start of the intended Library Skills Academy and you will be informed of your acceptance 2 week prior.

Interested in bringing the LSA to your local library system?

Previous Offerings


Penfield Public Library, Penfield, NY - October 2019
Clinton Essex Franklin Library System, Plattsburgh, NY -  October 2019
Warner Library, Tarrytown, NY - May 2019
New York Library Association HQ, Guilderland, NY - June 2018
Ramapo Catskill Library System, Middletown, NY - October 2017
Ossining Public Library, Ossining, NY - September 2016
Clinton Essex Franklin Library System, Plattsburgh, NY - September 2016
Western New York Library Resource Council, Cheektowaga NY - May 2016
Pioneer Library System, Canandaigua, NY - May 2015
Ramapo Catskill Library System, Middletown, NY - March 2015
Ramapo Catskill Library System, Middletown, NY - September 2014
Mid-Hudson Library System, Poughkeepsie, NY- January 2014
Upper Hudson Library System, Albany, NY- January 2014
Westchester Community College- September 2012
Onondaga Community College- June 2012
Nassau Community College- May 2012
SUNY Albany- March 2012
Genesee Community College- October 2011



Membership in NYLA: NYLA offers a Para Librarians Round Table: To support the networking and professional development of those who work in the library community, in a paraprofessional capacity, and to assist in advancing NYLA's mission.  Participating in this round table is available to all NYLA members.  NYLA also offers a Library Assistant / Support Staff membership for just $25 per year.