VIRTUAL Library Skills Academy
Six-Week Virtual Online Course
This 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 program without missing a session.
Session I: Introduction
An introduction to libraries and library services. 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.
- Understand the history of libraries and the profession’s ever-evolving complexity;
- Understand core principles of library service and the place of libraries in a democratic society;
- Have a working knowledge of major library types - public, academic, school, special;
- Have a working knowledge of major functional areas of library work - circulation, reference, technical services, etc.;
- Have a working knowledge of the various jobs and roles in library work;
- Achieve an overall understanding of libraries and library services in order to provide context for the other components of the course.
Session II: Reference Services
This component of the training program is an introduction to reference and information services in libraries. Topics include the reference interview, changing nature of reference services, the definition of reference and reference work, active listening, technologies for completing reference work, information literacy, information organization and information-seeking skills. The role of the library assistant in this aspect of library service is explored.
- Discuss the nature, function, and organization of reference and information services and sources in different type libraries and information centers;
- Develop an awareness of current and emerging trends in reference sources and services (e.g., chat reference, “roving reference,” print vs electronic resources);
- Grasp the concept of and practice the “Reference Interview” and the Assistant’s role in providing reference service;
- Understand the multitude of perspectives of library users and how to address them in the reference interview;
- Identify and access multiple reference tools to answer reference questions;
- Evaluate information online and employ methods to teach information literacy to library users.
Session III: Public / Customer Service
An introduction to public services in libraries. This section covers access policies and procedures, collection management, customer service, and public relations.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Summarize the various aspects of customer service in the library setting, including Circulation Desk management, conflict resolution, and patron security;
- 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;
- Describe how the library assistant provides access to library resources while protecting patrons’ privacy;
- Understand the critical role of technology in serving patrons.
Session VI: Technical Services
What is library Technical Services and how does it fit into the overall library set-up? This session will provide background information on the basics of “tech services” including structure and non-cataloging responsibilities for this area of library services.
- Explain the relationship of technical services to the library as a whole and to the library's mission;
- Describe the overall process for obtaining resources for the library's collections, and variations on that general process;
- Describe the physical parts of a book and of other tangible resources acquired by libraries.
Session V: The Library in Your Community
An introduction to public services in libraries. This section covers the intersection of the library and the community it serves.
- Upstanding the various stakeholders of a library;
- Organizational structure and how that interfaces with the community;
- How library funding and budgets are interconnected with the community.
Session VI: Outreach, Promotions, and Advocacy
An introduction to how libraries get the word out and engage their community.
- Understanding of outreach, community engagement, and partnerships;
- Working strategies for displays and signage;
- Understanding of the role of public relations, social media, and community reports;
- The importance of advocacy: legislative, local government, and every day.
There are no materials required to be collected in advance of the first program. All required materials will be distributed at each session.
Upcoming Program Session
The cost for the program is $180 for NYLA Members and $220 for NON-NYLA Members.
Fall 2023 Schedule
TUESDAYS - 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
- October 3rd - Introduction
- October 10th - Reference Services
- October 17th - Public/Customer Services
- October 24th - Technical Services
- November 14th - The Library & Your Community
- November 21st - Outreach, Promotions, and Advocacy
All registration is submitted online (even those paying by check or purchase order). All attendees will receive Zoom information for all sessions by close of business of October 2nd, 2023. Log-in to your NYLA account to access member pricing.
Historic Offerings of the LSA
VIRTUAL Library Skills Academy (all online) - January 2021
Penfield Public Library, Penfield, NY - October 2019
Warner Public Library, Tarrytown, NY - May 2019
MidYork Library System, Utica, NY - March 2019
NYLA 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 Resources 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