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Professional Development for Youth Services Library Staff

Professional development is essential to learn new skills and keep up with trends in libraries and technology. It can be tough to attend conferences and take courses and workshops, though, with a tight budget for registrations, not to mention travel. Here are some ideas for ways to keep up with professional development with limited funds.


Keep up with professional literature using these sources as a start:

  • The State Library has a great professional development collection for librarians, including books, videos, and journals, and all are available to you through interlibrary loan, free of charge! Check out our catalog.
  • The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) offers a variety of publications and Internet 2.0 communication tools to support librarians in their daily work and to keep them connected with their colleagues.

Colorado Learning Opportunities

  • Library Education Opportunities (LEO) is a continuing education calendar for Colorado libraries featuring in person and online training and conferences.
  • Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) offers a range of online and in person training.

Online Courses and Workshops

Online professional development offers a convenient way to learn without having to travel. Even though some of the options listed here do have a fee, you’ll be saving travel dollars.

This list is provided for information only; the State Library does not endorse these programs.

Free Online Opportunities

SABLE Courses

A program developed to help library staff members who have no formal education in library science to acquire the basic knowledge and skills needed to operate or work in a library. While these courses are part of a larger CE program in Idaho, anyone may access the online tutorials. The sequence for Youth Services staff includes Early Childhood Services, Services to School Age Children, and Young Adult Services.

Learning 2.0

The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) created this guided, self-paced project to encourage staff to learn about new technologies like blogs, wikis, podcasts, and more. While only PLCMC staff are eligible for the incentives, library staff everywhere are welcome to participate.

Online Programming for All Libraries (OPAL)

An international collaborative effort by libraries of all types to provide interactive, Web-based programs and training for library users and library staff members. Program topics are wide-ranging but do include youth services topics, including a 2007 program from YALSA on Teen Tech Week. Many past programs are archived.


An ongoing forum for professional development in the library community. The organization provides free, online access to industry-leading speakers and events through webinars, both live and archived. The web site also provides a newsletter and other timely resources. Program topics are wide-ranging but do include youth services topics. Many past programs are archived.


An online community for library staff nationwide, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and associated with OCLC. Bulletin boards, pathfinders, articles, and other resources are provided. Online courses are available, some for free but most for a fee.
Free resources - Courses (scroll to Library Services)

YALSA Professional Development Center

Many articles, resources, staff spotlights, tip sheets, and more on serving young adults. There are also competencies for librarians serving young adults.

Booklist Webinars

Live and archived webinars on a range of topics, including many youth services issues.

Fee-Based Opportunities

ALA Online Learning

A variety of web-based courses, including youth services topics. Fees vary with course length and topic.

Amigos Continuing Education

A large selection of self-paced and instructor-led online courses. Options include a few youth services topics.

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)

ALSC offers online courses ranging from 4 to 6 weeks on a variety of timely topics.

Lifelong Education @ Desktop (LE@D)

A variety of topics are available, including youth services.

Simmons College Graduate School of LIS Online Workshops

Online workshops on a variety of topics with an emphasis on technology, children’s, and young adult topics.

U. of Wisconsin-Madison School of LIS Continuing Ed.

A variety of online courses of different lengths. Current topics include graphic novels, core elements of children’s services, and YA services and literature. Fees vary with course length.

YALSA Online Learning

YALSA provides online continuing education opportunities to enhance the skills and knowledge of young adult librarians and library workers who serve teens.

Internal and Cooperative Teaching

  • Arrange for staff, volunteers, and community members with relevant skills to teach other staff and volunteers. This sharing of skills and experience can include a storytelling technique, new online tool, customer service best practices, or anything else relevant. This could be done during a once or twice a month brown bag lunch, for instance.
  • Take this idea a step further and work with neighboring libraries to do the same thing.

Return to: Library Development Services

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