Librarians have far more responsibilities than many people actually realize. The fact is that being a librarian involves a lot more than just putting books on shelves and making sure that the library is used properly. Everything from a good working knowledge of technology to strong people skills are needed to thrive in these positions. That’s why for many the training never ends.
There are always new skills to learn and new abilities to master, and that’s why so many librarians continue to utilize online courses to boost their overall knowledge.
It’s important to continue utilizing educational resources to boost your education. And there are numerous online resources out there that offer online training and education without charging you a dime. While most of these aren’t going to award you a degree, they’re vital for enhancing your overall level of knowledge and making sure that you get the best possible skills to thrive as a librarian.
Here are some of the best free online courses for librarians to use.
- Idaho State Library ABLE – The Alternative Basic Library Education program offers online tutorials for free that cover all basic library related skills.
- Library of Congress Professional Development Workshops – These online modules are offered by the most famous library in the country and cover a wide range of different topics. Possible courses to choose from include: primary sources, basic technology, and more.
- Library of Congress Webcasts – These are an additional option that is basically short seminars on different topics that librarians will find informative, interesting, and useful.
- ALA’s Advocacy Training: Communication 101 – Offered by the ALA, this program helps to boost one’s ability to effectively communicate with patrons as needed, and is important for anyone struggling with the communication side of librarianship.
- Tech Atlas – This site provides free courses so you can learn how to use TechAtlas for technology planning, as well as hardware and software inventory management in your library.
- Utah State Library Cataloging Basics – Here you’ll be able to find a wide range of tutorials and links to information that help provide a solid education on the basics of good, effective cataloging. Since this is one of the most important skills to master in the field, it’s a resource well worth visiting.
- Texas State Small Library Management Program – This site provides a wide range of courses that cover all aspects of librarianship, including closer looks at the skills needed to effectively manage small libraries.
- WebJunction Online Learning Opportunities – There are some fee based courses here, but there are also numerous free programs that offer an education in the field of librarianship that make this site worth a visit.
- OPAL – OPAL is a collaboration by several international libraries that focuses on providing free web based training for library users. It’s a must-see for anyone looking to enter the field as well as for those who are looking to enhance their current skillset. It’s a collection of podcasts that can be listened to on MP3 players or on computers.
- Internet Library For Librarians – This is a free resource available online that helps librarians locate various online information about their field.
- Infopeople – These are free online workshops that include a wide range of different tools including PowerPoint presentations, handouts, worksheets, exercises, and more. There are numerous subjects including computer skills, communication skills, and more.
- University of Wisconsin – Stout – This online university offers some free classes to librarians. You can take classes in how to organize a school library, and how to hone your skills as a media specialist in a variety of libraries.
- Library Support Staff Training – Basically, this is an online resource that links up different information and training materials from various libraries in an ability to help librarians understand more about the field and how to thrive in it.
- Sirsi Dynix – This is a collection of online web seminars that helps to provide references and support to librarians around the country. There are numerous seminars that focus on a wide range of different subjects
- WebJunction – WebJunction is home to numerous free and fee based courses that cover a huge range of different subjects including many that apply to the use of technology in the field.
- USC Beaufort Library Bare Bones to the Internet – This is one of the oldest and one of the best free online training programs that is designed for library employees. It’s also produced by library staff and provides the very best information that you can find, totally for free.
- eLearning Center of the State Library of Ohio – This is an online collection of resources and seminars that are totally free. They’re mainly focused on helping the staff of the State Library of Ohio, but most of the skills and information found there applies to pretty much any library around the world.
- Colorado Libraries – This free web training will provide you with the librarian skills that you need to thrive with Web 2.0. This free librarian class focuses on communication, collaboration, visual communications, personal learning environments, productivity tools and a capstone.
- eduMooc – This site has a series of educational videos on how to make common library materials more accessible.
- Hot Courses – This Website has many free library classes that are of particular use to people who live in the United Kingdom.
- Info People – If you want to sharpen your professional librarian skills, you can take free classes at Info People. These classes are based upon hands on, real world situations in libraries and all classes are tailored to the needs of librarians.
- Library of Congress Catalogers Learning Workshop – The Library of Congress has several free classes that will train you on how to organize and classify bibliographic information.
There are many additional free online resources available that you can use to help you move your level of knowledge forwards. There’s no doubt that mastering the field of librarianship is worth doing, but it does contain many more challenges than most people realize. The sites listed above are good starting points to begin your journey for knowledge, and could help you become a master in this regularly evolving field.
Do you know of other Free online courses librarians & information science types would enjoy? Have you taken a free online course not listed here?