Perceptions of Education and Continuing Education in Technical Services Librarianship

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Perceptions of Education and Continuing Education in Technical Services Librarianship

  1. 1. Perceptions ofEducation and Continuing Education in Technical Services Librarianship Heather Lea Moulaison, PhD Assistant Professor School of Information Science & Learning Technologies University of Missouri Shilpa Rele Digital Program Librarian Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA 1
  2. 2. Research questions• RQ1: How adequate is LIS education, both theoretically and practically, for work in technical services?• RQ2: To what extent do librarians working in technical services feel the need for continuing education?Technical services librarians are professional librariansworking in acquisitions, cataloging, digital collections,metadata, serials, or any position that identifies itself astechnical services librarianship. Survey responses will serve as the basis for exploring the research questions in this presentation.H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 2Moulaison: @libacat
  3. 3. Agenda• Review of the literature• Methodology• Results• Discussion• Further studyH. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 3Moulaison: @libacat
  4. 4. Literature ReviewEducation in Technical Services (TS)• LIS education will not address all education and training needs of librarians (Hill, 2007)• Need to address competency gaps for present and future librarians (Fessler, 2007)• Increasing amount of knowledge to be gained by practicing TS librarians to enhance skill set (Hill, 2007)• TS librarians need to be self-motivated, flexible and willing to learn (Han & Hswe, 2010)In Organization of Information in particular:• Need for catalogers is felt even more today as catalogers’ skills are used to develop digital repositories (Cerbo, 2011)H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 4Moulaison: @libacat
  5. 5. Literature Review, Cont.Continuing Education in Technical Services• Paucity of literature in this area in TS• Increasingly important “as changing technology and emerging metadata standards keep adding required skills and responsibilities in managing the ever-increasing volume of digital resources” (Park, Tosaka, Maszaros, & Lu, 2010)The role of workshops, conferences, webinars, etc. in acquiring newprofessional knowledge• F2F means (workshops and conferences) are the most popular for continuing education and training opportunities (Park, et al., 2010) – shrinking budgets and/or lack support from employer also make online options popular (Park, et al., 2010)• Need for more specific, hands-on training for practical implementations of metadata project management and quality control (Park, et al., 2010)H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 5Moulaison: @libacat
  6. 6. Current Study: Methodology• 28 survey questions for Technical Services (TS) librarians – In Qualtrics survey software – Questions included: • Information on respondent demographics (age, years in libraries, job title, etc.) • Open-ended and multiple choice questions about education and continuing education – Survey open July 14-31, 2011 – Link to survey posted to 18 library-related email lists – All survey responses received anonymously.H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 6Moulaison: @libacat
  7. 7. Survey Findings Demographics 7
  8. 8. Age group and gender of respondents Age group (n=700) Gender (n=700)250 229 104;200 15% 157 155150 Male 596; Female100 91 85% 68 50 0 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61+H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 8Moulaison: @libacat
  9. 9. Tenure as a Technical Services librarian200 182180160 137140120 106 104100 80 71 60 47 40 35 20 0 less than 1-2 years 3-5 years 6-10 years 11-15 16-20 over 20 one year years years yearsH. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 10Moulaison: @libacat
  10. 10. Current role(s) in Technical Services librarianship 500 457 450 400 350 300 241 250 201 212 200 150 150 129 100 50 0H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 11Moulaison: @libacat
  11. 11. Kind of library, information center, cultural heritage institution, where employed (multiple responses permitted)500 443450400350300250200150 124 99100 52 50 29 22 29 0 Archives Academic Museum Public Research Special Other library or cultural library library library heritage institutionH. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 12Moulaison: @libacat
  12. 12. Survey FindingsPerceptions of Respondents: Education 13
  13. 13. Skills to succeed when starting out? Open ended question: When you began working in a professional-level position in a library, did you have adequate technical skills (computer skills, technical library skills like facility with metadata, skills with software, etc.) to succeed? Postive responses 436 100 32 13 LIS Ed., with or without further on-the-job training Para-prof. experienceNegative responses 89 PT library experience Non-library experience Neutral responses 14 or training 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 14 Moulaison: @libacat N.B. 16 respondents did not provide usable data.
  14. 14. Skills to succeed when starting out? Open ended question: When you began working in a professional-level position in a library, did you have adequate technical skills (computer skills, technical library skills like facility with metadata, skills with software, etc.) to succeed? 83% (n=581) of respondents say they had the skills to succeed Postive responses 436 100 32 13 LIS Ed., with or without further on-the-job training 13% (n=89) Para-prof. experienceNegative responses 89 responded in the PT library experience negative Non-library experience Neutral responses 14 or training 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 15 Moulaison: @libacat N.B. 16 respondents did not provide usable data.
  15. 15. Skills to succeed when starting out? Open ended question: When you began working in a professional-level position in a library, did you have adequate technical skills (computer skills, technical library skills like facility with metadata, skills with software, etc.) to succeed? Postive responses 436 100 32 13 LIS Ed., with or without further on-the-job training 21% (n=145) of Para-prof. experienceNegative responses 89 respondents attribute acquisition PT library experience of these skills to something other Non-library experience Neutral responses 14 than LIS coursework or training 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 16 Moulaison: @libacat N.B. 16 respondents did not provide usable data.
  16. 16. Perceptions of skills• LIS Ed: Yes or qualified yes (n=436; 62.3%) – yes, although I did have to learn some details along the way. I feel that I learned the basics well enough so that I could look things up and find answers when I need to. – Yes, although much of the specifics of acquisitions work was learned on the job. – Yes, but barely. – I had adequate skills to take advantage of on the job training. No amount of course work will replace this, and no graduate without hands-on real-world experience will ever be attractive to employers.• No or negative approach to responding (n=89; 12.7%) – Of course not – Zero. I started with absolutely no preparation in cataloging or archival description. My MIS is totally useless. We did have a cursory reading of AACR2. – I had some skills, but the basic skills needed to Technical Services on my own, no.• Neutral, “yes and no”, somewhat (n=14; 2.0%) – Yes and no - I wish I had more time in library school to take more of the courses that were offered. – yes to the computer skills, but no to the library skillsH. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 17Moulaison: @libacat
  17. 17. Positive perceptions of skills, primarily citing reasons outside LIS education• Yes: Paraprofessional-level work (n=100, 14.3%) – yes but I was lucky enough to get a lot of practical/hands on experience while working FT at a library in this area while I was going to Library School PT. Without that experience, the answer would have been no.• Yes: Part time library experience (as a student, etc.) (n=32, 4.6%) – Technical skills were not gained via library school but as a graduate assistant in the library, on-the-job training, and various library and non-library professional development opportunities.• Yes: Experience outside library world (n=13, 1.9%) – I recieved a theoretical basis for cataloging in library school, and a general understanding of the functions in Tech Services, but I did not really gain any practical knowledge from library school. Most of my technical skills came from my work in publishing. – I had learned more about business and handling monetary accounts from my experience working in a bank in NYC. The cataloging coursework I did in library school was an excellent start in that area. However, my expertise in acquisitions was gained through experience.H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 18Moulaison: @libacat
  18. 18. Knowledge to succeed when starting out? Open ended question: Did you have an adequate theoretical foundation in TS librarianship to succeed? (Did you understand the “why”?) Please explain. Postive responses 467 88 24 4 LIS Ed., with or without further on- the-job trainingNegative responses 68 Para-professional experience Part time library experience Neutral responses 11 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 19Moulaison: @libacat N.B. 38 respondents did not provide usable data.
  19. 19. Knowledge to succeed when starting out? Open ended question: Did you have an adequate theoretical foundation in TS librarianship to succeed? (Did you understand the “why”?) Please explain. 83.2% (n=583) responded positively to the question of having an adequate theoretical foundation Postive responses 467 88 24 4 LIS Ed., with or Less than a without further on- tenth (9.7%; the-job trainingNegative responses 68 n=68) did Para-professional not feel they experience had the theoretical Part time library foundation experience Neutral responses 11 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 20Moulaison: @libacat N.B. 38 respondents did not provide usable data.
  20. 20. Knowledge to succeed when starting out? Open ended question: Did you have an adequate theoretical foundation in TS librarianship to succeed? (Did you understand the “why”?) Please explain. Postive responses 467 88 24 4 LIS Ed., with or without further on- 23.7% (n=166) attributed the-job trainingNegative responses 68 the knowledge of theory Para-professional to something other than experience LIS education Part time library experience Neutral responses 11 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 21Moulaison: @libacat N.B. 38 respondents did not provide usable data.
  21. 21. Perceptions of knowledge• LIS Ed: Yes or qualified yes (n=467, 66.7%) – Yes. I had an excellent cataloguing professor who covered both the theoretical and practical bases of the practice. – Yes, in fact I believe my theoretical knowledge was greater than my practical knowledge. – Yes, and that is the value of the MLS. – Yes- I have always felt my libray classes gave me the ability to see the big picture and how the departments work together. – Yes I understood the theoretical foundation. That part was never the problem. – Yes, In my opinion, too much theory, not e enough "real" world• No or negative approach to responding (n=68, 9.7%) – not really. would have been nice to have some specific work flow education, management of others, and more work with OCLC• Neutral, “yes and no”, somewhat (n=11, 1.6%) – More or less – To some extent. Understood principles of classification and motivation for serviceH. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 22Moulaison: @libacat
  22. 22. Perceptions of knowledge, citing reasons outside LIS education• Yes: Paraprofessional-level work (n=88, 12.6%) – I developed this knowledge in the para-professional position I held while working on my MLS.• Yes: Part time library experience (as a student, etc.) (n=24, 3.4%) – Yes. I am not sure if I understood the "why" from my LIS coursework, or rather from my student job in the technical services department of the library.• Yes: Experience outside library world (n=4, 0.6%) – Yes, but it didnt come from LIS coursework; it came from doing an undergraduate thesis.H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 23Moulaison: @libacat
  23. 23. Perceived ease in learning additional necessary skills 200 Likert-type scale. How easy has it been to learn additional necessary skills? 180 160 140 120 Frequency 100 80 60 40 20 0 Very Difficult Difficult Somewhat Difficult Neutral Somewhat Easy Easy Very EasyH. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 24Moulaison: @libacat
  24. 24. Positive/Negative Skills upon first professional position and self-reported Ease to Learn New Skills Self-Reported Ease to Learn New Skills (as a %) 26% 27% 27% 26% 16% 17% 18% % Positive Skills 14% (n=579) 11% 7% % Negative Skills 3% 4% (n=89) 2% 1%Those who & S. Rele H. L. Moulaison responded positively about their skills were a little more positive about 25learning @libacat Moulaison: new skills. Negative respondents were slightly more negative.
  25. 25. Positive/Negative Knowledge upon first professional position and self-reported Ease to Learn New Skills Self-Reported Ease To Learn New Skills (as a %) 29% 28% 26% 21% 22% % Positive Knowledge 16% 14% (n=582) 10% 11% 10% % Negative Knowledge 4% (n=68) 3% 2% 3% OVERALL (n=699)Those who responded positively about their knowledge were a little more positiveabout learning new skills. Negative respondents were slightly more negative. 26
  26. 26. Skills attributed to LIS Ed. or Other upon first professional position and self-reported Ease to Learn New Skills Self-Reported Ease To Learn New Skills (as a %) % LIS Ed. (stated or implied, positive or negative or neutral) (n=538) % Para or PT worker or Other Ed. Skills (n=145)Those who specifically went out of their way to mention something other than LISH. L. Moulaison & S. providing them with skills were a little more positive about the ease ofeducation as Rele 27Moulaison: @libacatskills.learning new
  27. 27. Knowledge attributed to LIS Ed. or Other upon first professional position and self-reported Ease to Learn New Skills Self-Reported Ease To Learn New Skills (as a %) 28% 27% 25% 27% % LIS Ed. (stated or implied, positive, neutral, 18% 15% 15% or negative) (n=546) 11% 13% 10% % Para or PT worker or 3% 3% 3% Other Ed. Knowledge 2% (n=115)Those who specifically went out of their way to mention something other than LISH. L. Moulaison & S. providing them with knowledge were a little more positive about theeducation as Rele 28Moulaison: @libacatease of learning new skills.
  28. 28. Survey FindingsContinuing Education Opportunities 30
  29. 29. Continuing Education: Paid (or cost-inducing) continuing education opportunities sought out in the past year 600 500 481 400 348 300 200 186 100 53 57 46 0 Paid face-to-face Paid training (gen) Paid webinars (lib) Paid webinars (gen) Physical un/conference Paid virtual participation training (lib) in online/hybrid conferences.H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 31Moulaison: @libacat
  30. 30. Continuing Education: Free continuing education opportunities sought out in the past year 500 442 450 400 350 300 250 200 178 176 150 122 117 100 87 43 50 20 24 0H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 32Moulaison: @libacat
  31. 31. Top C.E. opportunities as reported by respondents• Physical un/conference (paid) (n=481, 68.7%)• Webinars, on library topics (free) (n=442, 63.1%)• Webinars, on library topics (paid) (n=382, 54.6%)• F2F training, on library topics (paid) (n=186, 26.6%)• F2F training, on library topics (free) (n=178, 25.4%)• Webinars, on gen. topics (free) (n=176, 25.1%)H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 33Moulaison: @libacat
  32. 32. Research Question 1• RQ1: How adequate is LIS education, both theoretically and practically, for work in technical services?• A: Based on survey responses, we feel it is adequate. – A majority of respondents (83% for both) give positive responses when asked about their skills and theoretical knowledge upon beginning their first professional position. • Caveat: no way of knowing how representative this is of all LIS grads, since this is a self-selecting group of employed librarians engaged enough to read email distribution lists and take the time to respond when there was no incentive to do so.H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 34Moulaison: @libacat
  33. 33. Discussion• Technical Services might be said to perpetuate an apprenticeship model in education (especially in cataloging). – Emphasis by some respondents on movement through the ranks to professional via the MLIS – Notion by some paraprofessionals-turned-MLIS that the degree was only for “credentialing”; other respondents felt there is no theory in TS librarianship • “I didnt start out as a technical services librarian. I would argue that one doesnt really -need- much of a theoretical foundation. Witness most of the paraprofessionals out there.” – Importance of teachers and mentors to learning knowledge and skills • “Yes, I had one of the most incredibly talented faculty teaching one of the Masters courses I took. She was very demanding and I learned more in her one class than I did in nearly all of the other courses I had for that degree.” • “Yes, very much so. My cataloging and metadata teacher was excellent and did a very good job explaining the why as well as providing practical examples to work from.”H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 35Moulaison: @libacat
  34. 34. Importance of teachers and mentorsFrom the question about Knowledge:• “Yes, I had one of the most incredibly talented faculty teaching one of the Masters courses I took. She was very demanding and I learned more in her one class than I did in nearly all of the other courses I had for that degree.”• “Yes, very much so. My cataloging and metadata teacher was excellent and did a very good job explaining the why as well as providing practical examples to work from.”• “Yes. My first cataloguing class was with ----, a leader in the field, using Margaret Manns Introduction to cataloging and the classification of books. A firm foundation I find recent graduates lack.”• “Yes. I had an excellent cataloguing professor who covered both the theoretical and practical bases of the practice.”• “Had an excellent mentor”Suggests the importance of choice of instructor when offering courses in TS and the importance of supportiveand approachable professional TS librarians in administrative or senior librarian roles.• Does the reliance on instructors and mentors splinter T S from the rest of library services or limitits development at this crucial time? – Are mentors truly able to guide new hires/paraprofessionals into the future or do they focus on daily operations and the past? – Is the paraprofessional-to-Cataloger a good model given the difference in the kinds of work the two are expected to carry out?H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 36Moulaison: @libacat
  35. 35. Research Question 2• RQ2: To what extent do librarians working in technical services feel the need for continuing education?• A: The vast majority of respondents (n=657, 93.9%) invest their time and resources in diverse continuing education opportunitiesH. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 37Moulaison: @libacat
  36. 36. Discussion• The point of view (library v. general) of the C.E. option was more important than its status as free or paid. – Library approaches were at the top of the list indicating they are the most valued• In-person conferences (paid) were the most common C.E. option. – There is a need for webinars (very popular with respondents) – Is there also a need for F2F interaction, networking, (commiserating?), etc. during C.E. functions?• Very few respondents (n=43, 6.1%) reported not engaging in any continuing education in the prior year. – TS librarians who are active and involved enough to read email distribution lists and to answer surveys online are generally also seeking out continuing education opportunities.H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 38Moulaison: @libacat
  37. 37. Conclusions• Instruction of TS classes will, at present, ideally be assigned to instructors willing and able to assist students in gaining positive mentorship in TS• LIS programs might consider setting somewhat high minimum requirements on technical skills for incoming students. This would allow TS instructors to focus more class time on library- specific knowledge.• F2F remains worthy of investment when it comes to C.E. opportunities.H. L. Moulaison & S. Rele 39Moulaison: @libacat
  38. 38. Further study• Exploration of the idea of an apprenticeship model for education in TS – Is it real? – If so, what are the benefits/drawbacks in modern librarianship? – Does an apprenticeship model negatively affect the nimbleness of TS departments?• Analysis of the skills and aptitudes needed by TS librarians – Where might library schools recruit students with those skills and aptitudes? – Are libraries the best places to seek LIS students?• Assessment of the relationship between online LIS education and student success in terms of knowledge and skills• Inventory of initiatives taken by new graduates to gain technical or specific skills prior to landing their first professional position• Analysis of types of continuing education opportunities that are needed – Revisit the Park et al. finding about the popularity of webinars – Comparison with those being sought out (in traditional and digital environments) to identify gaps• Exploration of ways to make webinars and other distance C.E. opportunities as valuable as in-person conference experiences. Thank you. Heather Lea Moulaison (moulaisonhe@missouri.edu)H. L. Moulaison & S. ReleMoulaison: @libacat Shilpa Rele (srele@lmu.edu) 40

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