Paraprofessionals in Libraries
Compiled by Marie F. Jones
|Volume 56 Number 4
This edition of our webliography focuses on those essential people who work in our libraries, variously named support staff, paraprofessionals, or non-librarians. I hope that these resources are helpful, both for those who work in those positions and for those who hire and supervise those individuals.
Newsletters, Listservs and Online Communities
Newsletter of the ALA-APA. See below for more information on this organization. The newsletter not only provides news of the organization, but also features articles about work and life in libraries, pay equity, recruitment, HR practice, and career advancement.
Associates: The Electronic Library Support Staff Journal
This e-zine, founded in 1994, is a "forum for and about support staff issues," published three times per year. The reason for naming the journal Associates gives a sense of the philosophy behind the journal: "We chose ... [the term] associates because we wanted a title that was descriptive of "our" work, not our work in relation to others. This is not to say we don't like librarians [but rather] ... we are associated with others who perform library work, not supporters of, or those who work around, those who do library work."
Listserv "aimed at but not limited to paraprofessional staff." List topics include a wide variety of work and library-related issues.
"An online community where library staff can share ideas, solve problems, take online courses, have fun!" Includes Crossroads newsletter, Blog Junction, and a public Wiki space.
A nonprofit professional organization established “to promote the mutual professional interests of librarians and other library workers.” To that end, the ALA-APA is focused on two broad areas: 1) Certification of individuals in specializations beyond the initial professional degree. 2) Direct support of comparable worth and pay equity initiatives, and other activities designed to improve the salaries and status of librarians and other library workers."The ALA-APA is a companion organization to the American Library Association (ALA).
Special rates for ALA membership are available to support staff. See http://www.ala.org/ala/ourassociation/membership/librarysupportstaffmembership/LSSMembershipMain.htm for information on this category of ALA membership.
LSSIRT (Library Support Staff Interest Round Table of the ALA)
With a mission "to provide an arena within ALA for programming, communication and networking for library support staff," LSSIRT is an active organization within ALA for library support staff. They are currently working on the Library Support Staff Certification Project, which is a program to create national certification program for staff. Among the resources offered is a National Directory of Library Paraprofessional Organizations, which includes state organizations from around the country.
COLT (Council on Library/Media Technicians)
An international organization which works to address the issues and concerns of library and media support staff personnel. Of interest to the organization are issues such as technical education, continuing education, certification, job description uniformity, "and the more elusive goals of gaining recognition and respect for the very professional work that we do." Colt also maintains a list of U.S. library technicians programs. While there are no programs listed in Tennessee, many offer online courses and programs.
ALA Reports and Documents related to Paraprofessionals
This page provides links to a variety of ALA resources on the topic of paraprofessionals in libraries. The following position papers are listed on this page:
American Libraries (March 2005) Cover Story: "Are You the Librarian? The face of quality library service depends on drawing a wider circle in our profession." Jennifer Kutzik. Infotrac full-text link.
In addition to this selected list of education resources, be sure to check appropriate organizations in your library specialty area. For example, ALCTS offers continuing education opportunities for those who work in acquisitions and technical services. Also, don't forget that our regional universities and colleges may offer courses of interest.
Linda Slusar and Bernard Franklin of College of DuPage developed this teleconference series that provides covers innovative topics in libraries, relevant to all of us who work in libraries. Each year, the series focuses on a different theme. For 2007, the theme is "Library 2.0 and Beyond." The series is now in its 13th year.
In addition to creating an online community for library staff (see above), Web Junction maintains an extensive list of library staff training and continuing education resources.
For school library media specialists, ALA's American Association of School Librarians offers e-learning opportunities.