Today's guest post is from Sylvia Bowers who has worked at the Baker County Library District for 7 years. She manages the magazine and newspaper collections for the main library, branches & bookmobile. She also works on the circulation desk, processes books and helps with interlibrary loan. "It's a wonderful job and I love it!" she says. She started the LSSC program in January 2010, and is partway through her fourth class.
I am about 1 ½ years and 3 ½ competencies into the Library Support Staff Certification process. We all know that growth and change are challenging, sometimes difficult and often exciting. I decided to begin the LSSC program because after having worked at my library for 6 years, I felt there were fundamental gaps in my understanding of what libraries were all about (mission) that I wanted to fill, and I wanted to gain library-specific skills that would help me do my job better, such as helping a patron with a reference question. It was time for me to find a way to grow and learn and change.
Even though the LSSC program is very flexible in allowing you to choose your own path - portfolios or classes - I’ve chosen to take classes exclusively. This works really well for me because it keeps me on a schedule and keeps me focused. I’ve completed three classes and am in the middle of the fourth one right now. I really enjoy the online learning experience. I’ve taken “Reference” from Infopeople, “Communication, Teamwork and Decisionmaking” from Fresno Pacific University, “Library Technology” from Northern Kentucky University and am currently taking “Foundations of Library Services” also from Northern Kentucky University. Each class has provided a balance between practical skills I can use every day and foundational knowledge about the library profession.
The benefits I’ve experienced from pursuing certification have been numerous.
I have gained new, useful skills. I have met many other library support staff throughout Oregon I wouldn’t have otherwise met, because I’ve been inspired to participate in OLA’s Support Staff Division and attend library conferences. I have gained the confidence to say “yes” to new experiences, such as public speaking and serving on committees. And I do feel like I can do my job better.
I want to continue learning and growing, and meeting new people. It is hard to add a new commitment to an already full schedule, but I am confident that my time doing the LSSC program is well spent and that support staff certification will be valuable to myself and to the library profession as well. I want to encourage others to at least consider it and it would be encourage to interact with others through this blog. My guess is that you also are finding it challenging, but loving it at the same time. If you want more information about the LSSC program you can go to www.ala-apa.org and click on the link for LSSC.