Responding to Challenges: the Training and Educating of the information professional for the next millenium
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“… in most fields the issue of the professional competence and qualification of individuals is viewed as an integral part of the quality assurance of organisations and the services that they provide.” This view has long been embraced within the librarianship profession. Librarians and information professionals have a strong culture of responding to new opportunities in professional development to ensure that their skills meet the continually changing environments in which they work. This is illustrated by initiatives such as the Library Associations programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Masters programmes for librarians entering management positions, increased availability of qualifications and training for paraprofessional staff and the adoption of the government instituted system of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SNVQs). Two further initiatives have been undertaken as a response to concern about the pace of change and the importance of sustaining an adequately skilled professional workforce. Firstly, the Library and Information Studies Training and Education Network (LISTEN), is working with employers, the profession and educational institutions to identify, CPD and post-qualification competencies required when staff have been in post for several or more years. Secondly, the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) which aims to accelerate the development and uptake of the ‘electronic library’ has recognised the need for CPD and has funded a number of training and awareness projects including EduLib. This paper will examine the role, education and training of information professionals from two distinct points of view. First the paper will concentrate on initial undergraduate training which students receive at an established Department of Library and Information Studies — with particular regard to the training and education of business information in order to prepare students for the global business world. The second part of the paper will deal with an aspect of continuing professional development for which there is an increasing demand in academic libraries — teaching skills for librarians. The paper will focus on EduLib — a development project which aims to provide a nationally recognised and accredited network of trainers in academic libraries.
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