Professional Development

A core service of the Boston Library Consortium (BLC) is to provide appropriate professional development services and opportunities to and for staff at member libraries. Over the consortium’s fifty year history, various committees and taskforces have been responsible for creating these opportunities. In 2018, the BLC’s Board of Directors strengthened support for this service by creating a permanent staff position to enhance and grow the professional development program.

The BLC offers a number of ongoing activities for our membership, including the successful biannual BLC Leads program, monthly webinars, vendor presentations, occasional in person workshops and COI-led events, and our annual Networking Day.

Find more information on each of these initiatives below.

BLC Leads

In June 2016, the BLC Board of Directors voted to increase the focus of the BLC on issues relating to staff development and created a Workforce Development Task Force, made up of members of the AUL/AD Community of Interest. The Task Force finalized plans for a leadership development institute for BLC librarians called BLC Leads. Since 2016, the program has had three cohorts of librarians from member institutions, and is scheduled to run every other year.

Webinars, Workshops, and Member Events

BLC staff works independently and with the COI Co-Chairs to plan a professional development calendar for the academic year. This calendar includes a series of webinars entitled Expanding Knowledge, with topics drawn from membership surveys and meant to provide a basic understanding of specific areas of librarianship, such as licensing or e-resources. Workshops are tailored to the Consortium’s needs, and may range from project management to working with patrons with mental health challenges. 

The BLC also lends its sponsorship to the annual E-Science Symposium, co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts and New England Area Librarians, as well as the Social Sciences Boot Camp

The BLC regularly engages with vendors to provide tailored workshops about products in use or under consideration by the membership.

Our Member Events page is updated regularly with upcoming webinars, workshops, COI meetings, and member events. Materials from past BLC professional development events are available online, including recordings, presentation slides, and other resources here.

Library Juice Academy

BLC member librarians and library staff receive a 20% discount on single courses offered by Library Juice Academy. Please e-mail Mei Mendez for the BLC discount code or to request additional information.

BLC Networking Day

The BLC Networking Day, typically held in the late spring, is an opportunity for all of the BLC member libraries to come together to meet new colleagues, catch up with others, hear news of the BLC's work over the past year, and discuss issues of importance to academic and research libraries.  Networking Day typically includes a series of lightning talks by BLC member libraries focusing on current and emerging initiatives and programs, a keynote speaker, and in-person meetings of all the Communities of Interest.

Professional Development Alliance - Pilot Project

In Summer 2020, the BLC joined seven other multi-type library consortia to explore collaborative efforts towards professional development for staff at our member institutions. As part of this pilot project, which runs from September to December 2020, participating consortia will open attendance to at least one monthly webinar to the other consortia, increasing available professional development opportunities for all. Learn more about the Alliance and its calendar here.

Image from the Brandeis University Archives & Special Collections, Miroslav Krek Papers.