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AALS/Continuing Education Committee Resolution

At its January 1978 convention, the membership of the Association of American Library Schools approved the following resolution on the recommendation of the Continuing Education Committee:

WHEREAS high quality library service requires a high quality staff that is continually growing and changing as the nature of library operations and librarianship changes, and WHEREAS accomplishment of the goals of libraries requires a growing staff, and WHEREAS the lack of organizational support has been demonstrated to inhibit staff development, while recognizing that the individual has the primary responsibility for his/her own career development,

THEREFORE, the Association of American Library Schools calls on all library bodies involved in the establishment of library standards to include a forthright statement acknowledging a library responsibility for staff development.

In brief, the position is as follows. Considering the rapid changes now occurring in libraries, staff development and continuing education programs are imperative if a library is to maintain adequate service. Initial preparation through formal education and orientation programs is not sufficient to maintain adequate staff competency. The ALA statement of policy, “Library Education and Personnel Utilization,” in recognition of this fact, states, “Library administrators must accept responsibility for providing support and opportunities (in the form of leaves, sabbaticals, and released time) for the continued education of their staffs. ”

While library personnel retain the primary responsibility for their own career development, libraries have a vested interest in assuring continued staff competency. Research into continued education for librarians has demonstrated that administrative support is a necessary factor in assuming adequate staff development. (See the following publications of Elizabeth W. Stone: Factors Related to the Professional Development of Librarians [Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1969]; and “Administrators Fiddle While Employees Bum—or Flee,” ALA Bulletin, 63 [February, 1969], p. 182-83.)

Just as libraries invest substantially in collection development, they must also invest in staff development if they are to provide quality service. It should be kept in mind that most libraries spend two to four times as much money on personnel as on the collection. Like all laborintensive organizations, libraries must pay particular attention to maintaining and developing their human resources if they are to assure high performance.

Given that rationale, AALS believes that every type of library standard should include a forthright statement acknowledging as necessary the library’s financial support for staff development. The following statement might be used as a point of departure for drafting such a standard: “The library shall provide support, financial and otherwise, at least sufficient to assure that the staff at all levels maintains currency as library philosophy, services, programs, and technology change.”

For further information, contact M. P. Marchant, School of Library and Information Science, Brigham Young University (AALS Continuing Education Committee), Provo, UT 84602.

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