Staff Development and Engagement
The Albert S. Cook Library Staff Development Committee seeks to provide and to promote staff development opportunities, with particular attention to orientation, new technologies, and ongoing staff engagement. Department heads and supervisors work with staff to establish annual staff development goals and to provide cross-training and opportunities for staff to improve their skills and learn new technologies.
The strength of the Library depends on the continuous learning of its staff, and the library supports all employees in developing skills, acquiring knowledge and engaging in activities that support the scholarship of students and faculty and the broader goals of the university.
Key Components of the Library’s Staff Development Plan
Orientation: The library provides a New Employee Manual and checklist. The manual includes information about the state, university, and library. The checklist provides a guide to basic information that the supervisor should cover during the employee's first few weeks at the Library. The manual also includes information on the Library’s organizational structure, dress policy, and staff development support.
Annual Goals: In consultation with supervisors, staff members are encouraged to incorporate staff engagement activities that support Library, University, and professional and/or personal initiatives in their annual goals.Core Competencies:
- Customer service, communication, and interpersonal and teamwork skills
- Computer software/hardware skills: Microsoft Office and Windows applications, basic computer and printer troubleshooting, use of the integrated library system and public catalog, and internet searching.
- Library/University mission, goals, and policies: Understanding of the mission and goals of the Library and University; knowledge of library and university policies.
- Knowledge of new technologies - especially those with potential application to libraries - and training in those relevant to the staff member’s position.
- Information on emerging trends in higher education and the future of libraries.
- Cross-training within and, when possible, interdepartmentally in order to improve library services, increase teamwork, and to provide an avenue for potential career development.
- Staff librarians serve as mentors for new professional librarians; all staff are encouraged to participate in the University's Staff Mentoring Program as a means of career development and university engagement.
Librarians: Professional development is an essential part of the responsibilities of librarians and involves scholarship, publication, presentations, and service to the University and professional organizations. At Towson, librarians need to attend to both their annual performance evaluations for their positions and to the requirements for permanent status and promotion in professional rank. These requirements are detailed in the "Procedures and Criteria for Librarian Evaluation, Promotion, and Permanent Status" (Appendix 2 to the Towson University Policy on Appointment, Rank and Tenure of Faculty). The Library Promotion and Tenure Committee oversees the promotion process at the Library.
All staff: Towson University and the Library support career development for all staff. Supervisors should consult staff in their departments to develop career paths according to the staff member’s priorities and the needs of the Library.
Staff Engagement: The Library encourages all staff to be involved in university activities, and the Library takes a broad view of staff engagement. Engagement can include participation in various groups or committees, service as a volunteer, and attendance at lectures, cultural events, or workshops on personal issues, such as finance or health. While career development may not be a top priority for some staff, engagement in university life can add to personal fulfillment and job satisfaction.
Staff Development Website: The Staff Development Committee will maintain a website with a calendar of library staff development events and highlight additional opportunities or resources for staff development.
Staff Development Collection: The Library will collect professional development and related materials as requested by staff and as the budget allows. Suggested topics include: promotion and tenure; information literacy; new technologies; the future of libraries; and time, finance, and stress management.
Support for Staff Development Activities: Within budgetary constraints, the Library provides financial support for staff development, especially for training required for job responsibilities and for presentations and executive board members at professional conferences. Leave time is allowed for a broader range of activities with approval from the staff member’s supervisor.