Montana State Library is charged with:

Promoting the value of continuing education

Encouraging boards to support continuing education for library staff

Developing and providing quality training in all formats

Keeping Montana librarians informed of continuing education opportunities

  • Montana Library Association conferences and retreats
  • Library Federation meetings
  • Online and in person events sponsored by the Montana State Library
  • Online classes provided by library support services providers such as WebJunction
  • Online and in person events sponsored by regional, national, or international library associations
  • Staff training days offered at your library
  • Online and in person events sponsored by local government officials that are relevant to the library

Sign up for our newsletters to stay updated on continuing education and other news.

Online learning provides a flexible and easy way to learn.  See the list below for FREE on-demand learning for librarians and trustees. Unique logins or accounts may be required.

Directors, Staff, and Trustee Opportunities

Library Directors

Library Staff

Trustees

  • WebJunction - hot topics in library land from OCLC. Courses, webinars, newsletters, and more!
 
  • TechSoup - webinars in a wide variety of topics.
  • ABLE & SABLE - self-paced library basics from the Idaho Commission for Libraries. 
  • OCLC - Training - get training on basic copy cataloging, interlibrary loan, how to share and obtain resources from libraries across the globe. 
   
  • WebJunction's Public Library Directors 101 - a self-paced 4-part course that serves as an introduction to the essentials of being the top executive at a public library in America.  Need-to-know information for the library director's first week on the job.
  • InfoPeople  Training formats include 2-6 week asynchronous online courses, as well as free one-hour webinars.

 

 

Library-specific training provided by library or library-related organizations that is presented in a structured learning situation is eligible for continuing education credits.

Criteria for what counts:

  • Is training presented in a structured learning situation?
  • Is it library-specific?
  • How does it help you do your job better?
  • Does it address one or more of the competencies that you need to know to do your job?

For questions about continuing education opportunities, please contact Colet Bartow, MSL Continuing Education Coordinator.

Sign up for MSL Newsletters to stay up-to-date on continuing education and other news.

New public library standards went into effect on July 1, 2022.

Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 10.102.1158 (4) The board receives at least three hours of continuing education each year.

This standard states the board (all members or a quorum) should participate in continuing education.  With busy schedules, many responsibilities, and limited time to get it all done, here are a couple of suggestions for fitting continuing education in for library boards.

  • Have a plan! At the beginning of the fiscal year create a continuing education plan. Include topics, who will do the training, how and when the training will occur.
  • Adopt the plan as an agenda item at a regular meeting of the Board.
  • Set aside 20 minutes at the beginning of each meeting. Keep it relevant to your current work and continuing education will be more meaningful.
  • If your board meets each month, the 20-minute sessions quickly add up to the 3-hour requirement.
  • Including continuing education sessions in your public meeting notice is an easy way to document achieving the standard.

Individual trustees can still participate in the voluntary MSL Certification program—and are encouraged to do so—but the new standard applies to boards rather than individual trustees.

Question: What is MSL’s definition of continuing education?

Answer: Library-specific training provided by library or library-related organizations that is presented in a structured learning situation is eligible for continuing education credits.

  • Is training presented in a structured learning situation?

  • Is it library-specific?

  • Does it help you do your job better?

  • Does it address one or more of the competencies you need to know to do your job? (Source: Current Certification Manual)


Question: Our board is planning to do the following to meet the 3-hour continuing education requirement:

Watch two webinars  

  • Book Challenges and Intellectual Freedom (Webjunction 1 hour and 6 minutes)

  • Hooray for Freedom! Part One:  Privacy, Confidentiality, and Intellectual Freedom in the Library (56 minutes)

Review United for Libraries Toolkit: Challenges to Materials and Programs: The Role of Library Trustees & Board Members  

Review the Library's Collection Development Policy and Request for Reconsideration Process

If we include a 10 -15 minute conversation at the Board meeting about the materials, that would equal 3 hours of training. Do you think that this process meets the Library standard?

Answer: Yes, if the trustees follow up to discuss and share what they learned in a regular meeting.  Having the discussion as an agenda item provides documentation for meeting the standard. If this plan is adopted by the Board prior to implementing the plan, then it is clear to everyone how the board will meet the standard. 


Question: We understand there has to be a quorum for the credits to count towards the 3-hour requirement. Does this mean the trustees must attend the same sessions at the same time? Does attending the same conference but not the same sessions count?

Answer: Yes. If a Library has a quorum of their Board at a conference and they’ve noticed that fact, in that sense they are behaving as a quorum. Even if they do not attend the same sessions, conference attendance with a quorum of the board, would count.  Boards are encouraged to share and discuss what they learned during the conference sessions in a future board meeting.


Question: If a quorum of trustees complete the same webinar but not at the same time. Does that count?

Answer: Yes, as long as the trustees discuss and share what they learned in a regular meeting.  Having the discussion as an agenda item provides documentation for meeting the standard.