15 September 2010

Professional development and progression opportunities in FE libraries

My CoFHE Conference 2010 paper.

A year ago, when I was acting College Librarian, I had to look at the recruitment practice in my College and I was somewhat puzzled: only "good GCSEs/O-Levels" were expected from candidates for posts as Learning Resources Assistant (LRA). A minimal library-related qualification was expected from Senior LRAs.

I was puzzled because the vast number of learners coming to the library with enquiries were on programmes exceeding GCSE level. An apparent discrepancy in qualifications and skills of library support staff on the one hand, and learners’ needs – as I understood them – has bothered me. Our employers would not dream of allowing the same to happen in classrooms.

Another issue I got concerned with was the virtual impossibility for support staff to move up the ladder to professional posts in a library.

This paper is an attempt to look critically at the current situation with recruitment practice and professional progression and development opportunities in FE libraries.