Learning in Difficult Times: 10 MOOC for Library Staff Members

As of yesterday, all librarians across New Zealand are staying at home. It’s an unusual and unprecedented situation. I’m sure that a lot of librarians can keep working from home and have some projects for their libraries to develop.

But I also think that there are plenty of librarians whose primary role is customer service and they might not have too many projects that they could work on while spending the following weeks in self-isolation. For them but also for many others including me it’s a great time to work on our self-development.

Developing new skills is something we know that we should be doing. However, in our busy day-to-day library duties there is often not enough time to do so.

I’m bringing you a few tips on MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), with regard to which content could be useful in your library job. You might find that some of the courses below are not suited for your particular library role, but I don’t intend to provide an exhaustive list of the massive online open courses suitable for a librarian. I’d like you to get inspired to use the following weeks in a productive and positive way.

10 Online MOOC for Librarians

1. Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

In this course you’ll learn how to learn. Learning and memory techniques, dealing with procrastination and many more. The course provides a good foundation for your future studies.

2. How To Create a Website in a Weekend! (Project-Centered Course)

Each library would benefit from having its own website or a blog. In this course you’ll learn how to do that in a way that is best suited for your needs. Not many MOOC are project-centered so take this opportunity while you can!

3. Copyright for Educators & Librarians

The course is focused on the problem of copyright in U.S. libraries. Even though it’s about U.S. copyright, it’s highly valuable as many sites like Wikipedia follows U.S. copyright law.

4. Search Education Online

This is an education course provided by Google. You can learn how to improve your Google search skills and how to become a more effective and faster fact finder. What else could be more essential in the Time of Google?

5. Excel Skills for Business Specialization

There is barely a more versatile and valuable skill than mastering Excel. Once you become an expert in Excel, you’ll be a valuable workmate in any office. The course is focused on its business use but what’s useful for business can surely be used in the library environment too.

6. Strategic Planning for Public Libraries

This is quite an essential MOOC for a variety of libraries. Explore methods of effective planning and its delivery. The course is provided by The University of Michigan.

7. Public Library Marketing and Public Relations

Learn how to develop effective marketing and PR strategies to help share your library’s programs, services, and value with the broader community.

8. Identifying Community Needs for Public Library Management

The course provides an overview on how to design research, surveys, and interviews. You can also learn how to analyse data to better assess the local wants and needs of a public library community.

9. Become a Data Analyst

This is a slightly more specialized course for librarians who work with data. You’ll learn how to use Python, SQL, and statistics for your data-drive library solutions.

10. Masterpieces of World Literature

This is a course for more “classic” librarians provided by Harvard University. From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Goethe.

Library as Learning Space

I recently read an interesting article on the design of learning spaces. It featured research into how students rank  the design of space in Colleges in the US. I was not entirely surprised to discover that less than 30% found any space inspiring, and even fewer found designated spaces effective for study and learning.


I was interested that more than 70% of students said they prefered to work alone, as opposed to in a group. We struggle in this library to provide enough quiet study space, and that is partly due to the fact that many students seem to prefer to study collaboratively, in small groups, with lots of discussion. Perhaps Polytechnic students are different, or the nature of assignments?

Future plans for the CPIT Library space will include more individual study space, and quiet corners, and more flexibility in how a space can be configured and used, in the hope that we can be both inspiring and effective.

It’s love your library day!

Today is “Love your library day”  which has been organised as part of  New Zealand Library Week, the annual celebration of libraries and librarianship.

This is what some of the staff at CPIT think of libraries:
“Our library is like a beating, pumping heart, feeding the hungry, seeking minds of many. This will never stop as long as there are writers to fill the empty shelves again.”   Flip Leiijten, Welding and Fabrication Tutor, Trades Innovation Institute, CPIT.
“Moving from the United States to New Zealand a few years ago really renewed my appreciation for public libraries. In the US, books are (relatively) cheap and libraries are few in number, so I don’t think I set foot inside one, except for academic study purposes, in about 10 years. But here in NZ, and Christchurch especially, the public library system is amazing. It allows you to nourish a love of reading, and with a library in almost every neighborhood, you’re certain to find what you’re looking for. I’ve used the libraries to find great fiction, cookbooks, dictionaries and manuals to help with my freelance work, and of course, story books for my children. For them, the library is an experience, and we have our favorites throughout town. To say, “Shall we go to the library today?” is, for them, akin to saying, “Shall we go to the park today?” And beyond the visit, we can continually refresh our supply of children’s books, discovering new stories, new authors, and new illustrators. The fact that Christchurch dedicates funding and attention to their library system shows that these places are still an integral part of the community and provide a consistent means for improving the overall quality of living here.”  Cindy Staudt – Lecturer, Graduate Diploma of Information Design, CPIT.

“Libraries provide a physical presence for both past & present scholars & readers that inspires & informs”  David Hawke – Principal Lecturer Environmental and Analytical Chemistry, School of Applied Sciences and Allied Health, CPIT

“I love libraries because: they provide infinite sources of pleasure .  I am fortunate enough to have my office sited in the library of an academic institution so I have easy access to the latest journals and magazines both the serious worky ones and the luscious glossy fashion and food ones. I have access to interloan  without leaving my office – I get to read up to date international journal articles from the databases and can send on the links to colleagues. I can recommend purchases and voila – they appear on the shelf. Then of a Friday I can swan around the leisure reading section and select my weekend reading. Again from the luxury of my office ( in my lunch break of course,)  I can log on to  the public library and select and order books of my choice and await  a welcome email telling me they are  there ready to be collected. When Santa brings me an ipod I’m looking forward to downloading some talking books to listen to on my walk to and from work.  And when I grow up and become a grandmother I’m looking forward to taking my mokopuna to the library as I took their parents to select our favourite stories.”  Robin Graham – Education Designer, Center for Education Development, CPIT.

“Went to the library to order a paper
Could have done it online but needed a caper.

Why stay in your office a long while
when interloaning is rewarded with a smile?

The team down there treat you like a guest
even though clients like me might seem like a pest!

With much appreciation for a great CPIT library team”  Ruth Garside – Principle Academic Staff Member, School of Business, CPIT.

“Can you imagine not having our library? That’s just crazy, eh! No place to think, to focus your searching, to delve into ideas, to free up your mind. And no cool people there to help you migrate your way through to find the solutions you seek. I know why I like our library where I am studying ….”  Gerard Duignan – Education Designer, Center for Education Development, CPIT.

Tell us about how much you love libraries…

It’s Library Week!

It’s library week!

Library week is an annual week long celebration of libraries and librarianship in New Zealand.

This years theme is  Ask Me – “You might be surprised”.    This reflects that  librarians don’t just issue and shelve books but are trained information professionals who have a world of knowledge and experience at their fingertips.

All you need do is – ask!

Check out the library week website for competitons and events taking place during Library Week.