La formazione continua del personale nei sistemi bibliotecari: il caso dell'Università di Firenze

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Laura Vannucci


Today library systems are learning organizations, where the whole sum of the professional knowledge and competencies of each librarian as well as the processes of their interactions create a specific organization culture. That happens if all librarians work together to reach the aims of their organization. Thus the entire library system grows and develops especially when it receives much information from its users, publishers, other libraries, electronic services providers and private people. But perhaps most importantly the library system must share useful information with librarians, organizing in this way a program of continuing professional education.

This means the establishment of program objectives according to the aims of the organization. Then, it is necessary to carry out a gap analysis of the knowledge, in order to define the contents of the courses. However one of the most important purposes is encouraging people to participate in library activities. In adult education the best method is that called "active", based on active partecipation of students in the lessons. Finally, the program must foresee the use of instruments to evaluate the quality of the courses.

Since 1996, the University Library System (SBA) of Florence University has been experimenting a program of continuing professional education for librarians. The University librarians have attended lessons of English language and short courses, workshops, seminars and study schools concerning many subjects of library and information science, e.g. document delivery and interlibrary loan, serials cataloguing, audiovisual material, bibliographical information services; some of them are studying in order to get a Master in information and library management, using the distance learning method. For this purpose a small room has been prepared, where online computers and other special devices are available. Some teachers are libriarians of the SBA, who are stimulated to keep themselves up to date because they must teach their collegues; before actual teaching they attend a one day lesson to learn to teach. In 1999 almost all librarians in SBA have attended more than one course; their answers to the evaluation questionnaires and their changed behaviour towards users showed the success of this continuing professional education program.

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