Written by: Nayeli Pelayo, Communications Specialist, Educopia Institute

This past January, the Educopia Institute released the Self-Identified Library, Archives, and Museum Professional Development Needs report, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and co-authored by TrueBearing Consulting and LYRASIS. This report summarized the wide range of work conducted through the Mapping the Landscapes project, which the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) contributed to through ASIS&T Past-President Dr. Sandy Hirsh’s participation on the Advisory Board and our members’ participation in the national survey effort.

The findings of the report were loud and clear: employees in the library, archives, and museum (LAM) fields strongly desire professional development and continuing education opportunities. Sixty-nine percent of the professionals surveyed indicated a high level of interest in continuing education and professional development with cost as the main driver among many for selecting a particular learning offering. The details in the report highlight shared barriers and ways to support continued learning, as well as the levels of self-identified needs across 98 unique professional competencies that are common across the fields. Support organizations will find immediate value in this data when developing learning offerings for specific audiences and regions.

The report was compiled from focus group and survey data acquired through the Mapping the Landscapes project, facilitated by the Educopia Institute for the Assessing the State of the Field task force of the Coalition to Advance Learning across Archives, Libraries, and Museums. The national survey and focus group efforts were conducted by Truebearing and LYRASIS respectively, under the guidance of nominated task forces of field professionals. ASIS&T, through Dr. Hirsh, played a pivotal role by contributing through the project’s advisory board.

The report presents full details on the methodologies, data, and instruments used between March 2015 and August 2016. The survey model, instrument, and interpretation notes, as well as the focus group moderator set-up and discussion guides, are included to enable organizations to independently continue longitudinal data gathering. Findings within the report include heat maps of professional levels of need for specific competencies, and visualizations of areas of shared need across LAM fields. The report references seven accompanying interactive data visualizations that reflect survey findings on regional and field-specific continued education barriers and incentives, as well as skill and confidence levels. These Tableau Storyboards allow dynamic filters by state and field, to assist further data analysis of select survey results.

As detailed in the report, the 2,788 survey respondents indicated their levels of need for training in specific competencies. This information on where learners felt a “minor need” vs. “significant need” can inform professional development programming. Data on confidence levels also indicate where training topics may not be as well attended or perceived. For example, respondents reported significant needs for more advanced technology offerings, as opposed to basic technology competencies, for which they indicated minor or no needs.

The report and data visualizations are published under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Creative Commons license for broad distribution. ASIS&T members can freely use and distribute this information widely, as a cornerstone dataset and competency framework for professional development planning for LAM professionals. For more information on the research of this project, visit www.educopia.org/research/mapping-the-landscapes or contact Christina Drummond at christina@educopia.org.