The Library School: empowering the sustainable innovation capacity of new librarians

Marlies Bitter-Rijpkema, Steven Verjans, Rob Bruijnzeels

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Purpose – Dramatic changes in the role and position of public libraries require a fundamental reconsideration of professional development programs for library professionals. This paper seeks to address this issue. Design/methodology/approach – This Dutch case study describes an innovative academic professional learning programme and its development through a process of intensive stakeholder consultation and co-creation. Findings – Market analysis and stakeholder consultation revealed that traditional professional development programs are not sufficient, and that an innovative learning approach is needed to accommodate professionals in the current disruptive context. Through intensive co-creation between academics and library stakeholders, a learning approach was developed that combines workplace learning, networked learning and distance learning with intensive inspirational face-to-face sessions, merging formal and informal learning. A first batch of professionals has just started the programme that centres around four main themes that deal with the current challenges for public libraries: changes in society, culture, organisation and technology. Each theme is integrated into the main learning stream of collectively developing new librarianship. Practical implications – The Library School learning approach is expected to be suitable for many sectors that deal with continuous professional development. Social implications – Society in the twenty-first century requires innovative approaches to continuous professional development. Close collaboration between universities and professional stakeholders can lead to sector-wide commitment and thus create added value for all parties involved and for society as a whole. Originality/value – A co-creative development process has led to an innovative learning approach for continuous professional development. This paper is of value to professional development departments, learning providers and human resource managers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)36-49
    Number of pages14
    JournalLibrary Management
    Issue number1/2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Innovation
    • Innovation communities
    • Library professionals
    • Library school
    • Networked learning
    • Learning networks
    • Professional knowledge
    • Public librarians
    • Public libraries
    • Sustainable innovation
    • Workplace learning
    • The Netherlands


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