Maryland State Library Resource Center

Enoch Pratt Free Library

Training for Librarians

The State Library Resource Center offers a variety of professional development training opportunities to support Maryland librarians.

SLRC subject specialists deliver instruction in traditional face-to-face classroom settings, as well as through online webinars using Blackboard Collaborate.

Available classes are listed by subject. They can be customized in length and content to meet the needs of library staff.

To schedule a session, request a training class you do not see listed here, or discuss your library’s training needs, please contact John Jewitt, Manager of the Social Science and History Department, at 410-396-5320 or ssh@prattlibrary.org.

African American History

African American Genealogy

Discover resources for researching African American genealogy. Explore SLRC’s digital resources, popular genealogical databases such as Ancestry.com, independent record repositories such as the Freedman’s Bureau, and federal and state government websites. Learn how slave narratives, census records, historic photographs, and other rich sources of information can help provide both the broader context and specific details relating to African American family histories.

African American History Resources

Gain an overview of resources available to customers interested in researching African American history, politics, and culture. Discover print and online resources that cover popular topics such as famous African American biographies, the history of American slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, black literary and arts movements, and the Civil Rights Movement. Review relevant SAILOR databases and digital collections available remotely to all Maryland library customers.

The Harlem Renaissance

Join staff from the African American Department in an exploration of the Harlem Renaissance. View significant items from SLRC’s print collection and explore topical websites and databases. Gain a basic introduction to the writers, musicians, visual artists, and places that played a part in this significant cultural movement of the 1920s.

Business, Science, and Technology

Health Resources

Discuss how to best provide consumer health information at the reference desk. Explore reliable online sources for health information relating to: diseases and medical conditions, drugs, healthcare practitioner information, and complementary and alternative medicine.

Math for Librarians

Do you shudder at the prospect of helping a customer with a math problem? Designed for librarians who range from rusty to math-phobic, this session includes a discussion of common types of math questions and highlights quality resources that can help your customers solve them. Math topics covered include fractions, percentages, algebra, geometry, measurements, and word problems.

Science and Technology Resources

Discover basic online sources for answering science and technology questions. Explore websites and databases that librarians can use to help customers with questions about topics including but not limited to math, animals, food, and cars. Discuss great places to look for science fair project ideas, biographies, and patent information.

Using Federal and State Resources for Business and Marketing Plan Research

Gain a basic understanding of federal and state statistical resources relevant to business and marketing plan writers. Learn how to create search strategies for finding industry and demographic information. Discuss the kinds of information a business or marketing plan writer needs to develop a meaningful and persuasive plan.

Children’s

Fairy Houses and the Magic of STEM

Many experts agree that the foundation for successful STEM learning is the early development of a love for nature. Learn about a STEM program that promotes exposure to and affection for the natural world through hands-on collection activities and the stimulation of the imagination.

Customer Service

Challenging Customer Interactions

What is meant by "challenging" behavior during customer interactions? How can we make sure we help the customer while also taking care of ourselves? From confusing situations to disgruntled customers, this training offers strategies to manage and diffuse a variety of difficult interactions. It also provides self-care tips to help you manage your stress level during and after tough interactions. Attendees will have the opportunity to deconstruct their own challenging customer service scenarios in a safe and supportive environment.

Customer Service and Model Reference Behaviors

In today’s public libraries, librarians engage in transformational rather than merely transactional customer experiences. Through discussion and hands-on activities, this class explores how RUSA’s professional guidelines for reference services help staff provide consistent high quality customer service. Class participants practice model reference behaviors with a special focus on listening/inquiring skills and follow-up, including how to provide referrals when the library’s immediate resources prove insufficient.

Improving Library Service to Customers with Disabilities

Learn how to better serve library customers with physical and mental disabilities. Discuss potential barriers to service—including accessing the library’s resources, navigating the library’s physical space, and communicating with staff—and review best practices for providing high quality customer service to all. Discover resources that will help staff expand their knowledge and promote accessibility in library spaces.

Improving Library Service to Customers with Mental Health Issues

Learn how to better serve library customers with mental health issues drawing on interactions with both external and internal customers. Learn about different mental health diagnoses, discuss modeling good interactions, and explore strategies for improving customers’ library experience, particularly in the area of communication and behavior. Discover resources that will help staff expand their knowledge and connect with local organizations.

E-Learning/Online Skills

Learning Online

Explore opportunities for library customers to learn independently online. Examine free options that enable students to learn in a controlled environment with help or at the learner’s own pace. Courses range from basic technology and life skills training on sites like GCFLearnFree to online learning platforms offering advanced academic skills such as Khan Academy and Udemy.

Telling Your Story Online

What makes a good story, and how can you begin to share it with others? Discuss the basics of telling a good story and discuss online storytelling tools such as blogs, podcasts, and videos. Explore websites from expert storytellers that will inspire your library customers to share their story with the world.

Fine Arts & Music

Arts Programming in the Library

Public libraries share a natural intersection with the arts as essential resources for successful community life. Learn how innovative arts programming in the library can satisfy a taste for passive arts enjoyment or fill a need for active arts engagement that benefits patrons of all ages, local artists and arts organizations, and the public library itself.

Greatest Hits of the Fine Arts & Music Department: “I’m Looking for A Song…” and “How Much Are My Antiques & Collectibles Worth?

Popular songs and antiques are two subjects frequently asked about in the Fine Arts Department at SLRC. In part one of this talk we’ll discuss songbooks, fakebooks, sheet music, and other unique resources about popular music available through SLRC. In part two we’ll explore common customer questions about antiques, collectibles, and ‘vintage’ items, the criteria used to assess their value, and useful online resources for antiques, price guides, and appraisal sites.

Integrating the Arts with STEM Programming in the Library

Discover why the arts are a natural and important addition to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, and why libraries should be involved in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, Math) programming. We’ll explore great online resources for programming ideas and see examples of fun, easy-to-do STEAM activities that libraries can use to engage patrons of all ages in lifelong learning.

History, Genealogy, and Law

Historical Research Resources

Discover significant resources focused on U.S. and Maryland history, including both print and electronic examples. Explore the concept of primary sources and learn what they are and where to find them, including Archives of Maryland online. We’ll showcase the history resources available to you at SLRC, and identify locally-generated Maryland history resources such as Digital Maryland.

Introduction to Historical Research

Learn how to support your customers’ historical research. Identify a wide variety of primary sources, and practice finding them, both online and in the catalogs of libraries and archives. Work through practice questions to explore the who, what, where, when, and why of different historical events. We’ll consider the perspective of the source, and discuss the importance of secondary sources in providing context.

Legal Resources

Explore resources to answer frequently-asked legal questions. Learn how to track a bill through Congress, look up legal terms for your customers, track the activity of the Supreme Court and hear oral arguments, and find specific Maryland Law resources. Gain confidence in handling legal questions, and know where to refer your customers when you’re asked for legal advice.

National History Day Support

Find out what it takes to assist your teen customers with their National History Day (NHD) research. Learn about the annual theme, typical projects, and primary and secondary sources, including the History Reference Center database from SAILOR. Learn tips and tricks to help you to locate relevant resources for your customers, and explore strategies to support their research. Find out about the different types of NHD projects, the various levels of the competition, and the people and organizations who can help you to help your teen customers.

Working with Genealogists

How do you help someone who has 30 years’ worth of experience in an area you know very little about? Genealogists are an enthusiastic and passionate subset of our customer base, and levels of knowledge can vary. Created for non-genealogists, this session will include a discussion of how to work with customers from varying levels of experience, useful print and online resources, relevant SAILOR databases and digital collections, and appropriate institutions and organizations for referrals.

Humanities

Primary Resources in the Humanities on the Internet

Interested in expanding your knowledge of primary source repositories related to literature, poetry, drama, and film? Join a Humanities subject specialist at SLRC to discuss where to find quality online primary sources. Explore popular sites with a broad focus such as the Internet Archive, Online Books page, and the Library of Congress’s American Memory Project and dip briefly into more specialized academic resources. Learn about the Scout Report and similar sites that offer a convenient way to stay up to date on Humanities resources.

Information Ethics

Introduction to Copyright for Librarians

Learn the basics of copyright and how it affects libraries. Discuss what can and can’t be copyrighted, how long copyright terms last, what can be used without permission, and the special consideration afforded to libraries under copyright law. Practice how to determine Fair Use, and look briefly at how new technologies like Digital Rights Management (DRM) are impacting libraries and consumer products and services. This is an introductory session for those with little experience dealing with copyright questions.

“Can I use this?” Copyright and Fair Use in Libraries

Have you ever wondered what pictures you’re allowed to post or use in a display? Maybe you aren’t sure if a customer can copy that much of a book? Or if you’re allowed to use a particular image in a public presentation? This session is designed to help you become more comfortable with these practical questions and determine what you and your customers can and can’t do with copyrighted material.

Copyright for Digitization Projects

Whether you’re planning a large scale digitization project or just thinking about putting a few old pictures online, every project should involve a copyright risk assessment. This session will answer the following questions: Do you own the rights to this? Even if you don’t, can you put it up anyway? Learn about the public domain and discover some surprising materials that you may be able to use without violating copyright law.

Current Topics in Copyright: Libraries, Fair Use, and Technology

What are the implications when libraries don’t own, but rather purchase access to ebooks and other digital content? How does digital rights management (DRM) affect libraries and our customers? What does fair use have to do with large scale digitization projects like Google Books? Explore current trends and challenges related to libraries, technology, and copyright, and consider how libraries and other professional communities are adapting and advocating for change.

Privacy Issues: An Overview for Librarians

Review best practices for protecting patron privacy, discuss emerging library technologies that pose privacy concerns, and briefly explore broader privacy issues in the news including government surveillance and online tracking. This session is heavy on discussion so come prepared to participate and share your ideas and experiences.

Information Literacy

Fake News: How to Spot It

Media literacy is an important part of information and cultural literacy today. Discover evaluation strategies that you can use with your customers to examine news sources online, in print, and in various audio-visual media formats to separate real news from fake news. Learn resources and techniques for how to become a savvy judge of news which you can share with your customers.

Google Mostly

Explore how to best use Google and other online services and resources. Gain a basic understanding of how Google and other search engines work. Learn basic strategies for online searching, with a special emphasis on Google’s advanced search features. Review when search strategies should include search engines vs. databases, library guides, directories, and other resources.

Researching Controversial Issues

Explore resources to help students and other library customers research controversial social and political issues. Discover search tips for locating relevant articles online and in SAILOR databases. Discuss the concept of publication bias and the importance of seeking multiple perspectives in order to create a well-researched argument. Review fact check websites and high quality sources that encourage critical thinking and a deep analysis of controversial topics.

Reader’s Advisory

Fiction Reader’s Advisory

Are your customers overwhelmed by the hundreds of new titles published every year? Reader’s advisory services provide customers with help finding books they will enjoy while also promoting the library’s collection. This session will explore the reader’s advisory interview, looking at how to identify what it is within genre fiction that appeals to readers and how to best encourage them to articulate that appeal. Additional discussion will focus on book suggestion and recommendation tools as well as how to market reader’s advisory services in the library.

Reader’s Advisory in the Humanities

A glance at many popular literary “best of” and “top 10 lists” suggests that today’s readers have diverse interests. Are your reader’s advisory skills up to the challenge? Broaden your knowledge by joining a SLRC subject specialist as they explore highlights from the Humanities collection—from movie star memoirs to modern poetry, from classical works of philosophy to New Age self-help guides. Review how to conduct an effective reader’s advisory interview, discover tips and tools for recommending books and keeping up on what’s new, and gain skills you can use to satisfy your customers’ nonfiction reading appetites.

Special Collections

Edgar Allan Poe

Experience the mysterious life and literary legacy of Edgar Allan Poe through the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s collections. You will learn about Poe’s personal life and family, his writings, as well as his mysterious death in Baltimore in 1849. You will also get the chance to see examples of Poe’s manuscripts, letters, and personal items from the Library’s collections. Discover ways that the Enoch Pratt Free Library Special Collections can help you, including exhibit loans and programming possibilities, and Poe resources in Maryland.

Organizing your Special Materials

Does your library have a local history room or other special collections? Are you wondering about the best way to manage these materials? Join a Special Collections Librarian from SLRC to explore the basic needs of your own special collections. Discuss how to organize materials, craft policies, and adopt best practices. This broadly focused session is intended to help library staff take the first steps to preserve and provide access to special materials.

Viewer’s Advisory

Viewer’s Advisory in the Digital Age

The old ways of how and where to watch movies and television shows are being challenged by on-demand and video streaming technology at a time when there’s a glut of entertainment content to choose from. This training highlights the resources you’ll need to help your customers find what’s available and where they can watch it. You’ll learn  where to look to determine if a title is available to stream or when it will be released on DVD; how to find ratings and age-appropriateness; how to peruse reviews from a cross-section of respected critics; how to watch free anime series and read manga online; and how to find a movie when you don't know the title. In addition to listing the best free sites for viewing popular and educational content, you’ll also learn how to “judge a DVD by its cover,” make recommendations based on viewing history, and anticipate emerging trends and formats.

Viewer’s Advisory: Free Streaming Video

Need help answering customer questions about free online streaming? Learn how to identify useful resources for viewing and streaming free and legal video content on PCs and mobile devices. Explore databases for video streaming, websites that offer free video content, and popular library services like Hoopla, Freegal, and Overdrive. This session also covers broadcast TV networks, educational content, user-generated content, copyright issues, and the future of streaming services.

Workforce Development

Assisting Job-seeking Ex-offenders

Ex-offenders often face employment barriers related to their status. In this session, learn occupational and transitional tips and tools to assist ex- offenders who are looking for employment. View examples of resumes and cover letters for ex-offenders, and discuss how to locate useful community and online resources to help these customers.

Workforce Development

Explore the State Library Resource Center’s Job Seeker’s Toolkit and other resources designed to help job seekers. Learn to better assist library customers with finding open positions, completing online applications, and preparing for interviews. Discuss how to design specific library services (e.g., resume review, drop in job clinics) and programs that target job seekers.

Young Adults

How to Work with Your Local Schools with Ease

Are you having difficulty connecting with educators in your area? Do you want to explore alternative ways to become a valued community partner with your school district? Explore ways to increase local schools’ participation and gain a wider audience for library programs.

The Mysterious Teen Brain

Do you ever wonder what teens are really thinking? Do you find it challenging to communicate with teens in your library? Do you wonder if they will stay that way forever? This funny and informative conversation about the development of the teen brain will help you better understand and provide support for your teen customers.

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