Journal directory listing - Volume 51 Number 2 (2006/October) - Education【51(2)】

Librarians’ Informal Learning in the Workplace
Author: Ai-Tzu Li(Dept. of Adult and Continuing Education, National Chung Cheng University)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 51, No.2
Date:October 2006


Since the explosion in knowledge and technological innovation have drastically changed the characteristics of the workplace, learning has become essential to surviving changes. Librarians, as information professionals, need to take advantage of every learning opportunity in order to ensure that their knowledge and skills can fit the continually changing environment in which they work.
The purposes of the study were to explore what and how librarians learn in the workplace, to investigate the contextual factors that promote or impede their learning, and to analyze the impacts of their learning on both individuals and the workplace itself. A qualitative method was employed in this study. 18 librarians in two university libraries in Taiwan were interviewed and observed in their daily work routine, and a substantive theory of work and learning in the workplace was developed.
The results showed that librarians do learn from their everyday work activities: learning and work converge in the workplace. Even though they come to the workplace with a body of knowledge and skills in the library science field, on the job they still gain much knowledge and many skills which are not taught in the library education program. Librarians primarily learn in an informal way, particularly through interaction with others. The skills they learn at work can be divided into four areas: instrumental competencies, communicative competencies, reflective competencies, and cultural competencies. Librarians, this study indicates, are able to utilize multiple sources and strategies in the learning process. These include talking to people, reading journals or other materials, referring to files, searching on the Internet, drawing on prior experiences, learning by doing, learning from mistakes, and learning from observing. Their learning process is influenced by the organizational culture and leadership style of the library directors. Finally, several suggestions for future research were also presented.

Keywords:librarians, informal learning, workplace learning

《Full Text》

APA FormatLi, A.-T. (2006). Librarians’ Informal Learning in the Workplace. Journal of National Taiwan Normal University: Education, 51(2), 45-65. doi:10.3966/2073753X2006105102003