Here’s an assumption of mine: the majority of library professionals expect that continuing education and professional development in the field will be done through formal classes, seminars, and conferences–which cost someone (the library professional or their place of employment) money and require face-to-face, in-person attendance.
Technology and society being what they are, this isn’t as necessary as I think our profession makes it out to be. I’ve blogged before about how important I think DIY library education and development is. So, I’m seriously, monumentally impressed with the announcement of the LITA BIGWIG Social Software Showcase, a non-conference to be held during ALA’s big damn annual conference. This is exactly the kind of inventive, daredevil, democratic thing I want to (and expect to) see more of. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s a group of smart people using available technology to throw together their own educational program. Fantastic! (Note: yes, I’m mentioned in at least one of the Social Software Showcase presentations. No, that’s not why I think it’s brilliant, although I’m tickled all kinds of colors that my name is there.)
The free sharing of information and development is embedded in the core philosophy of libraries, so it gladdens my heart and fires my brain to see us doing more of this with each other. You really can’t stop the signal.