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Professional Development Resources for Librarians: Online Courses & Webinars

Reference Interview Fundamentals

Reference Interview 101-Spring 2024 - Monday, 4/1/2024 - Monday, 5/13/2024


Reference Interview is a comprehensive six-week asynchronous course focusing on the methods of evaluating reference services, behavioral aspects of reference service, and the different types of questions that can be used to help patrons identify what they need. Using images and texts, this in-depth educational approach covers everything from the approachability of the librarian to how to follow up with the patron. Scheduled chat sessions will model interviewing techniques using sample dialogues.

Reference Interview is tailored for support staff, library technicians, newly hired reference librarians, and those librarians who want to brush up on their interview skills. The topics covered are introductory in nature. Class segments are geared to cover issues of interest to staff in all types of libraries.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Module 1: Introduction
  • Module 2: Reference Evaluation
  • Module 3: Behavioral Guidelines
  • Module 4: Approachability
  • Module 5: The Reference Interview Environment
  • Module 6: Questioning and Listening Techniquest
  • Module 7: The Reference Interview; Dialogues
  • Module 8: The Reference Interview: Follow up 

The instructor, David Tyckoson, has almost 40 years of experience in academic libraries. He is currently a reference librarian at the Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno. 

FDLP Academy

Enhance your knowledge of Federal Government information through the FDLP Academy.  The Federal Depository Library Program offers the FDLP Academy for webinars and webcasts. FDLP Academy Training Repository has free videos of previous events.

Recent webinars include:

  • Science Resources at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Libraries
  • Library of Congress Veterans History Project
  • Access to Court Resources: PACER, Court Records, and More

Library 2.0

Library 2.0 is one of the first modern social networks for librarians and educators.

Webinar courses include:

  • Medical Emergencies: What to do Until the Paramedics Arrive
  • Ten Library Service Myths Every Librarian Should Challenge
  • Porn and Patrons in the Library: What to do About a Vexing Issue


SimpleK12: Professional Development in Your Pajamas offers practical online teacher training" webinars are specifically geared toward K-12 teachers, some offerings may also be of interest to librarians.

Some simpleK12 educational webinars are free.

Examples of free webinars and recordings:

  • Using the Chrome Browser to the Best of its Ability
  • Literacy Tools and Strategies to Strengthen Social Emotional Learning
  • HyperDocs: Tools for Reflection


A non-profit supported by a large global network of funders and donors, TechSoup helps you stay up-to-date on technology and continue to innovate.

Most courses are free. Tech-focused learning content examples include:

  • Email Marketing for Nonprofits and Libraries
  • Tech Training for Nonprofit and Library Staff 101

Emerging Tech

Emerging Tech is a free professional learning community where school librarians, teachers, and administrators can explore all the ways to integrate technology into 21st century learning.

Membership includes free monthly edWeb webinars.


At WebJunction, library-specific courses and webinar recordings are available for free to all library workers and volunteers. Through the generous support of OCLC and many state library agencies across the US, WebJunction provides timely and relevant learning content for you to access anytime, from anywhere.

Course and webinar topics include:

  • Digital Collections Stewardship
  • Build a Better Library Website Boot Camp
  • Creating Pathways to Civil Legal Justice

Idaho State Library Tutorials

The ABLE (Alternative Basic Library Education) program offers online tutorials on basic library-related skills.

The SABLE (Supplemental Alternative Basic Library Education) program provides additional resources to supplement the ABLE tutorials for library staff members who have no formal education in library science.