Michelle Armstrong, associate dean of Albertsons Library presented at this year’s conference for the Idaho Library Association in Lewiston. This year’s theme was “growing libraries, connecting communities.”
Armstrong’s presentation, “Dear Diary – Using Written Reflective Practices to Develop Professionally” explored reflective writing techniques and gave participants skills to build their specific professional knowledge and expertise.
The techniques Armstrong demonstrated give employees a chance to increase their performance outside of traditional professional development opportunities and to process the stress and demands of their roles.
“All library work comes with some degree of stress. With changing patron needs and limited resources, library staff carry a heavy load and our professional practices rarely offer time to truly learn from our work,” she said. “While organized professional development is good, it’s separate from everyday events. Reflective practice, actively observing our experiences often through writing, provides tools for continuous learning.”
Her goal is to implement this model with library employees, supporting an element of Albertsons Library’s strategic plan, to ensure a library workforce has the level of professional skill and expertise needed for a modern academic library.