Staff Development Exchange Program


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No RALC library has all the funding it needs for staff development, yet staff development, especially during times of declining budgets, is as important as ever due to fast changing technologies. Although procedures, workflows, and practices may vary within our ten institutions, RALC directors feel that staff can learn from their RALC colleagues.

In fact, because RALC member libraries vary in size and in the types of communities they serve, they offer a fertile setting for staff exchange visits. The RALC Staff Development Exchange Program hopes to facilitate staff visits among RALC libraries. Its purposes are:

  1. To help staff members of RALC libraries learn how other RALC staff carry out their work,
  2. To stimulate thinking about how to do common library tasks in new ways, and
  3. To help staff of RALC libraries get to know their counterparts.


  1. This program page provides links to each library’s staff directory. [See below]
  2. Visits can be a half day or a full day. One or two staff may want to visit at the same time. More than that in a group should be carefully coordinated with the host library.
  3. A staff member who would like to make a visit should:
    1. Consult the RALC staff directories and identify a library and individual or department in that library he/she wishes to visit.
    2. Go through any required process in one’s home library prior to committing to any professional development activity.
    3. Contact directly the individual or department in another RALC library that one wants to visit.
      1. Discuss the purpose of the visit, any particular issues or topics of concern, etc.
      2. Determine whether a half day or full day format is better.
    4. The contact person at the would-be host library should follow internal procedures, if any exist, to confirm that the request for a visit is acceptable
      1. The contact person at the host library responds to the request for a visit.
        1. If the response to the request is affirmative, the two parties identify a mutually agreeable date.
        2. If the response to the request is negative, the contact at the would-be host library explains that the library cannot accommodate the request.
  4. In some cases it will make sense for two staff members to visit the same department of another library. In such cases:
    1. They should make a joint visit rather than double the amount of time the host library needs to devote to visitors.
    2. Visits by more than two persons from the same library at the same time fall outside this program because as the number of simultaneous visitors increases, the opportunities for deep learning during a visit declines and problems for the host increase.
  5. No RALC library is expected to incur any expenses through this program; e.g., if a host library wishes to treat a visitor to lunch or pay a parking fee, it may, but no visitor should expect to be treated to lunch, receive complimentary paid parking, or any other services that incur an expense to the host library.
  6. At the conclusion of the visit, both the visitor and the host staff should make a brief report of the event.
    1. The report should include the date, the staff names and their institution, what the activity was and the use made of the information gained. This could be a joint report.
    2. E-mail the report to the current president of RALC and it will be added to the program website for the information of others considering a visit.
    3. The program reports will be reviewed by the RALC directors annually at the April meeting.

Links to RALC Libraries’ Staff Directories