Developing effective professional development programs: a case study

Shu Guo (Library, Central Michigan University, Mt Pleasant, Michigan, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Publication date: 5 November 2014



This paper aims to investigate the practices of a well-established professional development committee (PDC) at an academic library to reveal the development of effective professional development programs with various themes and the diversified delivering formats and the assessment of library employees’ training needs and the effectiveness of professional development programs with Needs Assessment Surveys and Program Follow-up Employee Opinion Surveys. Professional development programs are widely adopted in academic libraries to support the professional growth of library employees and improve the quality of library services. Developing, promoting and administering professional development programs are main responsibilities of the PDC.


The study is based upon the PDC’s recent practices since 2011. The Needs Assessment Surveys (in 2012 and 2013) are conducted electronically, so are the Opinion Surveys since 2013 which are formerly conducted in paper.


The well-planned professional development program themes with special designed delivery formats have demonstrated their effectiveness through high attendance of each professional development event. The positive results and high compliments from both Need Assessment Surveys and Opinion Surveys also endorse their values to employee’s professional growth.


This paper classifies various professional development program ideas into six program themes and three special delivery formats, and each is presented with intention, planning and organization. This paper also provides details of using different Need Assessment Surveys and Opinion Surveys for evaluation, which is also lacked in published literature.



Guo, S. (2014), "Developing effective professional development programs: a case study", New Library World, Vol. 115 No. 11/12, pp. 542-557.

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