Professional Development

Find additional resources for library directors, youth services/programming staff, and support personnel in the WRLS Knowledgebase.

What is the WRLS Knowledgebase? The WRLS Knowledgebase is a self-service library of articles, links, worksheets, templates, pre-made publicity templates and posts, and shared documents. Visit the WRLS Knowledgebase through SharePoint in your WRLS Outlook Account or through this link.

Need help accessing the WRLS Knowledgebase? Email

WRLS Wonders Podcast

Listen to the WRLS Wonders Podcast here! Even though the podcast has been on a hiatus during the pandemic, expect an eventual return. The podcast is a great CE resource for library staff on the go.

Online Professional Journals 

This collection highlights a small portion of the more than 320 free, full-text journals and magazines in Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text, an excellent, library-specific professional development collection from Badgerlink.

Continuing Education Opportunities- 2021

January 2021

Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference 

January 27-28, 2021

This year’s conference has 14 programs with tracks in Management, Small Libraries, Public Services and Marketing.

Participate from the comfort and safety of your own home or library workspace.

Register here:


February 2021

SLP Idea Exchange and YS Online Meet-up 

Let’s chat about what your summer library program might look like this year!

Save the date! Friday, Feb 5, 11:30am-1pm

Register here


February, March, and April 2021

Pat Wagner on Leadership 

Leaders create compelling futures and inspire others to do their best.  In this workshop series, we will learn a model for everyday leadership both in and outside of your library. Please save the dates for this WRLS-sponsored series of project-based sequential webinars.

Feb 18, 2021, 10:30 am-Noon

March 18, 2021, 10:30 am-Noon

April 15, 2021, 10:30 am-Noon

DETAILS AND REGISTRATION BELOW (Or register for all three workshops at once here.)


What Leaders Do: The Organizational Map

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 10:30 am

Presentation Slides: WindingMapFeb2021BWv2


Assignment/Required Pre-Work: What are ten things you do on a regular basis­­­­–daily, weekly, or monthly–that you believe make the biggest contribution to the success of your library. Can you sort them in order of importance? Please send your responses to Cole ( by February 8 so we can include them (anonymously) in the presentation.

Description: Any enterprise, including a library, needs employees with three skill sets and points-of-view to succeed: Professional and technical, commonly called Task-oriented; Supervisory- and Managerial-oriented; and Leadership-oriented. Some people are good at all three skill sets, but most of us have one that we excel at, which hopefully matches the position we hold in our library. Nonetheless, particularly in smaller libraries, we need to grow our abilities, regardless of our positions.

The Organizational Map is a century-old framework for discussing these skill sets and points-of-view, identifying our strengths and weaknesses, and, more importantly, knowing where we want to be. Topics include the importance of skill sets and points of view, how supervision, management, and leadership are different, the unique characteristics of leadership, and how leadership abilities can be applied regardless of a person’s job title, experience, or education.


  • Spend more time at the library leadership level, making decisions and taking action that impact the “Big Picture”.
  • Apply the Map to strategic and operational planning.
  • Identify which skills are needed when personnel are hired or promoted to supervisor and manager.
  • Understand and prevent unproductive workplace behaviors such as perfectionism, micromanagement, and elitism.
  • Apply leadership thinking to your current position.


What Leaders Do: Creating Great Community Collaborations and Sharing Resources in Your Community 

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 10:30 am

Presentation Slides: WindingCollaborationMar182021BWFINALv2


Assignment/Required Pre-Work:

  1. What are three organizations that you have recently worked with to deliver services to your community or institution?  1a. *Why did your library partner with them? Are you happy with the outcome? (*You may choose to answer either question 1a or 2a; no need to do both.)
  2. What are three organizations that you would like to work with but never have, so far? 2a.*Why do you want to work with them?

Please send your responses to Cole ( by March 16 so we can include them (anonymously) in the presentation.

Description: What can community collaboration look like? After school library programs hosted at local schools. Nurses and social workers serving library customers onsite. Partnerships with social service agencies to create food pantries and distribute bagged meals. Onsite immigration and community policing offices. Music events and language classes. Writing contests. Cooking classes. Hunting and fishing licenses for sale. Patient family collections in conjunction with local health professionals. Adoption day partners with local animal rescue groups. Programs on starting a business, staffed by the Chamber of Commerce.

Library leaders can extend the library’s reach by creating partnerships, a must if the library serves a smaller community or has limited facilities, staff, and budget. Learn the benefits of working with other government agencies, charities, and businesses, sharing resources, co-hosting and co-sponsoring events and services, and teaming up to write grants and supporting each other’s goals.

What if you don’t have experience reaching out to your greater community and creating partnerships? What if past alliances have not worked out for the best? What do library leaders need to do to make successful collaborations happen? Topics include building on established relationships (you begin with community friends who like the library), creating a support team (you aren’t going to be alone), and starting with doable projects and taking small steps to success (learn by doing, so mistakes are easy to fix).


  • Identify potential partners.
  • Start with small-scale projects to learn about each other’s style when it comes to managing people and projects.
  • Create strategic alliances where you can share missions, visions, values, and goals with other organizations.


What Leaders Do: Keeping People and Projects on Track

Thursday, April 15, 2021, 10:30 am

Presentation Slides: WindingProjectApr2021Final


Assignment/Required Pre-Work: Think about the times you have had the opportunity to work with a well-run team or on a successful project: People got along and were productive. What did the team and project leaders do to make that happen? Is there anything that you wish a leader would have done to make the workflow easier? Increase productivity? Please send your responses to Cole ( by April 5 so we can include them (anonymously) in the presentation.

Description: Ensuring the library achieves its strategic planning goals. Steering a committee of community volunteers who are providing support for a big event. Coordinating a weeding initiative. Ensuring that an ILS migration is pulled off under budget and on time.

Library leaders often are called upon to lead teams, maintain quality standards, and manage resources: deadlines, budgets, communications, and how team members treat each other.

Topics include building trust and respect, establishing timelines and benchmarks, making decisions in a timely fashion to eliminate bottlenecks, rewarding and acknowledging success, delegation, and providing the reality check when projects stall.


  • Provide oversight for projects, not micromanagement, meaning focus on achieving goals and allowing people to figure out how to get results.
  • Help your teams to establish standards for quality.
  • Make difficult decisions quickly, so the team can go back to work.
  • Delegate authority and responsibility to extend the library’s ability to get the work done beyond your fingertips


April 2021

Streamline for Success: Library Programs and Services Reboot

April 6, 9am-noon OR April 6, 2pm-5pm

April 20, 9am-noon OR April 20, 2pm-5pm

Presenter office hours (one-on-one follow-up to Streamline): May 11 & 12, Times TBA

6 Contact Hours

We all want our library services to be strong and strategic, but how do you ensure that your library is producing meaningful, intentional services that support your mission, rather than simply falling into the traps of “more is more” or “we’ve always done it this way”? This workshop will lead participants through perspectives on creating and implementing mission-driven library services.

Presenters: Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser (St. Paul Public Library) and Amy Koester (Skokie Public Library)

Co-sponsored by Wisconsin Library Systems and the Department of Public Instruction, with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in the form of Library Services and Technology Act funding.


Past Workshops/CE Opportunities

Continuing Education Opportunities- 2020

September Tech Days 2020 Online Online September 23 - 24 Learn from experts without having to travel — we've transformed our annual event from workshops to webinars! Tech Days 2020 is a series of 4 webinars over 2 days, and you may register here. You’ll find...

read more

Continuing Education Opportunities- 2019

Mango Languages WebinarRecording here: Contact HoursLearn all about this new resource WRLS is offering to all of it’s member libraries.   Biblioboard WebinarFebruary 7th, 2pm Register...

read more

Continuing Education Opportunities- 2018

Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference January 24 – 25, 2018–tracks.html   Media Literacy Programming  Jeff Rand and Lindsay Schmitt   February 8, 2018; 1:00pm – 3:30pm Join LPL librarians Jeff Rand and Lindsay Schmitt for...

read more

Continuing Education Opportunities- 2017

JANUARY January 25-26     Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference archives link to 2016 slides and recordings:–slides.html FEBRUARY February 23:  2016 Media Conversion Lab grant equipment demonstration and training Location: ...

read more

Continuing Education Opportunities- 2016

2016 WRLS Continuing Education and Conference Schedule   JANUARY January 20-21:     Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference archives link to slides and recordings:–slides.html   MARCH March 24:  Libraries Support...

read more