Library staff learning surges on WebJunction amid COVID-19 closures


As libraries have closed their physical spaces and adapted services to remote work, we’ve seen library staff spend more time than ever on professional development and online learning. In a poll conducted during the recent OCLC virtual town hall, 81% of attendees reported that they have engaged in more professional development since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a free resource open to all, WebJunction has long been “the learning place for libraries.” But the increase that we’ve seen in time spent learning on between March and April 2020 has been, put simply, extraordinary.


wj graph

March and April saw a record-setting spike in WebJunction Course Catalog usage (650% increase in users and 1,791% increase in hours spent learning). In fact, we had approximately as many learners in WebJunction’s catalog in the month of April alone as we had during all of last year.

When we saw this massive spike in activity, we wanted to know what type of learning content was most used by library staff during this time.

WebJunction’s 10 most engaged online learning topics during COVID-19 library closures were:

  1. Dealing with Angry Patrons
  2. Dealing with the Difficult Patrons”?
  3. Being Customer-Focused: New and Emerging Trends in Customer Service
  4. Cultivating Protective Factors for Safe Libraries and Resilient Communities
  5. Service Excellence in Challenging Times?
  6. Extreme Customer Service, Every Time?”
  7. Creating a Culture of Yes at Your Library and in Your Community”?
  8. Readers’ Advisory Services
  9. Reducing Workplace Stress with Mindfulness?
  10. Accompanying the Young Reader: Helping to Choose Appropriate Books”?

Interestingly, we noticed a definite trend toward customer service topics in this top 10 list. During this time where “normal” services have been disrupted and communities (and library systems) are unsure of what is coming next, library staff are expanding their customer service skills to help serve patrons who are experiencing challenging circumstances.

Library workers are investing heavily in professional development time during the COVID-19 crisis. #OCLCNext Click To Tweet

OCLC has seen increased learning activity across many of our virtual professional development resources. For additional free professional development opportunities, explore the WebJunction course catalog and take a look at some of the resources below:

Listen—OCLC webinars

Watch and engage—Our Distinguished Seminar Series

Read and explore—OCLC Research

In addition, OCLC provides recordings all of its past product demonstrations, best practices, and webinars all in one place.

What professional development training resources are you finding most helpful during quarantine? Share a link on Twitter with our hashtag, #OCLCnext, and we’ll pass them along to our readers.