Why teach a CE class?

Why not?!

What I like most about being a librarian is the plethora of wonderful professional opportunities that are available, and today I’ll share with you the three main reasons why I decided to jump on the Continuing Education boat as an instructor this year. I wiill also briefly resume the CE approval process – it’s easier than you may think!

My first reason is economic. These are tough times for libraries – for instance, many medical librarians did not get funded to attend MLA’13. The situation is no different in Canadian health libraries; at Université de Montréal, extra budget cuts will be absorbed in part by the library network in the coming months. So becoming an instructor for a CE class is an interesting option to consider: in my case, most of my accomodation costs will be covered by the stipend.

My second argument is all about the challenge to try out something new every once in a while… embarking on a personal quest that will force you to leave your comfort zone and discover inner strengths. In January 2012, I resolved to accomplish three different things: write a peer-reviewed paper, raise $1500 for cancer research by running a 10k, and teach a CE class at MLA. I admit that I might have raised the bar a little (do pay attention to what is in your glass on New Year’s Eve), but nevertheless, I was able to achieve all three in the end. And the easiest challenge was definitely preparing the CE class!

A third reason to motivate a CE class proposal is the subject you are he most interested in. Although you are not likely to admit it, you may be an expert in a field, and there is a good probability that MLA would like you to share your knowledge with other medical librarians. After attending a CE class on bioinformatics myself a few years ago, I went on to start my own basic bioinformatics service: design a library guide, offer a workshop, advertise for specialized reference. So when CE proposals were open for MLA’13, I figured I could share my recent experience and advice. In the end, 15 people attended my class today, so I am quite happy that I could transmit most of the knowledge that  I have gathered so far on a quite complex topic.

Finally, the CE approval process was quite seamless. Once that a draft proposition was accepted last May, I had to submit a course schedule that was advertised in the MLA Educational Clearinghouse, and then prepared course materials over the following months.

So if you have been wondering about teaching a CE class yourself, I strongly encourage you to do so in the near future. Check out what classes are already available in the clearinghouse, and if you can bridge a gap, then you may jump on the CE boat too!