September 16, 2014

Grant To Support OCLC WebJunction For Five Years

From

A $4.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support the ongoing operations of library resource and training center WebJunction, OCLC has announced.

Founded in 2002 and launched the following year with grant funding from the Gates Foundation, WebJunction’s training resources, programs, and content have since been used by staff in almost 70 percent of U.S. libraries, and have helped more than 70,000 library staff members enhance their job skills, according to OCLC.

“Since 2002, we have worked with OCLC to ensure that public libraries—especially small and rural public libraries—have had the resources they need to be portals to vital information,” Deborah Jacobs, director of the Global Libraries division of the Gates Foundation, said in a release. “Together, our goal has been to equip these libraries with the technologies and skills needed to change lives and strengthen communities through access to information.”

From July 2011 through June 2012, staff enrolled in more than 19,000 courses via WebJunction, and more than 17,000 staff members registered for 26 free webinar programs offered on hot topics in the library profession, according to OCLC.

Noting that librarians must keep their skills current to respond to the evolving needs of patrons, Sharon Streams, senior manager, community services for Webjunction, said, “managing staff training can be expensive, inconvenient, and difficult to fund and maintain. With WebJunction, OCLC partners with state library and other service agencies to provide cost-effective training and staff development programs that are convenient to access and easy to manage.”

Currently, 18 state library agencies partner with OCLC to offer their members sponsored access to self-paced courses and other localized training content through WebJunction.org.

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Matt Enis About Matt Enis

Matt Enis (menis@mediasourceinc.com; @matthewenis on Twitter) is Associate Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

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