By Gina de Alwis Jayasuriya*
In January 2019, a study on “Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Academic Librarians in Selected Asian Countries” was initiated. The pilot study conducted in the Republic of Maldives was completed in 2020. A team of LIS researchers in Thailand are now studying the status of “CPD for academic librarians in Thailand”. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic the CPD study is progressing, though on a smaller scale.
(9 Nov 2021) Throughout my career as a librarian, I have been very passionate about continuing professional development (CPD) and have strongly advocated for lifelong learning. Since I also love travelling, making a decision on how I would use my time in the third phase of my life was a simple and straightforward decision.
In January 2019, I initiated a study on “Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Academic Librarians in Selected Asian Countries” to be carried out in collaboration with LIS professionals, library associations, or library schools in the respective countries. The aim of the study is to understand the status of CPD activities in the selected countries from the two-dimensional perspective of LIS professionals and LIS training providers. Two data collection techniques were identified for use — a self-administered online survey and follow-up interviews. I envisaged that some minor changes would likely need to be made to the scope of the study and the survey questionnaires to suit local situations. In-country coordination of the project is managed by a local counterpart. Two project advisors support the study.
The pilot study was conducted in the Republic of Maldives from 2019 to 2020. Maldives was selected for the pilot study for two reasons:
(a) limited research had been done on the LIS sector at a national level, and
(b) the absence of any research on CPD for capacity building of LIS employees.
One key modification made to the pilot study was to extend the study population to cover all types of libraries as the Maldives library sector is made up of very few academic libraries but more of school libraries. The pilot study was a collaboration with the Maldives National University and the local project counterpart was Assistant Professor Aminath Riyaz who leads the library and information management discipline in the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences.
The findings of the pilot study were disseminated through the following publications:
De Alwis Jayasuriya G, Riyaz A, Majid S, Prabu, N.
Library employees’ perspective of capacity building through continuing professional development (CPD) in the Republic of Maldives. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science. https://www.utpjournals.press/doi/abs/10.3138/jelis-2020-0002
De Alwis Jayasuriya G, Riyaz A, Majid S.
A review of the library and information science profession in the Maldives: Development, challenges and opportunities. IFLA Journal. https://doi.org/10.1177/03400352211031577
De Alwis Jayasuriya G, Riyaz A, Majid S. (2021)
Library’s role in supporting SDGs in a SMART world: the reality in the Republic of Maldives: paper presented at International Knowledge Conference 2021 (IKC2021), Sarawak State Library, 12 to 13 August, 2021.
De Alwis Jayasuriya G, Riyaz A, Majid S. (2021)
LIS capacity building through continuing professional development (CPD) in the Republic of Maldives: poster presented at ALA 2021 Virtual.
The research project has since been extended to Thailand and is led by Prof. Dr. Chutima Sacchanand, Program in Information Science, School of Liberal Arts, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University. The other members of the research team are Dr. Malivan Praditteera, Director, Rangsit University Library; Ms. Wararak Pattanakiatpong, Director, Chiang Mai University Library; and, Orpan P, Chiang Mai University Library. The team has to date completed the survey and data analysis phases and is now in the process of documenting the findings.
Despite COVID-19 disruptions the research project is ongoing, though on a smaller scale than originally planned. For more information please email [email protected].
*Dr. Gina de Alwis Jayasuriya is an Independent Researcher with over four decades of experience in academic and special libraries in Singapore and Sri Lanka. She is very passionate about promoting continuing professional development (CPD) and lifelong learning to library professionals and advocates upskilling and reskilling to stay relevant. In 2019, she launched a research project on “Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for LIS Professionals in selected Asian Countries” which is ongoing. She holds a PhD in Information Studies from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She has presented at numerous conferences and has several publications to her credit. She resides in Singapore. Email: [email protected].