"Initiative for Continuing Education in Academic and Research-Oriented Special Libraries and Related Institutions" ("Initiative Fortbildung für wissenschaftliche Spezialbibliotheken und verwandte Einrichtungen e.V.")
The significance of continuing education in the rapidly, often unpredictably, changing workplace necessitates increased attention in Germany. A well-grounded professional degree no longer guarantees long-term career perspectives: creativity, innovation and flexibility set the conditions for success. A person's future in the world of work will be influenced primarily by one's own initiative and self-determination. A broad spectrum of knowledge and skills must be achieved and kept up-to-date in order to maintain employability (under the motto: employability vs. employment).
Continuing education is especially important where traditional training programmes do not sufficiently prepare a person for the professional demands experienced every day. This is often the reality for those librarians and information workers to whom we direct our continuing education offerings.
The "Initiative for Continuing Education in Academic and Research-Oriented Special Libraries and Related Institutions" ("Initiative Fortbildung für wissenschaftliche Spezialbibliotheken und verwandte Einrichtungen e.V.") focusses precisely on this goal. This "Initiative ..." was founded in direct response to the closing of the German Library Institute and with it, the Consultancy Office for Special Libraries. The services offered by this Consultancy Office in the past, known for their high quality, will of necessity be terminated in the near future. Since it is not clear if such services can be offered by another institution, the "Initiative ..." sees its calling in being - at least in part - the logical successor of this Consultancy Office.
Nevertheless, the innovative potential which is inherent in every transitional situation must be captured and utilized. Thus, we will interpret the traditional concept of continuing education much more broadly than was ever possible in the past. In addition, the range of target groups will be expanded: our programme can be effective for staff members in archives, information centres, museums, special libraries, etc., as well as for information brokers and for colleagues who are currently unemployed and who would like to gain new skills for one of the various areas of information work.
Input and feedback from continuous interaction with the target groups and an additional market analysis will enable the "Initiative ..." to identify precisely those topics and issues which can then be customized to produce qualitatively excellent continuing education programmes. In this respect, the "Initiative ..." also provides a barometer for exploiting new professional ideas and developments, including those from abroad, re-interpreting them for use in the German context, and thereby also promoting collaborative ventures. Thus, our goal is not just to fill the gaps of inadequate or outdated training, but rather to also enable the participants to qualify themselves for tasks in new contexts, to stimulate innovative thinking and action, to practise new models of behaviour and much more! In short, we specifically strive to facilitate lifelong, strategic learning.