Webinar Round-up: Preparing For Post-COVID Professional Development With Skilltype

On 29 October 2020, Tony Zanders (founder and CEO) introduced how Skilltype can assist libraries and information professionals with job skill analysis and development to “future-proof” our profession. Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tony stayed up late to present this webinar to LAS. We also wish to thank Yale-NUS College for sponsoring the Zoom platform.

So, what is Skilltype?

Skilltype is a talent marketplace for information professionals and their teams to analyse, grow, and share expertise. It is perceived as “LinkedIn for librarians,” except that it isn’t!

For librarians and paraprofessionals, Skilltype aggregates global conference and professional association content. It surfaces the most relevant resources and opportunities based on your interests.

Skilltype aims to build the most comprehensive professional development in library and information science (LIS) by adopting three approaches:

  1. Aggregate conference and professional association content globally
  2. Integrate subscription content from employers and membership organisations
  3. Crowdsource new content from presenters and experts

Tony reminded us that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many large gatherings being cancelled and our travel prohibited. Going to a conference used to be the most popular way to gain new skills, but our workshops and meetings have now moved online. We have since seen our budgets cut and our hiring frozen. Therefore, the focus has switched from recruiting for skill sets to adding expertise to the existing team.

Now available in Singapore

Skilltype has added Singapore as a user and organisation locale and Singaporean organisations to their database. Please let us know if your organisation is missing as the list is not exhaustive.

LAS can now identify skills gaps among local library staff

LAS Training & Development Committee wants to use Skilltype to “deliver the right resources to [the] right people at [the] right time”. For a start, after our members populate their profiles, LAS will be able to aggregate skills across our membership.

The image above illustrates the current Insights page, toggling between Interests, Product Experience, and Skills. The more members update their profiles and include LAS in their organizational affiliation on Skilltype, the better and more accurate representation we will have. LAS will be able to describe with confidence its members’ areas of expertise.

This insight allows our Training & Development team to work on:

  • Identifying members with expertise in specific skills and product experience, so we understand our membership’s strengths. For example, Cisco WebEx vs Zoom, or Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams;
  • Organising and facilitating workshops that cater to our members’ interests and upskilling needs;
  • We are working together with the LAS Council to select strategic priorities to align members and our profession towards a specific direction, to reflect LAS as a learning organisation.

Industry-specific skills

By catering to information professionals, Skilltype can suggest industry-specific skills and products that would seem out of place for LinkedIn. While completing your profile, there are many auto-suggestions for skills and interests such as classification, discovery, and product experience like Alma.

What happens if you leave your organisation? Your Skilltype account stays with you – just remember to change your email address! You decide which organisations you wish to associate your profile with to determine which organisation has view-access to your profile data.

There’s no social component (for now)

Skilltype was not designed to be a social network like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. There was a conscious decision to exclude social features such as chat or messaging. However, it could appear on the roadmap if the Skilltype community clamours for it.

There are other unexplored but potential benefits – such as using Skilltype as a recruitment platform to identify potential candidates at our institutional member level.

Is Skilltype free?

Skilltype is free for library associations like LAS because it is in early development stages, having just gone into production in early 2020. Skilltype aims for a collaborative relationship, which means they expect feedback from us to shape how the platform develops.

However, organisations such as the University of Cincinnati, Michigan State University, Tulane University, Gonzaga University, and Wayne State University are early adopters funding the development of Skilltype.

If your organisation or library is interested in using Skilltype, you are welcome to contact Tony Zanders directly at tony@skilltype.com.

Akan Datang: Skilltype Professional Development Network

Skilltype has just kicked off a 12-month R&D initiative, called the Skilltype Professional Development Network, or SPDN. The primary goal of SPDN is to engage in a radical rethinking of how training and development is managed end-to-end using the Skilltype platform.

The program consists of monthly virtual engagements with a cohort of roughly a dozen diverse training and professional development providers from around the world working through issues related to producing, distributing, monetising, and measuring training content.

LAS is proud to be involved in this community and commitment to providing up-to-date maintenance of our organisation’s training content on the Skilltype platform. Other community members include Ithaka S&R, CAVAL, Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L), LYRASIS, Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL), & Black Caucus American Library Association.

We will play an active role in shaping the direction of Skilltype’s content distribution and measurement offering. Tony assured us that there is a strong global audience for Singapore’s professional development content!


Here are the slides from the webinar:

Slideshttp://bit.ly/las-skilltype-slides

LAS members should have received an exclusive invitation to Skilltype from no-reply@skilltype.com with an invite code. Check your junk or spam folder too. If you are still experiencing difficulties registering or logging in, please contact the Training & Development Committee at training@las.org.sg. You can invite your colleagues also: go to Settings and look under Invite Colleagues!


Contributed by:
LAS Training & Development Committee
Edward Lim and Low Jiaxin