Professional Development Scheme (PDS)

The Professional Development Scheme (PDS) recognizes the effort and achievements of librarians in their continuous professional training and development effort. The award of “Practicing Professional (PP)” is given to librarians who have attained a prescribed level of training and professional development activities within a 2-year period. LAS will confer the award to individuals on the recommendation of the PDS Board and their names are published in this site with the expiry date in brackets.

Employers can use this as an indicator of a librarian’s ability in keeping up with the rapid changes in our field and his/her likelihood of performing their job competently. Employers are encouraged to use the scheme as part of their performance appraisal process and for recruiting middle and senior level professional staff.

Benefits of the Practicing Professional status

For Individuals

Gaining Practicing Professional status will enable them to show their employers or potential employers that they have engaged in a systematic programme of continuous professional development and training expected of any modern professional. For some major organizations, the attainment of PP status may be tied to promotion considerations, career advancement and successful job applications.

For Libraries

PDS scheme provides a useful framework to encourage all librarians to engage in continuing training and professional development in a systematic and consistent manner. The scheme can dovetail with any existing staff development scheme easily. The attainment of PP status by staff member can be used as a pre-requisite for recruitment, promotion and incentive scheme for achieving higher professionalism and productivity. One useful feature of the PDS is that it takes into account non-training activities such as publishing, self-study, professional reading, participation in community projects, etc., which are important component of professional development and which are not normally considered as training activities in an organization’s staff training programme.

For Parent Bodies of Libraries

PDS scheme provides an industry standard in terms of what it takes to be recognized as sufficient effort in continuing professional development for librarians. Employers of librarians now have a common yardstick to determine the professional development effort undertaken by existing as well as potential employees. Also, unlike staff training schemes in an organization, whereby a person’s training record is kept in-house and is specific to the organization, the PP certification is portable and can be used wherever the person works.

Application Procedure

The PDS scheme is designed to be simple for applicants to register and for LAS to administer. Applicants only need to follow the 4 simple steps below:

  1. Be familiar with the types of professional development activities that qualify for endorsement by PDS.
  2. Engage in these activities. Keep proper records.
  3. Once you achieved the minimum activities required for the qualifying period, submit the form online.
  4. Your applications will be assessed and verified by the PDS committee. Applicants can choose one of two options in verifying the activities that they engaged in:
  • Public display: Upon acceptance of application by the PDS Board, the activities form for each application will be made available for public viewing for 2 weeks at the LAS website. Applicants need not submit any supporting documentation to prove the undertaking of the activities stated. If no queries and objections are raised by LAS members on the accuracy of the information submitted within one month, the award will be confirmed. The forms will be removed for viewing after 2 weeks.
  • No display: If applicant does not wish to make their activities form public, they must provide proof of attendance for all activities. Documentation for verification can include certification by Head of Library, evidence of attendance from event provider, payment receipts, etc.

After assessment and verification, the PDS team will recommend your application to the LAS Council for the award of Practicing Professional status. Your name will be listed in the LAS website for a period of 2 years.

Applicants may appeal to the LAS Council in case of any disputes on the award of the Practicing Professional status. The decision of the LAS Council after the appeal will be final.

Applicants must be fully paid-up professional member of LAS at the point of application to have their applications considered.

Follow the link to fill up the online PDS form here. Please ensure you have all documentation ready before you begin your application. Email any clarifications to

Qualifying for the Award of Practicing Professional (PP)

To qualify for the PP award, an applicant must fulfil ALL the following conditions:

  1. Engage in at least 12 professional development activities in the 2-year qualification period.
  2. Engage in activities from a minimum of 3 out of 4 groups (A, B, C, and D) listed below
  3. At least 2 of these activities must be from Group A (Compulsory)

The types of valid activities remain largely the same, except that it is now limited to those clearly defined by Groups A, B, C and D without needing ad-hoc clarifications on their appropriateness or relevance. This does not mean that activities outside of those listed in the Groups do not contribute to a member’s professional development.

This approach is taken to minimize administrative work in managing the scheme due to manpower constraints in LAS. It is important to bear in mind that the PDS qualification certifies the minimum engagement in activities. Most qualified members would have engaged in more activities than prescribed.

Acceptable PDS Activities

There are many activities that contribute to a member’s professional growth and development that are not covered in this PDS list. The Board has decided to recognise only the stated activities which are representative of different types of professional development for the sole purpose of efficient administration of the scheme. Otherwise, the voluntary assessors will not be able to cope with assessing all types of variants in professional development activities.

The following are some guidelines to help applicants to decide on the activities that are admissible under each of the 4 categories.


A1.     Study visit to other libraries, LIS-related organizations and organisations related to field of work (local and overseas). Duration of at least one day.

Library or organisation study visits that involve interaction between the host organisation and the visitor/s organized on an official basis. Casual visits should not be included.

A2.     Participate in an internship or exchange programme

This refers to internship in another library/organisation other than the place where the applicant works. This includes any length of stay in another library, local or overseas as long as it is an official programme organized by applicant’s library.

A3.     Participate as committee member of LAS or any LIS related professional body (including conference organising committees, ad-hoc committees, etc.)

  • Applicant must be a member of Council, committee or sub-committee of LAS for at least 6 months to count this as an activity.
  • Continuation of service in a committee for subsequent year will be counted as a separate activity.
  • Membership of an LAS ad-hoc committee (e.g. conference organization committee) can also be counted as an activity as long as the applicant completes the term of service or for at least 6 months, whichever is lesser.
  • Serving on boards and committees of recognized regional and international library organizations and associations is also recognized.
  • Individuals who carry out project work or ad-hoc profession-related assignments (e.g. as Internal Auditor) initiated by the LAS Council can count the work as an activity in this category as long as the activity lasts at least 6 months.

A4.     Participate in activities organized by LAS (e.g. AGM, LAS Conferences, learning journeys by LAS etc.)

  • This refers to participation in events organized by LAS, e.g. AGM, annual dinner, social gatherings, talks and visits to non-library venues and events.
  • Each event attended is counted as one activity.


B1.     Participate in a conference, course, workshop, forum or talk on LIS and related areas as audience, chair, panel speaker or speaker. This include internally organized professional activities.

  • The event should be organized or jointly organized by recognized institutions and organizations in Singapore or overseas. These include the Library Association of Singapore, other recognized national or state library and information associations, recognized libraries, reputable educational institutions, recognized training companies and library and information services vendors.
  • In-house training courses to develop and upgrade professional skills and knowledge in library and information work organized by the applicant’s library are acceptable activities. However on-the-job and orientation training to equip staff to perform his/her specific job cannot be included.
  • Applicants whose work involves responsibilities for subject librarianship or specific industry information work may count attending conferences and courses on these subject areas or industry sector (organized by non-library organizations) as a valid PDS activity.

B2.     Participate in e-learning course, webinar, or online conference on LIS and related areas

  • E-learning and online courses must be related to LIS or allied disciplines.
  • Events must have a minimum duration of 1 hour for it to be considered as a valid PDS activity.

B3.     Participate in product/services training, briefing, updates & demonstrations by vendor

Include here all activities such as training, product/services briefing, updates, demonstrations conducted by vendors within the applicant’s library or in other premises, organized by the vendor, libraries or LAS.


C1.     Contribute written paper, presentation or poster at a conference, as single or joint author

  • The paper should be related to LIS or allied subjects.
  • The conference or seminar should be organized or jointly organized by recognized institutions and organizations related to library work or allied subjects and held in Singapore or overseas.
  • Individuals who conduct information sharing sessions on their experience and participation in LIS conferences and other professional activities at their library or other in formal settings for at least 30 minutes can count this as a PDS activity.

C2.     Publish book, book chapter or scholarly article in refereed journal or publication as single or joint author, or serve as editor of book or journal publication

  • The work must be related to LIS or allied subjects
  • The journal must be a peer-reviewed publication and book must not be self-published

C3.     Write 1 article of >1,000 words, or 3 short articles of >300 words each, in a published magazine, newsletter, blog, or personal commentary on LIS

  • The work must be related to LIS or allied subjects.
  • Article should be published in journals, magazines, newsletters or any serial publications in print, or on an official website or blog of recognized libraries, related organizations or publishers.

C4.     Develop course materials for LIS and related industries, with courses and materials made available to LAS members

Any activity relating to developing materials solely for in-house training is not accepted as a PDS activity. If, however, the course and courseware is made available to general LIS audience and/or LAS members, it can be considered as a PDS activity.


D1.     Professional reading as evidenced by certified reading log (24 items per year)

Applicant should show proof of reading undertaken by submitting ONE of the following:

  1. A log of professional reading done during the qualifying period. As a guide, the log should contain at least 24 items per year, with no more than 8 fiction titles.
  2. Postings on personal blog with comments on their professional reading (as a guide, should have a least 10 postings per year)

D2.     Participation in study group or reading circle registered with LAS (per year)

  • Reading group must be registered with LAS (see guide below)
  • Applicant must attend at least 4 sessions of the reading group

See Guide on Reading Groups below

D3.     Independent learning project with documentation (per year)

  • An independent learning project is defined as a systematic effort in building knowledge and expertise on a particular topic by self-directed means (i.e. without attending formal courses or instruction).
  • The learning project should be related to LIS topics.
  • Documentation of learning can be in any form that shows evidence of effort taken.

Guide on Reading Groups

1. What is a Reading Group?

A reading group comprises a small group of people who meet regularly to discuss some common areas of interest or issues. For the purpose of recognition by PDS, the reading group should confine their areas of interest to issues relating to library and information work.

2.  Purpose of a Reading Group?

The purpose of a reading group is to help members keep up-to-date or acquire expertise or knowledge in a specific area of their profession. Participation in a reading group can help members gain better grasp of the areas of interest through sharing varied viewpoints and promote better networking and self-help among members.

3. How to form a Reading Group?

A reading group can be formed by any group of librarians either from within an organization or across organizations. To ensure that members have opportunities to participate actively, the group should not exceed 8 people. Members can decide on how to structure their group and activities. Some suggestions are given below.

  • Group specific.
    • The group (or a member) selects an article or book to discuss
    • All members read the article/book before coming together for discussion
    • Discussion of article/book could revolve around the following: clarifying and interpretation, raising pertinent issues arising from the reading, reflection leading to further reading or written work.
  • Topic specific.
    • Group focus on specific topical areas, either broad or specific
    • The group (or a member) selects a topic to discuss and assign each member of the group to investigate an aspect of the topic
    • Each member of the group than take turns to present their findings from reading of the topic followed by discussion

4.       How to register a reading group with PDS?

Form your reading group, decide on a group name and appoint a leader or contact person.

Register the group by sending an email with the following details to the Professional Development Committee at

Details required:

1.Name of Group
2.Purpose of Group (optional)
3.Nature of group (Same organization; Across organization)
4.Names of participants
5.Leader/contact person
6.Date initiated
7.Proposed meeting frequency
  • Carry out your reading circle activities. It is suggested that the group meet at least once every 2 months or more frequently.
  • If you already had a reading group during the qualifying period, you may also register retrospectively.
  • In order to qualify as a PDS activity, the group must meet at least 4 times per year.