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Innovating Staff-led Professional Development Using the Learning Circles Model
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Innovating Staff-led Professional Development Using the Learning Circles Model​
Regional Conference.
July 30, 2020

The presenters will discuss the process of developing and instituting the Learning Circles model as an innovative, learner-driven means of staff professional development and informal educational programming for the public. The presenters will reflect on their experiences facilitating learning circles for various courses offered through the MDPLS’s training department since Fall 2018. The reflections will incorporate feedback from past learning circle participants, and will review the programs’ successes, course completion rates, and lessons learned for future facilitation. The presentation includes information for replicating and scaling the model for training purposes and for public programs to libraries for systems of any type and size.   Expected learning outcomes include that attendees will:     Comprehend the peer-to-peer learning circle method. Be able to replicate the model presented to generate successful and enhanced professional development opportunities for their library. Be able to translate the learning circle method into public-facing programs for their library.

Athanasia (Athy) Fitos is a librarian and branch manager for the Kendall Lakes and Lakes of the Meadows libraries in the Miami-Dade Public Library System. She has over 12 years of experience working in academic, special, and public libraries. Athy is completed the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute in 2019 using the Learning Circles as Staff Development Program as her final project. She is interested in promoting continuing education and instructional design for library staff, innovative library programming, advocacy, and finding new means of doing community outreach. She has also completed the Consumer Health Information Specialization ( CHIS Levels I & II) and well as the advanced level Disaster Information Specialization (DIS) through the Medical Library Association/National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Athy is also very engaged and active in committee work with multiple professional organizations.

Montgomery Lopez has been a YA librarian for the Miami-Dade Public Library System since 2008 and currently works at the Coral Reef Branch Library. He is the host of two personal podcasts- The Monster Sci-Fi Show and The Page 49. His work has been featured at past SEFLIN Conference Techspaces in 2013 and 2014 for Podcasting 101 and Creating Comics, an along with David Hildenbrand and Joshua Stone  has presented Podcasting with Librarians: From our Shelves to your Ears at the SEFLIN 2017 Conference. Monty has facilitated 3 learning circles for staff development and is working to translate the model to public programming at his branch.

Jonathan Quiñones is a librarian at the Miami-Dade Public Library System at the Allapattah Branch Library for 3 years. He came to MDPLS from prior employment at Broward Public Libraries, and completed the MLIS in May 2020. Jonathan had facilitated a learning circle for staff to completed the Consumer Health Information Specialization and achieves specialization during this facilitation. He is renowned as a resident DJ in the library system, hosting a monthly radio show on the internet station Jolt Radio.


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