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The North Carolina Library Association (NCLA) values everyone’s attendance at our events. We strive to provide a welcoming, safe, and supportive environment where participants may learn, network and share information with colleagues in an atmosphere of mutual respect. To that end, we request that attendees abide by the ALA Statement of Appropriate Conduct at our biennial conference and other association sponsored events. If you experience or witness something that you feel is in violation of this code of conduct, please contact Mike Crumpton at 919-271-6812 or Lorrie Russell at 336-307-0930. If you wish to report something anonymously, please use this form.

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Friday, October 18 • 9:30am - 10:20am
With friends like these…: The role of critical friends in professional development

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A critical friend is typically a colleague who is supportive but is also willing to provide honest feedback. The concept of critical friends is grounded largely in the K-12 education literature and can take the form of professional learning communities or one-on-one relationships. Both of these forms of critical friendship can be beneficial to librarians as well. Professional learning communities are discussed widely in the library literature, and are most common in academic and school libraries where they often include professors and teachers in addition to librarians. PLCs can be a great way to bring together a group of colleagues in any type of library to discuss a common topic. In this informal environment, colleagues with a common interest have the opportunity to provide support and feedback for new ideas.
The one-on-one critical friendship is a relationship where two or more colleagues feel empowered to support one another while also offering constructive feedback. Critical friends can observe each other teaching, providing customer service, or doing a program and offer encouragement and feedback. They can also be a sounding board for new ideas. This relationship is built on mutual trust and exists apart from formal evaluation structures.


Amy Harris Houk

Department Head, Research, Outreach, and Instruction, UNC Greensboro
avatar for Jenny Dale

Jenny Dale

Information Literacy Coordinator, UNC Greensboro

Friday October 18, 2019 9:30am - 10:20am EDT
Salem 1A