Library board approved October 22, 2019.
The purpose of this policy is to provide library employees with professional development opportunities that increase their knowledge, skills, and abilities to enhance their contributions to the library and to the profession. It is an investment in library employees and their capacity to meet the current and future needs of the Oak Park community.
We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession, and by working to achieve racial and social equity.
I. Tuition Grants
All library employees are encouraged to continue their education by pursuing a degree or taking individual courses at accredited educational institutions. The library will award tuition grants to individuals whose applications have been approved. The awards made during a given year will depend on available library funds.
The following will apply in the awarding of tuition grants:
- Employees who have been employed with the library for at least six (6) months and are scheduled to work at least fifteen (15) hours per week are eligible to apply.
- The relevance of the course to the vision, mission, and strategic direction of the library will be considered.
- Each person receiving a tuition grant must present evidence of satisfactory completion of the course. Depending on the circumstances, the employee may be required to repay the amount of the grant to the library if the course is not completed.
- Employees may be required to sign individual agreements to receive funds under this policy.
II. External Professional Development Activities
All library employees are encouraged to attend webinars, workshops, seminars, conferences, or exhibits. The library supports employee participation in these activities and allocates funds to be used for approved travel and registration expenses. Approval of a request is subject to the availability of funds.
III. Internal Professional Development Activities
All library employees are encouraged to attend onsite learning opportunities. The library supports utilizing staff knowledge and expertise as inhouse speakers and presenters. When needed, the library will bring in outside experts to present information on required topics and strategic areas of interest.
IV. Professional Association Memberships
All library employees are encouraged to participate in job-related membership associations. With approval, the library will pay for annual memberships in such a professional, civic, or community-wide organization for requesting employees. Approval of a request is subject to the availability of funds.