SJSU SLIS Team Shares New Framework for Training Library and Museum Professionals


In October 2011, a group of library and museum leaders from 31 countries gathered for five days in Salzburg, Austria to explore Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture. During the seminar, the leaders identified the need to develop a new framework for training library and museum professionals in today’s technology-enhanced, participatory world.

One workgroup was tasked with creating the new curricular framework, now known as the Salzburg Curriculum, and Dr. Michael Stephens, an assistant professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University (SJSU), is currently working on strategies to share the Salzburg Curriculum.

Stephens, who serves as project director for the Salzburg Curriculum initiative, developed and launched the Salzburg Curriculum website, where stakeholders can explore the curriculum and continue the discussion regarding how to update education for library and museum professionals. The curriculum, envisioned by leaders during the Salzburg seminar, focuses on six topics and describes skillsets related to each topic.

Melissa Arjona, a graduate student at the SJSU information school, helped Stephens develop the website. “One of my favorite things about the website is its numerous videos that explore the different ways the curriculum might be applied,” said Arjona. “The videos make it clear that there’s a lot of room for creativity and ongoing dialogue.”

Stephens is enthusiastic about the project’s goal of helping educators explore the framework and consider incorporating it into their own programs. He hopes the curriculum “will inform and guide the evolution of educational programs far and wide.”

“The era of participatory culture demands that cultural and information professionals play an active, visible role in our communities,” said Stephens, writing about the Salzburg seminar in his Library Journal Office Hours column. According to Stephens, cultural institutions should inspire people to participate in creating, curating, and sharing knowledge. His own courses at the SJSU information school explore the participatory service model and its implications for libraries and information professionals.

Stephens is also working to share the Salzburg Curriculum with stakeholders via presentations at professional conferences. In January 2014, he presented a paper titled “Participatory and Transformative Engagement in Libraries and Museums: Exploring and Expanding the Salzburg Curriculum” at the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) conference in Philadelphia. He is currently working on an expanded version of that paper with co-authors Dr. David Lankes and Arjona.

The Salzburg Curriculum initiative is funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Salzburg Global Seminar.