Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Professional Development

Professional development and continuing education resources for libraries.

Virtual Tools

Libraries are using these virtual tools and practices for staff meetings, communication, and training, as well as public programs, including live events as well as recorded programs. See below for guidelines and tips, as well as virtual tools for staff meetings and public programs - live and recorded.



Guidelines & Tips

Tools for Virtual Programs, Events & Communication

Besides social media, here are a few tools to consider (and many are free):

Zoom - Zoom Basic is free for one-to-one meetings for up to 24 hours; 40 minutes if you add more people; subscription rate for more. A limited number of Zoom subscriptions has been made available to Maryland public libraries and MLA. Each subscription includes Zoom Meeting (500 seats) and Zoom Webinar (500 seats). Here's a comparison - Zoom Meeting vs. Zoom Webinar. Both products can be streamed to either Facebook or YouTube. Zoom has free training and resources. Here are 7 Simple Zoom Tips.  Beware of Zoom Bombing - Zoom Privacy & Security and recognize that the alternatives can have issues too. Here are some great Zoom Webinar Tips. Zoom Audio and Music - How to Use Zoom Audio (Easy) and Zoom in Music Mode for Online Fitness Classes and Music Lessons (Advanced) - This can be used with Zoom to stream to multiple platforms at the same time. Pricing is here and there is a free version. Alternatively, both Zoom Meeting and Zoom Webinar include the capability to stream to either YouTube or Facebook. You can stream to one of these and record it, then post the recording to the other easily at no cost.

Blackboard Collaborate - Maryland State Library provides this online platform for public libraries and MLA to use at no charge. It can be used for meetings, training, and webinars for staff and public programs. Please contact your staff development coordinator for more information.

GoToMeeting and WebEx are offering a more generous free trial during the pandemic. Libraries are using these free accounts for book clubs and other programs. (FCC) and Uberconference offer free conference calling but also include online meeting capabilities including video and it is all free. FCC provides a capacity of up to 1,000 participants. Upgraded paid plans are also available.

Slack and Discord are two popular alternatives to email that provide a faster back channel for communication. Anyone with a Maryland library work email address can use the Maryland Libraries Statewide Slack site. This is a good place to get the word out on other Slack and Discord sites that could be of interest to others statewide. There's a new MD Library Makers Slack site where people are sharing how they are using 3D printers to make masks for the OpenWorks project. See this Freethink article on the project.

Crowdcast is a webinar platform where you can create your own channel of webinars and you can post them automatically to your own Crowdcast web page. They can be made public, private, and password protected. Prince George's County Memorial Library and Enoch Pratt Free Library have used it for many of their virtual events. It has the advantage of streaming to multiple platforms like YouTube and Facebook simultaneously. Crowdcast offers a free 2-week trial. Crowdcast requires registration and take a look at their privacy policy.

Facebook Messenger Rooms is new, free, and permits up to 50 people in a room for video chat. Libraries are using Facebook to share library programs, but this has not been used. This article discusses privacy concerns. Some libraries have enterprise accounts that include Google Hangouts Meet or Microsoft Teams. These two products are mostly being used for internal communication.

Asana - team project management

Development Tools

Screen Casting & Video Editing

Screencasting means recording your screen. This can include slides, web tours, video, etc.  Here are a few of the many tools available.

Movavi - Free video editor.  Full version pricing. 

Lightworks - Not as easy as Movavi but full version is free

Loom - Free and recommended by a staff development coordinator as easy

Adobe Spark - Edit videos for free in minutes.  Popular

TechSmith Capture (formerly Jing) - Popular and free.  The paid version is Camtasia.

Screencastomatic - cloud-based screen recorder and video editor - Easy and popular with library staff

YouTube Studio - You can do some video editing in YouTube

Animoto - Free version has watermark branding

Animotica - Free version includes watermark branding

OBS Studio - Screen recorder, streaming software, and video editor explained here because this is more advanced

Presentations & Design

Prezi - Cloud-based presentation software.  Free and paid versions

Canva - Online design software. Paid and free versions and all free for non-profits 

Images & Music

WebJunction course (free): How to Find Free & Legal (To Use) Images and Media Online

Pixaby - Free images and royalty-free stock

Pexels - Free stock photos and videos

Unsplash - Free images and pictures

BenSound - Royalty-free music

Interaction Tools

Kahoot - Learning games that can be used for public trivia programs as well as staff training

Quizlets - Create flashcards, games, quizzes.  Can be used in Blackboard and Zoom

Google Forms - Can be used to create games such as Escape Rooms and Choose Your Own Adventure

Flipgrids - Grids are the meeting place for your classroom, your school, your department or any learning community to discuss your Topics

Mural Tool for remote collaboration. This tool has been used in Zoom breakout rooms





Virtual Chat & Phone Apps

Virtual Chat and Phone Apps

Tawk - Free virtual chat tool.  Howard County Library System is using this tool for virtual chat with library customers.

LibChat - Springshare product so there is a fee.  Libraries such as Anne Arundel County Public Library and Enoch Pratt Free Library are using this tool to provide chat services.  It includes an option to use video chat via Zoom. 

Google Voice - Free phone app for mobile devices. A Voice number works on smart phones and the web so that you can make and receive calls from anywhere.

Zoom Phone - Free Zoom phone app provides you with a Zoom phone number that can be used on any mobile device.  You can accept any phone call, but you can only dial out to someone with a Zoom phone app. Some libraries are participating in a project funded by the Maryland State Library to provide paid Zoom phone licenses to support more advanced phone features as needed.


This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.