VALA2022 Online Session 13 Zanders

The overnight transition to online training: observations and opportunities in GLAM professional development


Thursday 16 June 2022, 12:00 – 12:30

Tony Zanders
  • Founder and CEO
  • Skilltype Inc
Sara Davidsson
  • Member Services Coordinator
  • CAVAL Ltd

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Read the paper here:


In this paper, authors from both CAVAL and Skilltype summarise threats to professional development that preceded the COVID-19 pandemic and how the sudden shift to a fully online environment exacerbated them. Two categories of challenges emerged: technological and economic. While the economic constraints were mostly out of each organisation’s control, the authors investigated the role technology could play in helping libraries and library staff gain access to the expertise they need at the right time. The authors will share how the pandemic provided a lens into what libraries and library workers should expect as the new normal this decade.


Tony Zanders is an award-winning software entrepreneur and library technology executive. He currently serves as the founder and CEO of Skilltype — a software platform for information professionals and their teams to analyze, develop, and share expertise. He also serves as the inaugural entrepreneur in residence at the Boston University Libraries. In this role, Zanders provides executive counsel to the University Librarian during the academic strategic planning process while designing and implementing new approaches to recruitment, retention, and training that produce elite performance for the University and its Libraries. Zanders is the first EIR in the Libraries’ history. Zanders has a proven track record of helping research libraries develop innovative solutions to leverage technology within the research workflow. Zanders bought libraries from Camelback Ventures, where he served as Entrepreneur In Residence, working with black and brown founders on company strategy. Before Camelback, Zanders was Vice President of Global Customer Development at EBSCO, where he advised libraries on software integrations across more than 30 countries. While at EBSCO, Zanders played an instrumental role in the company’s participation in the FOLIO community consulting over a dozen of the community’s early partners on service models. Zanders also has served as Director of Customer Development at Ex Libris, a ProQuest company. While there, he was the liaison to the Ex Libris Users of North America (ELUNA) and was responsible for community engagement with the Ex Libris Alma development partners and early adopter community.

Sara Davidsson’s current role as Member Services Coordinator at CAVAL Ltd., gives her the opportunity to advocate within areas that are close to her heart. Professional development for staff, the importance of learning, education and literacy in the academic and wider community, as well as facilitating a welcoming environment for new industry professionals are some examples of what drives Sara. After a couple of career changes, Sara believes that she has found her true match in the library and information industry. She is currently serving as Secretary on the ALIA Community of Resource Description (ACORD) Advisory Committee. This provides a chance for her to continue to nerd out on all things resource description, as this is where she kick-started her library career. Previous studies and volunteer roles also highlight Sara’s interest in languages, history, the environment and animal welfare.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License