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Professional Development

Frequently Asked Questions 


  1. What are professional development funds?
    • Library staff or employees who have satisfactorily passed their probationary period can apply for funds to attend professional development activities. Examples of such activities include: workshops, classes, conferences, trainings, online courses, and other educational activities. We encourage all to submit applications for professional development opportunities, as final fund distribution decisions lie with the committee.

    • Professional Development funds cannot be granted or used towards the completion of MLS degree requirements and will not be used for attendance at events required by the University or employee’s supervisor. Additional opportunities not listed here will be reviewed by the Staff Development Committee.

  2. How do I apply for a professional development (OPE) fund?


    • Professional Development Funds are issued on a first-come first-served basis (e.g., in order of receipt of application form approved by supervisor, eligibility status, first-time applicant, priority given to staff members who had not been funded the previous year) to eligible applicants each year until depleted. The earlier you apply for funds, the better your chances of getting to use them.

    • To apply for a Library Assistant’s Staff Development fund please fill out and submit an online request form which can be found on our Professional Development Libguide.

    • Please allow sufficient time for the Staff Development Committee to review the Professional Development Request Form. We recommend turning in requests as early as possible.

  3. What is the current professional development fund available?

    • The total amount of the fund given in a fiscal year is currently $5,500; however, that may change each fiscal year due to budget. Please inquire about fund availability.

  4. What is the difference between a local award and a national/international award?

    • For a Local award, each recipient will receive up to $300. Awards will cover the costs of conference registration fees and meal allowances of up to $25 per day for travelers only; however, the total cost may not exceed the maximum amount of $300. Local travel can be defined as any of the nine Bay Area counties.

    • Whereas a National/International award, each recipient will receive up to $1350. Awards will cover the costs of conference registration fees, airfare, ground transportation, parking, lodging, and meals. National/International travel can be defined as anywhere outside of the nine Bay Area counties.

  5. How many times can I apply for professional development activities?

    • Library Assistants may request multiple awards, not to exceed $1650 (both national/international and local awards) per fiscal year, per person.

    • If an individual receives any National/International travel award, they will not be eligible for another national/international travel award the following fiscal year. Individuals must wait until a full fiscal year has passed before they are eligible once again for a national/international award.

  6. Where do I look for professional development opportunities?

    • To start you can browse our Professional Development LibGuide to find a variety of professional opportunities from conferences to trainings to webinars. Be sure to also follow or check out the professional development Slack channels (#staff_development_committee AND #prof_development) for more recent events.

    • Additional opportunities not listed here will be reviewed by the Staff Development Committee.

  7. Do I need to register for the professional development activities (e.g., conference, training, workshop, and online course)?

    • It depends on the event you’re attending. Most events require registration even though they are free.  If an event registration is required, please follow the instructions on their website and make note of the date and time of the event. If an event registration fee is required, please keep a record or receipt of it for reimbursement.

  8. How can I avoid delays in the processing of my professional development application?

    • Processing your application may take up to 3-5 days. To avoid a delay, submit your completed online application as soon as possible due to fund availability.

  9. When is the last day to submit a professional development request form?

    • The last day to submit a professional development online application is May 31 for the ending fiscal year, June 1 marks the beginning of the new fiscal year and for qualifying events one can request funding for. Before submitting a professional development application, please contact the Treasurer to inquire about the fund availability.

  10. What is Concur?

    • Concur is a system USF used for Travel & Expense reimbursements.

  11. How can I get help with USF Concur entries and procedures?

  12. Do I get reimbursed?

    • Yes, please keep ALL receipts. Receipts are required for reimbursement. You will need to submit all expenses such as airline travel, automobile mileage, registration fees, parking charges, lodging, and meals via Concur.

  13. Can I be reimbursed for meals and lodging?

    • If you’re traveling outside San Francisco County, you can get lodging expenses covered and receive per diem. The total maximum reimbursable amount for meals is $75.00 per day ($25 per meal), this will come out of your approved balance. Meal expense includes tips and may be claimed only for the approved travel/meeting time frame.

    • If you’re traveling inside San Francisco County, you are not eligible for lodging or per diem. However, meal reimbursement for local travel is allowed up to $25 per day, so long as the amount spent does not exceed the total amount of $300 for local travel.

  14. Do I need to keep my receipts?

    • YES, keep all of your receipts! Receipts are required for all transactions submitted through USF Concur – Travel & Expense web-based system. You will need to upload copies of all receipts (e.g., airline travel, automobile mileage, registration fees, parking charges, lodging, and meals) into your Concur Expense Report after travel has occurred.

  15. Do I get compensated for attending professional development activities?

    • Regular pay for released time from work will be granted for attendance at events approved under these guidelines. This regular pay also includes travel to and from the event if travel occurs during the library assistant’s regular work week. Release time from work must be approved by the employee's supervisor before submitting an application for funding.

  16. What if I need to cancel my professional development event?

    • Approved employees should inform the Treasurer as soon as possible if a trip needs to be cancelled for any reason, so that funds can be made available for other employees.

    • You are responsible for cancelling all reservations (e.g., flight, hotel, rental car) if you were approved for a national/international award.

    • Always check the cancellation policy before booking because you may be responsible for paying the cancellation fee(s).

  17. What is the employer's travel policy?

  18. Where can I find the LA Staff Development Fund Guidelines?


Don't see your question or answer here? Please use the questions and feedback form to submit your inquiry to the Staff Development Committee.

  •  For librarians, they can request a Librarian Development Fund directly from here.


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