19 Aug 2021

The L2L Joint Digital Badge (A collaboration between the LAI and the NFT&L)

Guest post by Isabelle Courtney & Mary Buckley. Isabelle Courtney is a librarian and lecturer in Records Management &  Information Law at Dublin Business School.  She is a member of the LAI Career Development Group and Project Leader on the L2L Digital Badge initiative with the National Forum

Mary Buckley is head librarian at the National College of Ireland.  She is a member of the LAI and Project Leader on the L2L Digital Badge initiative with the National Forum

The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education is the  national body responsible for leading and advising on the enhancement of teaching and learning in Irish higher education. They have developed a suite of open-access professional development short courses for those who are interested in progressing their professional development.   

With a wide range of courses to choose from, over  1,500 participants across the sector have  already completed one or more of the short courses and earned their digital badges. The first of these digital badges is called PACT and it is about committing to professional development.  One of the key outputs of this  course is the creation of an ePortfolio, an online space to record and reflect on one’s professional development .

Many of the participants of the National Forums’ courses  are librarians and it was  a chance discussion between two of these librarians during a PACT course in late 2020 led to the concept of the L2L Joint Digital Badge.  

Considering the identity of librarians as professionals within the National Forum’s framework. Mary Buckley (National College of Ireland) and Isabelle Courtney (Dublin Business School), both active members of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI), talked about  the possibility of a librarian specific PACT course that encompassed both the National Forum’s Professional Development Framework and the CILIP'S Professional Knowledge & Skills Base Framework  (PKSB)

The Domains of the National Forum PD Framework

Recognising that librarian roles, not just in the education sector, but in general, increasingly include teaching responsibilities, it was felt that there was a need for a specific course which focused on pedagogy from a librarian perspective.  

Although little research on the subject has been conducted in an Irish context, a 2015  study in the UK looked at academic librarians’ perception of their own teaching roles, the main themes arising from that study found that some librarians felt less confident about their teaching and less willing to acknowledge that they were teachers. However, by attending more teaching related CPD events, librarians felt more informed about good teaching practice and more confident to speak with authority on the subject. (Wheeler and McKinney, 2015) 

Considering the conclusions and recommendations of this study and anecdotal evidence within librarian networks, an adapted version of the PACT open course was pitched to the Library Association of  Ireland (LAI )and the National Forum for Teaching & Learning (NFT&L).   

Both parties enthusiastically supported the proposal. In fact, this proposed initiative aligned, and built upon a previous collaboration between the  National Forum  and  librarians from Dundalk Institute of Technology. The  L2L project in 2017 saw  library staff  across  three institutions came  together  to explore  and reflect upon their  professional  development using the National Forum’s  professional development framework.  

An  application for support for the L2L Joint Digital Badge was  made through the National Forum's Network & Discipline Fund.  This fund focused  on the theme of  “Shared Solutions to Common Challenges” and was aimed at groups who wished to work together to respond proactively to identified challenges in teaching and learning in Irish higher education.  (‘Network and Discipline Fund 2021’, 2021)  The application was successful and the L2L Joint Digital badge was given the go ahead in April 2020. The new digital badge will be jointly recognised by the NFTL and LAI.

In order to promote the initiative and to seek expressions of interest, the LAI Career Development Group held an online information event in early June 2021 . The event was extremely well attended and a waiting list for the L2L short course was established.

A project team of seven skilled librarians across several institutions, was appointed and have been working on the development  of the course. 

Project Team:

Isabelle Courtney (DBS)

Mary Buckley (NCI)

Marie O'Neill (CCT College)

Robert Alfis  (ETBI)

Stephanie Chen (UCC)

Eva Hornung (CDEBT) 

Aoife Williams (IBAT College)

The existing learning outcomes  of the PACT course have been adapted to reflect the needs of  teaching librarians  and those who  wished to take up teaching roles.  On completion of the course learners will be able to:

  • Reflect on what is involved in making a commitment to your own Professional Development as a teaching librarian
  • Explore and demonstrate familiarity with the National Professional Development Framework and the CILIP/LAI  Professional Knowledge & Skills Base Framework
  • Create an ePortfolio to record and reflect on  CPD activities
  • Be informed by other librarians who have already used the Professional Development Framework and identify key actions from these conversations for your own Professional Development practice
  • Identify ‘next steps’ – moving from reflecting on Professional Development to undertaking it 

The pilot course will run lunchtime webinars over 6 weeks from 4th October to 8th November 2021 (12.30-1.30pm). It will take 25 learner hours in total to earn the L2L digital badge.   By completing a further 2 weeks, successful participants can earn an additional facilitator’s digital badge which will allow you to run the  course within your institution or across your network.


For further information please contact us on the L2L website and check our social media channels for updates.

Twitter: @librariansl2l

Instagram: l2ljointdigitalbadge

Facebook: L2L Joint Digital Badge


‘Getting Started with Professional Development – PACT’ (no date) National Forum. Available at: https://opencourses.teachingandlearning.ie/open_course/getting-started-with-professional-development-pact/ (Accessed: 16 August 2021).

‘Network and Discipline Fund 2021’ (2021) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Available at: https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/funding/network-and-discipline-fund-2020/ (Accessed: 16 August 2021).

Wheeler, E. and McKinney, P. (2015) ‘Are librarians teachers? Investigating academic librarians’ perceptions of their own teaching skills’, Journal of Information Literacy, 9(2), pp. 111–128. doi: 10.11645/9.2.1985.


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