AI Literacy for Library Professionals: Online Course

Get hands-on experience with generative AI, understand the technology, promote ethical use
woman with iPad

Thank you for your AMAZING ALA presentation last week on AI. I found it extremely informative and helpful.


Understanding and Using Generative AI in Library Programs: 2024 ALA Crash Course

There’s agreement everywhere that AI literacy is necessary.

There is widespread agreement on the necessity of re-skilling our workforce, especially in libraries. We need hands-on time with the tools and we need to conduct experiments in order to develop the most effective policies and practices.

One study found that librarians have only a moderate self-rated understanding of AI concepts, limited hands-on experience with AI tools, and notable gaps in discussing ethical implications and collaborating on AI projects.

We need this not only for ourselves, but in order to embed generative AI training within information literacy training. But many library staff have not yet had enough time and support to devote to this learning.

Gain a deep understanding from hands-on experience.

In this six-week course, you’ll get hands-on experience with generative AI models and their use for education.

You’ll come away with a deeper understanding of:

  • the underlying technology
  • prompting techniques
  • multimodal features
  • and ethical issues such as bias, copyright, and privacy protection.

You’ll develop methods for staying current and avoiding hype about AI.

And finally, you’ll become familiar with the most beneficial applications of generative AI for education.

This course is for you if…

> You’re curious about how we can align generative AI with the values of the library profession.

> You haven’t yet had enough time to devote to this topic, and participating in a course would help you set aside time for this.

> You would like to be prepared for a changing job market that will require generative AI skills.

> You want to know the best methods for staying current with the quickly changing world of generative AI.

Coming in Fall 2024

6-week course

Thanks very much for sharing your knowledge and expertise! I’ve been to MANY webinars and sessions on AI but your series provided the most new & engaging info.


Understanding and Using Generative AI in Library Programs: 2024 ALA Crash Course

By the end of the course you will …

Understand technologies

Identify and describe the underlying technologies that power generative AI.

Use multimedia AI

Use multimedia AI tools to generate images, video, music, and speech.

Prompt effectively

Select the best model for your task and craft effective prompts for them.

Explain ethical issues

Explain ethical issues, such as bias, deepfakes, and privacy.

Use multimodal features

Effectively use data analysis, voice assistants, and computer vision.

Stay current

Develop a list of reliable sources to follow for staying current.

What’s Included


Several short video lectures each week


Interesting readings with thought-provoking discussion questions



A forum where you can discuss the readings with classmates


Hands-on assignments

What you'll learn each week

1. Understanding the technology
  • Accurately define key AI terms including narrow AI, machine learning, transformer architecture, neural network, fine-tuning, training data, grounding, tokens, and guardrails.
  • Classify a given AI technology as either discriminative AI or generative AI.
  • List at least three language models other than ChatGPT and identify which of these models are grounded with external factual data.
  • Become aware of tools that incorporate AI for searching for academic papers, such as Elicit, SciSpace, Keenious, Scite, or Inciteful.
  • Explain the differences between open-source and proprietary AI models, including the implications of each for developers and users.
2. Prompting for language models
  • Select the most suitable language model for specific tasks based on their capabilities and limitations.
  • Craft effective prompts using multiple techniques to optimize responses from language models, including prompting to avoid bias.
  • Optimize the settings for specific language models to meet your individual needs.
  • Implement privacy protection measures for various language models in order to safeguard your personal and professional data.
  • Build a simple, specialized chatbot, applying your knowledge of prompting, to create a functional tool.
3. Understanding ethical issues
  • Understand and explain the unresolved issues related to the copyright-ability of content generated with AI and the issues around fair use in regards to training data.
  • Understand and explain issues related to bias in the output of language models and multimedia models.
  • Understand and explain issues related to privacy when using generative AI.
  • Understand and explain issues related to the labor used to build LLMs and issues related to the possible climate impact of AI systems.
4. Using multimodal features
  • Use ChatGPT Plus to upload spreadsheets, analyze the data, and create charts and graphs.
  • Use computer vision tools to upload images, generate accurate descriptions and alt text, and get recommendations for improving the design of an image (such as an infographic).
  • Identify and use leading AI tools for real-time translation of video and audio content.
  • Demonstrate the use of AI voice assistants on mobile devices and explain their potential applications and benefits for public use.
  • Use AI-based transcription tools to convert audio and video files into accurate written transcripts.
5. Creating multimedia with generative AI
  • List multiple AI media generation tools, including some of their features and limitations, including the types of media they can create.
  • Use techniques to help determine whether images are AI-generated or not.
  • Identify bias in outputs from image generators and modify prompts to minimize such biases.
  • Outline some of the copyright issues related to input and output of AI-generated media.
  • Explain both beneficial and unethical uses of AI multimedia tools, providing examples of each.
6. Staying current and avoiding the hype
  • Apply the Gartner Hype Cycle, Diffusion of Innovation theory, and the history of fear of new technologies as a framework for understanding current fears about AI.
  • Identify common reasons why mainstream news stories about AI may be misleading or untrue, providing examples from recent publications.
  • Apply the SIFT method (Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, Trace claims to the original context) to assess the accuracy of AI news stories.
  • Develop a list of reliable sources to follow for staying current with generative AI and its applications for education.

What You'll Need

> No technical understanding of generative AI is needed.

> You will need to create free accounts on several AI systems such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot, Claude, and Perplexity. Links to the necessary accounts will be provided on signup.

Thank you so much for this Nicole! This has been the best webinar I’ve attended on the subject so far!


Understanding and Using Generative AI in Library Programs: 2024 ALA Crash Course

Coming in Fall 2024

6-week course