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Frontline Professional

Frontline Professional is the very latest in a series of online courses which have been uniquely influential in the library world since 2006. Frontline Professional offers five modules of wide-ranging, strategic work to introduce, develop and embed customer-centred practice in the library workplace. Graduates say this course is career-changing in impact.

You will be asked to think deeply and apply your learning widely. You will create new projects and promotions for readers and support your innovations with relevant staff training sessions. You will explore the possibilities of new partnerships and outreach work to build the external reputation of the service. You will undertake observation research in order to make effective improvements and you will measure the impact of the changes you make on the customers you serve. High-quality promotional materials and checklists are offered throughout the course - to use whenever you need them.

A personal Opening the Book mentor will support your work, help you to apply the course content to your own specific context and stretch your practice. You can take any or all of the five modules and gain a certificate for each one successfully completed. As a guideline each module will take around a month to complete but you can choose a faster or slower pace to suit your circumstances.

Each module is packed with example projects and experiments to test out in your own library. All the modules are open to browse so you can pick up and return to aspects which are relevant to you at any time. Every learner contributes ideas to an international group of fellow professionals and you can stay in touch with the group after graduating the course.

Course contents

Learning outcomes

Frontline Professional is designed to support managers and library staff who are able to introduce change in their libraries. Whether you are a sole professional in a small library or are responsible for managing many branches you can use the work in this course on a scale that fits your role.

  • Explore the fundamental principles and potential of reader-centred work
  • Use dozens of case studies and example projects to inspire your plans
  • Create new resources for staff and readers and run readers’ events
  • Introduce new merchandising and promotional approaches across your collection
  • Boost your training skills using tried and tested short sessions for staff
  • Use new research skills to identify ways to improve the visitor experience
  • Test out projects that widen your circulation and open up choices for readers
  • Find effective ways to develop the library role online and in social media
  • Pilot an external partnership to benefit readers outside the library
  • Share ideas and solutions in an international community of learners


  • You will develop a close relationship with your Opening the Book mentor. You contact them at the start of each module and receive detailed feedback as you work through the content.
  • The role of your mentor is to support and stretch your practice and thinking every step of the way. Your mentor will usually respond within 48 hours to your posting.
  • All five modules are open to you to read through at any time. You can choose to do as many or as few modules as are relevant to you.
  • Your mentor will be looking for interaction and experiment as you work through the course and a short but comprehensive piece of work for the assignment in each module.
  • A certificate is awarded for each module successfully completed. Assessment of the relevant assignment will normally be made within a week of submission.

E-learning for professional development

  • It’s hard for a busy librarian or manager to make time for their own professional development. The advantage of e-learning is that you study at your own pace and can pick up the course any time and any place to suit you.
  • Study of any kind can be lonely; this course has built-in connections to your mentor and to fellow-professionals tackling the same issues as you are.
  • Frontline Professional will build your skills and also create a useful evidence-based portfolio which you can use in job applications or performance reviews.
  • A great result for you, your employer and your customers.
  • Our course websites are designed and maintained entirely in-house. That is how we are able to answer technical questions within 24 hours. Navigation is easy and intuitive and learners simply need access to the web and an email address. You can check the technical requirements that need to be in place to use the course website here.

How to buy places on Frontline Professional

The value in this course is not just the course materials, it is the access to the experience of the whole Opening the Book team through personal mentoring. You can raise any professional issue and get feedback from Opening the Book.

Complete our easy Order Form and we will send you an invoice. You can choose to pay online from your bank account or by credit card. Once payment is received, we will send you log-in details and password to access the site.

1 place costs £450 Order form

10% discount on 20+ places. 20% discount on 30+ places. All prices are quoted exclusive of VAT. If you wish to buy a single individual place, please email

What customers say

“This course is fun, and, not only that, it will make you better at your job and give you more to offer your current or next employer. This course is not an obligation or a responsibility ... it is an opportunity.”
“This is the most useful course I have ever done throughout my 10 years of being employed in libraries.”
“I have greatly appreciated the opportunities to think critically and be creative. I have been subjected to some library training that attempts to tell you the "correct" way to approach problems, but Opening the Book, to me, recognizes the importance of arriving at conclusions yourself through critical thinking. The lessons of Frontline Professional recondition the way you view your library environment, and encourage you to think big and think bold. I feel like I will have a greater impact on my workplace than I did before, and that is a good feeling.”