About Us

Library Carpentry focuses on building software and data skills within library and information-related communities. Our goal is to empower people in these roles to use software and data in their own work and to become advocates for and train others in efficient, effective and reproducible data and software practices.

Training takes place in face-to-face workshops. Lesson materials are all available online, under a CC BY license, for self-directed study or for adaptation and re-use.

Who owns Library Carpentry?

Library Carpentry was originally developed with support of the Software Sustainability Institute and has been incorporated as a Lesson Program with The Carpentries. Like Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry, it maintains its own lessons, and has a Governance Committee and a Curriculum Advisory Committee.

What is a Library Carpentry workshop?

An official Library Carpentry workshop must include our core lessons. All workshops that are reported to Library Carpentry are listed in the ‘Upcoming Workshops’ section of this site and range from 1-day to multi-day. See What constitutes a Library Carpentry workshop? and Seventy-One Workshops… and Counting for further information. Ideally attendees will bring their own laptops to workshops so that skills learned can be replicated after the workshop without the need for any additional setup or software installation.

Workshops are run by a team. Ideally this will consist of:

  • a Host, who is the principal local contact for the workshop and who negotiates with Instructors about what lessons will be taught
  • at least one Certified Carpentries Instructor and other Instructors who teach the lessons and lead the practical exercises
  • Helpers who provide assistance to learners during practical sessions
  • Workshops can be any size but it is recommended that the helper-to-learners ratio not exceed 1:8.

To maintain the quality of Library Carpentry workshops, at least one of the Instructors teaching must be a Carpentries-certified instructor. For more about Carpentries instructors, see the Carpentries section on instructors.

What is a lesson?

A Library Carpentry lesson is a set of training materials that can be used to run hands-on training or as self-directed learning. Each lesson comprises several episodes, is interactive, works across Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems (with all setup instructions included) and has a combination of follow-the-leader sections and exercises that map to library practices and workflows. Lessons introduce software and data concepts relevant to people working in library- and information-related roles and are based on open source software. Data used in exercises is library-related, e.g. bibliographic data.

Who is an instructor?

Official Library Carpentry workshops must have at least one certified instructor present running the workshops. To be a Library Carpentry instructor, and instructor for other Carpentries lesson organizations, you must undertake and complete The Carpentries Instructor Training. Instructors must be prepared to observe The Carpentries Code of Conduct in workshops. Library Carpentry lesson materials are freely available under a permissive open license and available for the wider community to use for Library Carpentry-based workshops.

How is Library Carpentry advised?

Library Carpentry was developed and is now maintained by volunteers. All activity is voluntary. An Advisory Group has been formed to advise on the Lesson Program. The Advisory Group acts as a critical friend to Carpentries governance and staff and advises on ways to foster greater participation in the Library Carpentry community. The Group meets on a bi-monthly basis to discuss, plan, and pursue strategies for involving new and current members in Library Carpentry. It is not a governance group and does not make decisions for the Library Carpentry community. The Advisory Group was formerly known as the Library Carpentry Governance Group.

The Curriculum Advisory Committee provides strategic oversight, vision, and leadership for the set of Library Carpentry lessons to guide their overall development. Curriculum Advisors meet at least two times a year and advise the Maintainers in overall strategies for the lessons. Each lesson is maintained by at least two individuals responsible for co-ordinating maintenance of that lesson. Changes to lessons are managed using GitHub Issues and Pull Requests. Announcements and initial discussion take place in our chatroom, #libraries Slack channel, and/or listserv. New members are welcome to join the community.