Yesterday I attended CILIP’s New Professionals Day. Of the eight workshops that ran, each person could go to four, so the following account is selective in coverage.
Simon Edwards (CILIP) pointed out the paradox of a world where information’s value was increasingly acknowledged, but where information professionals were often considered unimportant. It is up to individuals to ensure that we make our relevance apparent; we need to keep up with current trends, expand our networks and perspectives, and always remember the importance of continuing professional development.
Workshop: Hooked on a (UX) feeling: research, users and academic libraries:
Georgina Cronin (University of Cambridge) led an engaging workshop on UX (user experience) research. Typically associated with web design, it offers vast scope for improving library services and providing observational data when librarians need to prove their services’ value. Attendees undertook some ‘cognitive mapping’ UX research, wherein we made drawings of our study- and work spaces, subsequently reflecting on the significance of the order in which we drew them.
Workshop: The Library of Birmingham: rewriting the book:
Dawn Beaumont (Library of Birmingham) spoke on the context and content of one of the UK’s biggest public libraries. She emphasised that public libraries constantly need to justify themselves to people who do not understand the tremendous value of such places for society’s vulnerable groups. It was surprising to learn that Birmingham Library is as frequently used as a space for events, social and business meetings as it is accessed as a ‘traditional’ library service, though this continues to play a fundamental role.
Jan Parry (CILIP) gave advice derived from years of experience in government libraries. Her main message was the importance of keeping ourselves active in our careers, knowing what to do and what to look out for in order to help broaden our prospects and get to where we want to be. We must keep our work interesting and challenging, and not be afraid to ‘move sideways’ if we cannot ‘move up’.
Workshop: Professional registration:
Franko Kowalczuk (CILIP Candidate Support Officer) presented useful guidance on the registration process, including the types of material in a portfolio used when applying for Chartership. Since a lot of the process involves the ability to think and write reflectively, attendees were asked to reflect on a recent event/activity in which they had taken part. What had we learned from it and how did we intend to incorporate our experiences into future work?
Workshop: Make yourself a ‘must have’ and go places:
Emily Allbon (City University) offered tips on improving our professional value and marketability. These included: gaining insight into our libraries’ broader organisations and how our activities contribute to their goals; not being limited to ‘library stuff’ and getting involved with other disciplines, widening networks and perspectives; developing new skills and improving existing ones; being able to foster expertise as well as more generic transferable skills; and raising our profiles (i.e. cultivating a social media presence and ‘getting noticed’).
This was a very interesting and useful day. It was great to meet and talk with a variety of information professionals and the workshops were very thought-provoking.
Image: Jonas Herriot
Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was postedby Anne Welsh. George Bray is the sole author of this piece, with tweets by Maddie House and Jonas Herriot.