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Posts Tagged ‘careers’

On Monday, June 20th, I attended the CILIP Career Development Group’s New Professionals Conference at the University of Manchester, along with Kirsty Braithwaite, Anna Smith and Sonja Kujansuu from the Bodleian Law Library. I initially found out about this conference through Twitter (#npc2011), in addition to the CILIP CDG website, and thought that it might be very useful to attend, given that the conference theme was “Activism and Professionalism at a Time of Downturn”, and, as graduate trainees soon about to embark on our journey towards becoming information professionals, this topic is extremely relevant.

The conference consisted of a two series of presentations with two workshops.

The morning programme opened with three presentations:

Helen Murphy presented the CPD23, 23 Things for Continuing Professional Development. Her presentation and links to the CPD23 programme can be found here.  Given that training budgets are often reduced, information professionals must continue to develop their skills and take charge of their own career development. The CPD23 programme is available for anyone to join, allowing work at one’s own pace. It is inclusive, informal and cost-free. Like the 23 Things programme, the CPD23 programme explores emerging technology which impact on the information profession, but differs from the 23 Things programme in that it examines and focuses on devlopment of professional skills (such as social networking for career development, personal branding and on-line presence). The CPD23 programme enables information professionals to share expertise and learn from others, thereby forming strong networks, and also encourages one to grow in confidence as goals are achieved.

The next presentation, given by Rachel Bickley, discussed how new professionals can establish a dialogue with experienced professionals for career development. Again, this presentation stressed the importance of establishing networks. New professionals can benefit from the expertise of experienced professionals, but are often perceived as lacking in skills and “cliquey” with their on-line communities. New professionals must be ready to think outside the box and take advantage of transferrable skills whilst demonstrating a willingness to learn and forge strong networks.

Sam Wiggins and Laura Williams then presented “What makes an Information ‘Professional‘”. This talk was very well-researched, and I was impressed with the depth and scope of the work. I found this talk particularly relevant given the debate over obtaining professional qualifications (postgraduate degrees and chartership) versus on-the-job experience, particularly as the definition of an “information professional” is evolving and changing.

I was fortunate to attend a workshop facilitated by Simon Barron and Alice Halsley on activism for new professionals. Simon and Alice are members of a library activism group, Voices for the Library, which has been very active in campaigning against library closures and funding cuts to public library services. I found this workshop inspring and engaging. Activism is not only marching in demonstrations, but can also take the form of everyday actions such as telling friends and family to visit their local public libraries. Activism can be used to boost your professional profile, as it can add to your toolkit of professional skills, thereby filling gaps in your CV. Finally, activism for libraries is in itself a worthwhile pursuit, as new professionals should be advocates of their profession, contributing to both short-term and long-term change for the better.

Following a light lunch, I attended the second workshop facilitated by Sue Hornby and Bob Glass: “Raising your Professional Profile”. This workshop enabled the participants to explore and become aware of potentially overlooked professional skills and transferrable skills such as communication, networking and time and resource management.

The afternoon session also consisted of three presentations:

Ka-Ming Pang and Joseph Norwood gave a beautifully-illustrated talk on LIS student activism and why it is important for LIS students to become engaged and involved with their profession.

Megan Wiley then presented on the need to develop professionalism in a careers information team.

Finally, the award-winning presentation of the day was given by Katie Birkwood and Naomi Herbert,  special collections librarians at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Their presentation examined outreach as a means of raising the public profile both of the library and its collections and librarianship as a profession. Their projects focussed on specific items within the library’s collections, in this case, the archives of the astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, and  a 15th Century text on magic tricks, Hocus Pocus Junior (1638). The Hoyle project involved making your own astrolabe. You can even give it a go yourself!

In all, the CILIP New Professionals Conference was an engaging and inspiring look at what the profession will mean to new information professionals, and a practical examination at what we can do to further our own career development, thereby affecting the future of the profession as a whole.

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On Friday I attended the CILIP New Professionals Information Day – if you would like, you can read about it here.

Ruth

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On 19th May, a few of us attended an informative session on CILIP Qualifications, including chartership and certification, run by Michael Martin from CILIP.

Michael began by explaining the difference between the two levels he would be talking about. Certification is for library assistants who have been in the profession some time, whereas chartership is for qualified librarians. Both are essentially different levels of membership to CILIP.

The first steps to either qualification is membership to CILIP, after which you register as a candidate, which costs £25 for certification or £50 for chartership. You then choose a mentor from a list provided by CILIP, and together you design a personal professional development plan (PPDP).

The basis of the CILIP qualifications is building a portfolio.  A portfolio allows you to demonstrate your learning, and how you have applied valuable knowledge and skills in your workplace. For a chartership application, it would include:

  • Contents page
  • CV (longer than for a job application)
  • PPDP
  • Personal evaluative statement (1000 words)
  • aims & objectives of your organisation
  • structure charts (where you are in your organisation)
  • evidence of participation in the mentor scheme

It is similar for certification, but follows a different template, including a supporting letter.

Michael also listed the criteria that the applications must meet. The criteria for chartership are:

  • to be able to reflect critically on personal performance and evaluate service performance
  • an active commitment to continuing professional development
  • to be able to analyse personal and professional development with reference to experiential and developmental activities
  • a breadth of professional knowledge and understanding of the wider professional context

For certification, the criteria are similar:

  • the ability to evaluate personal and service performance
  • to show how your personal, technical and professional skills have developed through training and development activities
  • an appreciation of the role and contribution of libraries and information services in the wider community

Michael then gave advice to those wanting to pursue a CILIP qualification: keep everything! Using a diary, a blog, or whatever suits you, try to keep a record of your evidence to support the criteria. He also advised completing a skills audit.

It was an interesting session, as I didn’t know what chartership involved, and the other options for library assistants who maybe don’t want to go down the Library School route.

After the session, Emma Sullivan emailed round information about how Staff Development supports staff wishing to gain certification, chartership or fellowship from CILIP. Staff can apply to get funding for their submission fee, though not membership fees. They can also provide your training record which lists the courses you have attended, and the Staff Library has copies of ‘Building Your Portfolio’ by Margaret Watson, a book recommended by Michael during the questions and answers time.

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Hello! My name is Sarah and I am the Bio- & Environmental Sciences graduate trainee. I work at ISBES (Information Services in Bio- & Environmental Sciences), and can be found at three libraries: The Radcliffe Science Library, the Sherardian Library of Plant Taxonomy (formerly the Plant Sciences Library) and the Alexander Library of Ornithology (formerly the Zoology Library).

I am relatively new to librarianship; my only previous experience having been spent briefly as a shelving assistant at St. Michael’s College Library at the University of Toronto, and as a member of the University of Toronto Hart House Library Committee, where I assisted in curating a collection of local poets and writers and organising literary events.

I graduated with a degree in Biology and History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Toronto, and completed a Masters of Science degree in Plant Biology, specialising in algal systematics at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, USA. I have also worked and volunteered at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and at the Cryptogamic Herbarium at the Natural History Museum in London. These research experiences made me realise the importance of information management, and propelled me to seek librarianship as a career (that, in addition to the fact that I am also a compulsive bibliophile!).

I have started my traineeship at a time of great change for the science collections at Oxford (more on that in a later post) but look forward to participating and learning as much as I can.  Following my traineeship, I hope to complete a Masters in Library and Information Science and would like to become a subject librarian specialising in the biological sciences.

So far, I have been engaged in reader services (setting up PCAS accounts, helping readers find particular items in the libraries using SOLO and OLIS) and circulation, although I have also been helping with the moving and re-organisation of the Zoology Library and Plant Sciences Library. I’m looking forward to learning more about cataloguing, and hope to soon put my skills to the test!

Many thanks to the ISBES team for making me feel so welcome!

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Cilip have released an interesting supplement about ‘education options and enhancing your career prospects’, read it here:

http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/Launch.aspx?referral=other&refresh=4Bb1W08y0gP6&PBID=00a0566c-0019-4409-9c6c-50fc8c928a1e&skip=

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I’ve recently been receiving many emails and tweets calling for proposals for the New Professionals Conference 2010 to be held in July at the University of Sheffield;  organised by the CILIP Career Development Group, it is aimed at people who are relatively new to the profession.  The conference acts as a forum for discussion and debate on current issues from the perspective of a new professional, this year the theme of dicussion is “Proving Your Worth in Challenging Times”.   Ned Potter offers quite a nice introduction to the conference in his blog post about submitting proposals for the 2010 conference.

All this talk about the 2010 conference got me thinking about the 2009 event, so I did a little online digging and found a section about it on the Career Development Group webpages, most interesting is the New Professionals Conference Papers page.  Here you will find the pdf and powerpoint versions of the papers presented at the 2009 conference, although unfortunately a couple of the  pdf files do not work.

The theme for discussion in 2009 was “What is it like to be a Library & Information Professional in the 21st Century?”, something that is probably at the forefront of our minds as trainees, especially for those of us who have decided to go on to study librarianship/information management in the future.   I throughly recommend reading the papers avaliable online, they throw up some interesting ideas on a range of issues relating to being an information professional today.

I found Ned Potters “Why Are We Still Defined by Our Building?” particulary relveant and engaging; he discusses the changing role of the information professional and the struggles of the profession to negotiate the stereotypes.   Another  paper I found very interesting is “New Technologies, New Professionals” by Nicholas Robinson-Garcia, which explores the expansion of web 2.0 technologies in the library sector and the changes it has brought to the profession.  He asks what role new professionals can play in this rapidly changing environment.   On the topic of professional development Jo Alcock presented a paper entitled, “How to network and market yourself using online tools”; here she discussed the importance of networking at the begining of a career for new professionals.   The paper offers an introduction to the various methods avaliable for professional newtorking, covering both the virtual and physical possibilities. 

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I was shown this by our librarian, and thought I should pass it along! The latest issue of CILIP’s Library & Information Update contains a supplement dedicated to the discussion of Master’s courses – including choosing a course, funding, how helpful it is in terms of finding a job, and so on. The supplement is also available to view online.

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