Chartership Portfolio

I *think* I’ve finally finished it!

Over the last year I’ve been working on my Chartership, pulling together a portfolio of evidence to reflect on my personal and professional development. It’s a professional qualification awarded by CILIP to members who are able to demonstrate an active commitment to CPD (or continuing professional development), an ability to critically reflect on personal and service performance and exhibit an understanding of the wider professional context. I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard! Really hard. Not because the task is particularly difficult but because it’s really hard to judge whether you’re on the right lines to meet the overly ‘woolly’ criteria for assessment. It’s not like having an essay question to answer or a topic to investigate. It’s identifying gaps in your own knowledge and proposing a plan to resolve them, anticipating the outcome, estimating a timescale and then reflecting on the learning experience and how you’ve applied new knowledge. It’s all very complicated without really needing to be. I think I’ve met the criteria but as it’s a very personal thing I would, whether the assessors agree is another story.

As part of the process you get a mentor and the best advice I can give anyone is to find someone you feel 100% comfortable talking through your anxieties with. There has been so many times when I thought to myself ‘why am I actually even doing this?’ It’s not like I’ll be getting a pay rise or anything but it does mean I tick an extra box on the personal spec for the next step on the career ladder (should it get accepted that is). Aside from that it has actually been worthwhile… I promise. I’ve been to so many really useful events and done so much cool stuff this year, simply because I’ve been able to say ‘oh but it’s for my Chartership’. Luckily my organisation are really supportive when it comes to this kind of thing so it really would have been silly for me not to take this opportunity.

Once I’ve heard back from CILIP (which could be up to 3 months) I’ll hopefully write something a bit more useful for others but for now… IT’S FINISHED WOO-HOO.

Information Literacy – Conferences and Strategies

It’s been a busy old couple of months but I think I’ve finally managed to piece my brain back together. The big news is that this year I was lucky enough to attend the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC), hosted by the British Library and LSE. I thought I’d do the usual and bombard the Internet with every single detail but I think I might actually becoming less interested in using my blog and Twitter in this way. I still Tweeted a lot, don’t get me wrong, but transcribing every PowerPoint bullet isn’t as useful as I once thought it was and quite frankly it’s started to irritate me when other people do it… syntheise people! Syntheise!

Anyway, moving on. Just before LILAC I attended an event at the University of Bradford called ‘Embedding information literacy: from strategy to practice‘. Right on queue it got me thinking more about Information Literacy Strategies and how these can be used to describe the level of support we, as librarians, can offer learners/researchers.

During the morning session we heard from three speakers – Fiona Middleton (Leeds Metropolitan University), Peter Gledhill (Sheffield Hallam University) and Michelle Schneider (University of Leeds). They introduced their institutional information literacy strategies and discussed the practicalities of developing strategies and the issues they encountered.

The common theme to arise from all three presentations was the importance of creating partnerships between subject librarians and academics to deliver IL sessions with specific learning objects. It was widely agreed that by embedding IL within the curriculum students would be better equipped to recognise information needs and develop better understandings about the transferability of IL training – into employment for example. (more…)

Career grids not paths

Yesterday I attended an informal careers event for the University of Sheffield’s Information School, organised by CILIP’s Career Development Group (Yorkshire and Humberside Division). Along with Ned Potter and Joel Kerry I was there to offer advice and tips on career paths by chatting about what I’ve been doing since I finished my MA in 2007.

Ned introduced the session with a very pretty ‘The Time for Libraries is Now‘ and ‘If you want to work in libraries‘ mash-up slide deck with added extras, which you can see below.  It’s really a quick walk through aiming to set the scene, tell you a few things you probably need to know and link you to a few key resources you may well find extremely useful! I honestly think if Ned was a career advisor he’d be the best career advisor out there because seriously this is stuff I would have LOVED to know four years ago.

The first thing I usually say to people starting out on the job search front is to get yourself registered with every recruitment agency you can think of (even Office Angels has the occasional library post come up)! Not only do they list jobs but they have some really great advice on constructing CVs, preparing for interviews and fine-tuning personal statements. (more…)

Library Day in the Life and the Library Cafe

The Library Day in the Life Project started up again this week and although I’ve decided not to fully participate this time around I thought it’d be useful to write up some notes from this year’s ‘Library Cafe’ I attended on Monday. I think my reasons for not blogging everyday, like I did for Library Day in the Life round 5, are really down to the fact that a) the last one doesn’t feel like that long ago and b) I’ve honestly not had the time to fully embrace it.

What is a Library Cafe?

Each year we (that’s all library staff) are invited to a cafe meet, in which we contribute and discuss our thoughts on a particular topic. Basically it’s an opportunity for staff on all levels to offer feedback for consideration in the strategic planning of our library services.

This year we were asked to discuss the wider organisation’s response to some of the announcements made recently, effecting higher education i.e. increased tuition fees.  The details of our so-called Project 2012 are available online but the specifics of the draft proposition at the centre of our discussions is only available internally. So with that in mind I’m only including my own thoughts on the cafe itself and not the proposal. (more…)

Whale Shark Conservation

In August I’m jetting off to the beach village of Tofo in Southern Mozambique to volunteer on a whale shark marine conservation project. It’s a collaboration between All Out Africa, Tofo Scuba, the Ecocean global whale shark database and the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna (that’s Andrea Marshall’s baby) plus a number of international research bodies.

First and foremost the trip is about whale sharks, the largest fish in the ocean. They’re not really fish though right, they’re sharks. Big scary sharks! Well actually, not at all. Whale sharks are not interested in eating people, they’re filter feeders. They scoop up plankton and use specialised filter structures to strain suspended matter and food particles out of the water and into their bellies. They’ve been around about 60 million years and yet very little is known about their population dynamics or how the increase of boat and fishing activities effect their feeding and migratory patterns. Reaching sexual maturity at the ripe old age of 30 means that the species is particularly vulnerable to the increasing threat of commercial fisheries and the collapse of oceanic ecosystems. (more…)