New Professionals Day 2012 #CILIPNPD12

15 05 2012

I attended this day as a participant and workshop facilitator and was delighted to catch up with some ‘established’ new professionals as well as meet some ‘new’ new professionals.  There was a really positive, lively atmosphere throughout the whole day with a load of enthusiasm and wonderful inspirational speakers.

Although I feel like one of the established of the new professionals crew, in that I’ve got a year and bit left of being within the 5 years into the profession time scale,  I really enjoy coming to these events; I find them very refreshing.

So, not surprisingly the overall theme of the day was being a new professional and the offshoots from that; continuing professional development (CPD), getting a job, managing your ‘brand’, developing new skills, demonstrating how you meet the criteria of doing the job you’re applying for.

Annie Mauger opened the day followed by Ned Potter with another insightful and eloquent presentation on your ‘brand’, with a book coming out; Library Marketing Toolkit Ned is clued up in this area.
There was a clear message from keynote speakers Bethan Ruddock and Ned that as new professionals we shouldn’t try and strive to be ‘super librarians’ or emulate others. We should focus on our own aspirations and strive to what we want to achieve. Those of you that have had the pleasure of a Ned Potter presentation will be familiar with his relaxed, engaging style and another key message that came out of his talk was ‘Don’t panic’. Bethan reiterated this point in her session in the afternoon during which the focus was the subject of her book; the New Professionals Toolkit.

Wonderful advice, but that’s coming from two highly successful information professionals still early on in their careers.  For someone like me that still only has a loose fitting plan when it comes to my career and where I want it go, it’s easy to feel somewhat overwhelmed by the success of your peers. Finding my place in the profession is taking some time, but that’s ok. That’s pretty much reflected in all the other aspects of my life too!

I do value their advice in concentrating on what you want to achieve and consider how much of yourself you want to invest in your career and I hope that came across in my workshop which very broadly looked at CPD, what it is, why it’s important and how to go about it. The slides and scenarios from the session are available on Slideshare. As people had to sign up to my session I asked them in the days leading up to the New Professionals Day participants received an email asking them to post on a Wallwisher what they would like to get out of participating in the workshop.

I think we at least touched on some of these things in our discussions. There were several key things that I wanted participants to get out of the session:

  • CPD is a really personal thing and can vary hugely from person to person.
  • It’s useful to have at least a loose fitting plan for CPD in terms of outcome and how you will get there.
  • We already know a lot about the tools and approaches available to plan, action and record our CPD activities.

On the final point, this really came out with participants; they all contributed to discussions, some a little reluctantly, but it was clear that they all knew about the tools, approaches to CPD and could apply that knowledge to the different scenarios each group was discussing.

I was pleased that my workshop was in the morning as that meant I could concentrate on the afternoons activities without worrying about my own session. Facilitating this workshop, I was even more nervous than usual as I’d not been well the day before and I think I still had a hangover from the interview presentation that I’d done back in April and then not got the job. I know that seems silly, but the week following that presentation I had to do an overview of a new reading list software we’re at the stage of rolling out to academics to a fairly large group of colleagues and that for me was a disaster! I was so uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone and so I’ve been worrying about presenting and facilitating sessions since. I’m surprised about how much those two occasions affected me. So, based on that added weight to doing the workshop at the New Professionals Day as well as lack of sleep and being ill the day before I was even more nervous than usual. It’s been a strange couple of months! I’ll be interested to see what feedback I got about the session.

So back to the New Professionals Day programme. Following my session I went along to a session facilitated by Lisa Hutchins and Richard Hawkins about the more non traditional information professional role – the cyber librarian. This was a really good introductory session to this aspect of information work with a couple of discussions about websites we hate and why and a matching exercise of activities carried out in a physical and digital library which demonstrated the similarities in these two areas of information work.

Following a lunch time bit of fresh air and a good chat with Megan Wiley about international job exchanges we got stuck into the delights of the afternoon starting with a great double act from Abby Barker and Simon Barron about the role of an E-Resources Librarian. It was interesting to hear from two people with the same role how they ended up in their respective roles and the similarities and differences of a role with the same/similar job title. I’m always a bit in awe of the E-Resources Librarian. I mean, I have a good basic understanding of their role, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of licences, authentication and so on, I’m not there! I’m not surprised our E Resources Librarian Sarah is so delighted to be getting an Assistant, it’s ever such a lot for one person, given that it’s constantly growing and evolving.

Bethan was up next with her talk on the New Professionals Toolkit which I have no doubt will be up there on the Facet best sellers list!

Phil Bradley closed the day as CILIP President and spoke about why we as information professionals need to be involved in social media, how search is changing and why it’s important we are in on it. He comes across as quite forceful in getting his message across, highlighting why it’s important we take on board and act on what he’s saying about social media and search and how we need to be involved in it.

All credit to Richard Hawkins and Matthew Wheeler for organising the day. Like I say it was a really good refresher for me and a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues I rarely see in real life and to get my presentation/workshop confidence back on track.

All the presentations from the day can be accessed from the CILIP website as well as the archived tweets using #CILIPNPD12

Also, sorry there are no pictures in this post. I didn’t take any on the day. Silly!

Next up a bit about the University Science and Technology Librarians Group meet up.