An Introduction to CILIP Mentoring – workshop and information session

11 11 2015

Reasons for attending the workshop
I thought this workshop and information session would be a useful refresher to what is involved in being a good mentor. Also, I’m thinking of becoming a mentor for certification and chartership candidates. The workshop was held at the impressive Mitchell Library in Glasgow, so I got to visit another Scottish city too, which was a bonus.

Format of the day
The format of the day was an overview of mentoring in the morning and then a look at the CILIP Mentoring for Professional Registration stuff in the afternoon. It was apparent that both facilitators, Val Walker and Alison Turriff, have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in this area and so were ideally placed to take us through the day.
I was pleased that activities were included to reinforce what we were learning, but also so that we could work with other participants. We were a small group with experience from different sectors and stages of career, and over the day it felt like we developed a good working dynamic, which always helps when faced with tasks to discuss and complete.

Key content
The most relevant content for me came in the morning session when we looked at learning styles and powerful questioning. Getting an opportunity to ask powerful questions was as entertaining as much as it was a good learning experience! It’s funny how different situations can bring out a different approach to sort of the same thing. When working on the Help Desk in a university library for example, or meeting with a student starting out on their dissertation, knowing what questions to ask and how to ask them in order to get them thinking about how they might approach their literature searching seemed second nature. In this situation however, I really had to think about the way I put questions to the person in the mentee role, that made them meaningful and helped them to explore their situation/scenario in more detail.

Similarly giving some thought to feedback was also useful, particularly on how to give constructive feedback. I feel in some circumstances I can be a little too blunt with my words and in others I worry about upsetting or offending people, so I perhaps can lean to the positive side of things a little too much rather than be totally realistic and honest, which ultimately isn’t helpful to anyone. Balance I think is key here and learning ways in which to give feedback is certainly helpful.  I can also see how this is relevant not only in a mentor/mentee situation, but also in the workplace with colleagues too.

Discussion on what makes a good mentor was beneficial. We all had a lot to contribute on this as we each thought about a time when we’d had a good experience being mentored ourselves. Here are some of the qualities we identified as making a good mentor:

  • Non-judgemental
  • Approachable
  • Empathetic
  • A good listener
  • Reliable
  • Objective

All common sense really, but putting all of these qualities into practice I think takes patience and commitment, again, not only in a mentor/mentee situation, but in other life stuff too.

We had a look at The Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) and discussed how we might use this ourselves as well as with our candidates. Again, this was a useful refresher for me and I intend to look at that in more detail.

The content and activity of the morning session was more relevant to me. The information given in the afternoon session, while it was useful to be guided through,  is easily accessible on the CILIP VLE.

A recurring thought throughout the day, a concern really, is that I don’t have enough career experience to become a mentor. After a brief conversation with one of the Mentor Support Officers and further reflection over the weekend; what I feel I could contribute outweighs my concern of not knowing enough or having enough professional experience.

Becoming a mentor
After thinking on it over the weekend, I have sent in my application to be a mentor for certification and chartership candidates so we’ll see what happens from there. If you are a certification or chartership candidate looking for a mentor, then get in touch via the blog or via Twitter.

Further information
If this is something you are wanting to find out more about then have a read of the Becoming a Mentor information on the CILIP website.



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.

It’s all about the new professionals!

9 11 2009

The main thing in this blog post is the New Professional Support Officers Training Day, which I attended at CILIP on Friday 4th November 2009.

I was pleased to attend this training day to which there were two main aims:

  • To demonstrate the value of being an active and involved member of CILIP, particularly the Career Development Group (CDG).
  • To bring together the New Professional Support Officers from the regions to discuss the possibility of hosting graduate days across the UK.

Why be an active member of the profession?
During the morning Kathy Ennis and Lyndsay Rees- Jones, the Membership Support Unit at CILIP gave us an overview of what CILIP currently do to inform those interested in the library and information profession. We also looked at the benefits for us as new professionals to be involved with the development of these, and other activities and why we should encourage others to take an active role in the profession in a wider context, so through the special interest groups and specifically the CDG. In addition we looked at the way CILIP and the CDG are structured and how it all fits together.  It was useful to get this background knowledge about how things currently work so we could think about how to take things forward. This may well feature as a blog post on the New Professionals, which has been set up by New Professionals Coordinator, Chris Rhodes and which everyone is welcome to contribute to:

In addition to this Kathy and Lyndsay introduced us to the ‘Big Conversation’. This will begin in January 2010 and CILIP are keen to involve new professionals. The idea is to get people talking about what CILIP should be and what we want to represent in ten years time. As new professionals now, it’s our vision that will help to shape our profession and all that goes with it, so this is a fantastic opportunity for us all to have an input. Definitely watch out for more about that and how you can be involved.

The Graduate Day – what can we do?
The current Graduate Day is hosted at CILIP in London and organised by the Membership Support Unit team; Kathy and Lyndsay. Based on feedback about this event it is felt that the opportunity to attend a day like this should be extended across the UK making it more accessible to those that are interested in finding out more about working in the library and information profession.
It was great to be involved in the discussions of how we can take the Graduate Day to different regions of the UK and some really good ideas were formed which Kathy and Lyndsay are going to help develop. The whole idea for these graduate days is that we, the new professionals will deliver them in collaboration with Kathy and Lyndsay, which provides an excellent and exciting opportunity for us in terms of developing our skills and for those attending, it allows them to get the real life experiences of us as new professionals as well as an insight into the profession from the established and experienced professionals.

My thoughts
For me personally, I was able to contribute to the discussions about how we could realistically take the Graduate Day to different parts of the UK as well give a bit of an insight into the opportunities I have had as a new professional and what they have led on to. All of the things I have been involved in this year are as a result of presenting a paper at the New Professionals conference in the summer. CILIP are really keen to have new professionals involved, contributing and developing ideas, because we are the future of the profession and it is up to us to help shape what we think that should be.
Overall, this was a productive and inspiring day which confirmed to me why I want to be an active member of CILIP and of my profession.

It was also aces to see some familiar faces again as well as meeting some new people from across the country. I like being part of this network of people!

I’m going to the CDG London and South East committee meeting tomorrow for the first time, which I’m really looking forward to, so I’ll post about that later in the week.

Also, more CILIP stuff. The second Manifesto group meeting will be underway on Thursday, which is likely to be a lively one and really important for us, so I’ll keep you updated with what comes out of that.

Finally, there are interviews going on here at the moment for several new posts, so there’s change coming. I’m interested in seeing how that develops and changes our services. It’s going to be an interesting few months.

Ok, this is defo the last thing! Sarah has got a book review coming out in the Times Higher Education on Thursday, so keep an eye out for that. I’m sure she will post about that soon.

Watch this space!

Librarian Emma.



Finally…I’m here!

17 09 2009

Hello, I’ve been rubbishly absent so far, but it has actually been a pretty interesting vacation.  Term starts the week after next which is a tad scary, but it’s nice to get that buzz in the library again with lots of people about!

Highlights of my summertime have been attending the New Professionals Conference (virtually via video!), followed by Umbrella conference (CILIP) which was great fun especially as I was able to tweet along at the same time! Felt a bit rude to start with actually, jotting down my thoughts on the ipod whilst listening to the speaker… it was a great way to meet new professionals online though and provided a super networking opportunity.

My Chartership portfolio progress has been disappointing, completely my own fault but as September turns into October I believe I will soon start to achieve a bit more.  We’ll see.  That’s all for now. I’m going to update some online library quizzes now.

Librarian Sarah

Our first visitors

4 09 2009

Sarah and I welcomed our first visitors to the Aldrich Library at the University of Brighton on the 24th August. Lizzie Russell from Sue Hill Recruitment, Chris Rhodes who works at the House of Commons and Lara Lopez Boronat and Julia Gago Gaztelu who are working at the Instituto Cervantes in London until the end of September.
These are people that we have met through various activities; the New Professionals Conference and the Career Development Group Summer Social and it was good to have visitors with different backgrounds and experiences.

I think both Sarah and I were a bit apprehensive about the visit because we didn’t really know what to expect from it. We kept things very informal and didn’t have a powerpoint presentation or a welcome speech from our director! We didn’t even arrange refreshments, which I think we will definitely do for next time, but on the whole the visit was well recieved by our guests.

We took them on a tour around the library and had general discussions about what works for us and what doesn’t. It was good in the sense that Sarah has worked here in different roles for a number of years so she has much more experience than me as I’ve only been here since January, so we each had a different take on things.

Following the tour and disucssions about our services we went into Brighton and took them to see some of the main sites and even managed to lure them onto the Crazy Mouse at the end of the pier!! We finished off the evening with dinner that took ages to arrive, but was much appreciated when it did!!

So, on the whole I enjoyed the experience and would welcome others that wanted to visit our library to see how we do things here. Sarah and I are now looking forward to visiting the House of Commons library to see what goes on there. I think the benefits of this sort of informal visit are both professional and personal. In a professional capacity we are able to network with others across the profession and develop working relationships where appropriate. As Chris is an active member of the Career Development Group (CDG) we can also get an insight into that aspect of things as well as the different jobs and sectors that people work in. For me the fact that Lara and Julia are Spanish and working to deliver an information service through the Instituto Cervantes in London makes me realise that if I do want to go and work in a different country then I can! I just need to get on and do it!!

This has also prompted me to arrange another visit to a local hospital library to see how one of my friends from the MA is getting on her newish role.

So, in my opinion it’s good to get out there and visit people in their workplaces as well as the stuff I’ve just mentioned it also gives you more awareness of the information profession as a whole and what goes in other sectors and how that relates to the sort of stuff that we do.

Over and out for now

Librarian Emma

New professionals conference – 6th July 2009

12 08 2009

This was an experience indeed!

We saw the conference advertised on the CILIP website, with a call for papers. We were both keen to do something and thought a team effort would be beneficial. So we set to thinking what we could write about. The conference theme was perspectives of new professionals in the library and information sector and Sarah and I looked at what new professionals can contribute in the workplace. Our final title: ‘Unleashing the potential: new professionals in the workplace’.

The whole process from getting together our ideas to write the proposal, then to be accepted to write a paper to deliver and then to actually go there on the day and deliver was an adventure!

As this was the first time either of us had embarked on something like this I was certainly glad we were in it together! For those of you who were at the conference you’ll know that Sarah appeared virtually as she couldn’t be there in person on the day. I was so pleased that the technology was on our side and the presentation itself went well for the most part.

Attending the conerence was aces. I got to meet some really lovely people and was lucky to hear some varied and interesting speakers. Ned Potter was very engaging with his take on the library as a physical space and the stereotypes that exist in the profession. Jo Alcock gave a really concise and useful overview of marketing yourself online and how to make the best use of web 2 technologies which I need to make use of!!

Our presentation came into the category of marketing yourself and services; which involved us, Jo Alcock and Kath Aitken who looked at the skills that new professionals can offer in the public library sector. The importance of making your skills and interests noticed was evident in all our presentations. Each section was followed with a questions and answers session.

The day was in my opinion a success. It was really interesting to hear how other new professionals from other sectors were approaching their jobs and the commonalities and differences with our own jobs and workplaces.

Amongst the people that I met on the day was Kathy Ennis who does a lot of work with CILIP, she asked if I would like to do a session at the next Graduate day put on by CILIP. I took this opportunity and so you can see me there along with Jo and Ned as well as others. I think this shows the additional benefits that taking part in professional development stuff such as the New Professionals Conference are.

So, I hope they do another one of these next year, maybe I can get on the planning commitee for it!

Librarian Emma


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