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One of the things I often hear people say when they’re talking about Chartership is that they’re not sure what’s expected of them. Having chartered myself (with a fabulous mentor) and currently mentoring (a brilliant candidate), I have a fair idea of the process, but what really helped me understand what Chartership is really supposed to be was serving on the CILIP Future Skills project board, where I got the chance to discuss the future of CILIP qualifications with massively talented and inspiring people, including the head of the Chartership board.

What came across very clearly from these discussions (both about the current state of Chartership and desired future directions) was the conviction that everyone involved had that the aim of Chartership is to improve the profession by helping individual professionals improve themselves.

Chartership isn’t meant to be a chore. It’s meant to be a tool to help you plan and make the most of your own personal and professional development. It’s not hoops to jump through because CILIP think it’ll be fun to load more work on you and watch you squirm. The goal of Chartership is for you to become a better professional, one who reflects on their learning, performance, and development.

I gave a brief outline on Twitter of what I think of as the 4 stages of Chartership:

1) identify what you need to learn

2) learn it

3) put what you’ve learned into practice in the workplace & profession

4) write down how & why you did 1-3 along with what difference it’s made for you/work, & what you’ll do next. Submit. Celebrate 🙂

To expand:

1) Identify what you need to learn. Since I chartered, the new version of the CILIP PKSB has been released, and Chartership in the future will be encouraging use of this as a self-assessment tool. I’d strongly recommend using it to look at doing a skills audit of what you know now and what you need to know. But it’s not the only thing you should be thinking about. You need to assess your skills against the demands of your role (or desired role) and workplace. Look at your job description and see what bits you’d like to be able to do more of, or do better. Look at your users. Do they have needs you’re not meeting? Could you learn the skills to enable you to meet those needs?

Stick all of this down in your PPDP. This is a living document, and will change as you progress through Chartership. Use it however best suits you to work out a development strategy. You might then need to tidy it up a bit to put in your portfolio – but you might not! A PPDP that shows evidence of use and development is exactly what the assessors are looking for – just make sure it’s comprehensible (expand acronyms, explain colour-coding etc). And the stuff in your PPDP doesn’t have to come from some special bank of development activities you’re doing ‘for Chartership’ – it comes from what you need to do for your own development. Manager given you training goals in your last staff review? PPDP them! Job you want in 5 years require a new skill? Add it to the plan. It’s all about what makes you a better professional – no barriers, no silos.

2) Learn it. I think this is actually the bit of Chartership that daunts people the least. We’re info pros. We do learning. It’s worth remembering, though, that any kind of learning and development counts. I know some people worry that they haven’t been on enough training courses or to enough conferences – but that’s ok. Chartership is all about the ‘why’. Why did you learn this skill from a book instead of going on a course? (‘We didn’t have a training budget’ is a perfectly legitimate answer, by the way).

As long as you give the reasons behind what you do, show that you’ve thought about the why of it all, you will produce the right sort of portfolio. No-one is judging the training and development activities you’ve chosen to do. They’re not going to think ‘oh, well, I don’t think that’s the best resource available on that topic. They should have consulted [x] instead.’ As long as you explicitly state in your portfolio how the development activity relates to a need you identified and what impact undertaking that activity had on you, they will accept that you have selected the most appropriate development method for your needs and circumstances.

3) Put what you’ve learned into practice in the workplace & profession. Knock their socks off.

4) Write down how & why you did 1-3 along with what difference it’s made for you/work, & what you’ll do next. This is a lot less daunting if you do it as you go along! Jo Alcock has created a great template to help with this, and I believe that the new CILIP VLE will be tailored to help with ongoing recording and reflection, too. Reflective writing can be a bit of a pain if you’re not used to it (or not naturally that way inclined), but remember that you don’t have to produce torrents of deathless prose. Here’s my suggested tool for relatively quick and easy reflection.

Taken from a presentation I gave at SLA2012 in Chicago.

Taken from a presentation I gave at SLA2012 in Chicago.

There’s no one way to produce a great Chartership portfolio. It’s a reflection of you as a practitioner. So there are no hard and fast rules about size, content, layout – it’s left to you and your professional judgement. The portfolio is your chance to show how good you are at selecting and organising information. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by some mystic idea of ‘what the assessors expect to see’. Think about their information needs. What do you particularly want to convey to them? What do they especially need to know? Are you providing the right information, in the right quantities and the right format to allow them to assess your application? Are you showing the judgement expected of an information professional?

(But you’re not expected to magically know these things! Asking for peer support and advice is part of being an info pro. Your mentor, Candidate Support Officer, the CILIP quals team, the mailing lists, your colleagues – they’re all there to help. And they’ve all needed to ask for help too! They’re a resource, so use them as you need to.)

Treat the Chartership process as an opportunity for you to have some quality ‘me and my development time’, a chance to have someone chivvy you into reflecting about what you do, and a chance to celebrate your successes – and even if you never get round to handing that portfolio in, you’ll be a better professional at the end of it. And that’s something worth celebrating 🙂

Inspired by this post from Ian Clark, I’ve decided to share some of the assignments I did at library school (MA in Library & Information Studies at MMU, 2007-8)

I’d echo Ian’s reasons for sharing: not because I think these assignments are fabulous, but to help raise awareness of what a qualification in librarianship involves. But there’s also personal learning to be taken from them – how much have I learned in the last 5 years? Rather a lot, it seems (apparently, in 2008, I thought web 2.0 was the semantic web. umm…). How much have I forgotten in the last 5 years? Equally, rather a lot (please don’t ask me to construct a Dialog search strategy. Please).

And as well as looking at my personal development, it’s interesting to think about how (if?) library school curricula have changed across time, and how they vary across institutions. Looking at Ian’s list of assignments, I can see similarities (create a catalogue record, business plan), but also topics we didn’t cover (marketing, digital divide). CILIP accredited courses are expected to cover a range of topics from the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base, but it’s interesting to see where particular institutions put their focus, and how that focus might shift over time.

So, here are the library school assignments that a) I still have copies of and b) weren’t group assignments. Those that I don’t have copies off might have been assessed in different ways – we had several presentations to do, along with database design that was hand-drawn on paper, and a digital library that required specialist software.

These are not intended to be shining examples of how to be the best library school student ever (related: please don’t laugh at me too much), but will hopefully stand useful as an example of the range of what professional librarians were expected to do/know/learn, at a particular place and time.

Cataloguing & classification

Dialog search strategy

The Identity Cards Act 2006 has now passed into law. Identify and critically evaluate the potential impacts of this legislation

LMS selection and implementation

Report on web page creation

Team development: a case study

Technical issues related to Institutional Repository Software (partial script for joint presentation)

Thesaurus constuction

Digital library collection policy

Library 2.0: a report

Skills/roles needed in a digital library team

Well, it’s project management time again! Seems to be a theme with me lately – I think I’m working on more projects, and have started to notice the potential in using project management tools to manage things that I hadn’t really thought of as ‘projects’.

I attended a course at Mimas on using the ‘One Page Project Manager’ (OPPM). This is a system developed by Clark Campbell (some time in the 90s, I think), and is designed to allow you to quickly and clearly present all the essential information about a project in one page. I thought it sounded too good to be true!

I hadn’t done any reading on OPPM before the course, and was vaguely expecting it to be some sort of theoretical guidance on what you should include in a project summary (maybe with some tips on ‘expanding margins’ and ‘what really is the smallest readable font size?’), so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the course (run by David Sommer Consulting) wasn’t theoretical at all. OPPM is a single-page template, which you fill in with the relevant information. It’s not designed to go into loads of detail about each task or stage of a project, but to provide an overview of the vital information.

You can download a pdf version of the template for free from the website, along with guidance on how to use it. If you think you like the look of it, I’d suggest that it’s probably worth paying $10 for the Excel version, as it’s designed to be used and customised within Excel.

I like the way the template is laid out – when you see how it all fits together, it’s actually a very elegant use of space. You start reading the OPPM clockwise from the objectives in the lower-left ‘hub’, and it’s pretty easy to see at a glance what each section signifies (if you disregard my frankly shocking handwriting!)

The practice OPPM I produced during the training course. Real ones look much prettier!

You can use multiple OPPMs in a single project, if you need them – have one for the top-level overwview, then one for each of the large tasks that need breaking down.

My impressions? That it’s a flexible system which will lend itself well to small-scale projects, and isn’t as demanding or time-consuming as some other project management systems.

I think it’s a good bet for information professionals, as it forces you to think about the vital information that is absolutely required at top-level, and doesn’t give you scope to get bogged down in details – something which I know many of us are prone to!

David also spoke about the idea of planning projects backwards. This isn’t part of OPPM – just a technique that David and his clients have found useful. I was surprised to realise that it was a system I’ve used for planning projects before, without realising that it was an actual ‘thing’.

The idea is that instaed of starting at the beginning of your project and planning forward, you start at the outcome and plan backwards. You know what you need your final outcome to be, and you know when you need to deliver it by. Use this information to then take a step backwards, and say ‘ok, if we need to have this outcome by Dec, what’s the immediate prior step? We’ll schedule that to be done by end Nov.’ (I’m finding this harder to explain that it actually seems in practice!)

I’m going to try using both of these techniques, and I think they’re simple and flexible enough to find a fairly permanent position in my ‘productivity tools’ arsenal.

Just a quick note to say that you’re not likely to see much of me round here for a while (so what else is new?). I’m trying out Tumblr as part of 23 things for professional development, and am blogging the project here It has pretty elephants! And my picture as the favicon! (I’m not sure how I feel about that…)

I’m looking forward to CPD23 – while I’m rather over-stretched at the moment, this is a good prod to start re-thinking how I use things, and will hopefully make me more productive, better-connected, and less-stressed!

I had a PDR today. For those of you outside whatever sectors this particular acronym has infiltrated, that stands for ‘Performance and Development Review’. It’s basically a big yearly appraisal, where you get to talk about what you’ve done over the past year, triumphs and disasters, and hopes for the future.

You get a nice (actually, fairly horrible) form to fill in, that prompts you to reflect on various things from over the last year. Want to guess what I did? Headed straight for the ‘what didn’t go well?’ section, scribbled away for a few minutes, then dried up. It’s a good job I have a very nice line manager, who found entries such as ‘I can’t remember what I did before this!’ and ‘Aarrgh!’ mildly amusing, and not a reason to have me dragged off to occupational health tout suite for a sanity check.

While I found it difficult to remember what I’d done, I could trawl through previous calendar entries and old to-do lists to jog my memory. The real challenge came when I tried to reflect on what I’d learned – or even how I felt. I simply couldn’t recapture my response to things. It came down to ‘My talk at ILI went well and I was pleased’. I bet you’re all astounded by that insightful bit of reflection, eh?

I think what’s at the root of this is that I haven’t been reflecting. I’ve been busy, and I’ve let various demands on my time tip me over from ‘reflective practitioner’ to ‘full-on panic-mode zombie’, who just deals with the next crisis to cross her desk, and then immediately forgets about it when she’s done. Who, in fact, purposefully puts some things out of her mind – ‘Phew! that’s over with, don’t have to think about it any more. Next!’

This is, of course, entirely the wrong way to work. I can tell you much more about what I did, what I learned and how I developed professionally in 2009 than I can for the last 6 months. Why? Because I was preparing my Chartership portfolio in 2009, which forced me to reflect. I kept up some of my reflective work after it, but with no demands and no deadline, nothing I feel I can legitimately put on my to-do list, it fell by the wayside and was forgotten.

Which means most of my learning has been forgotten too. I’ve had an especially busy 6 months, which should be keeping me in professional development material for years! Instead, by not stopping to reflect I’ve effectively wasted most of what I’ve done. What should have been a fantastic time for my PPD is instead a flatline.

And it shows in so many areas! I’ve been sadly neglecting my blogging. I’m not connecting with Twitter in the same way I used to – rather than being part of the community, and involved in Biddy Fisher’s lovely notion of ‘professional generosity’, I’ve been swooping in, asking for help, and then swooping away again. Not matter how busy I am, that’s not really on. I need to make time to develop myself, and I need to remember that one of the all-round best ways of doing this is through helping to develop the community.

So I’m starting to look at CILIP Revalidation. You can’t revalidate until you’ve been chartered for 3 years, but I’m hoping you can sign-up during those 3 years, and commit to start gathering evidence. I won’t be revalidating to prove anything to CILIP or the community. I won’t be doing it as a step on the road to Fellowship. I’ll be doing it because it seems that I need a structure in place to help me manage my PPD, and Revalidation supplies that.

Doing this will require extra time, which I don’t feel that I have to spare! But I think it will make me a more effective worker – five minutes of reflection can save me hours, by stopping me making the same mistake twice! It may be painful at first (I do feel like I’m skimping things rather, which is one reason I’m not so keen to dwell on them), but it needs to be done. And who knows, I may decide I’m not doing so badly after all 🙂

The NoWAL Exchange of Experience event yesterday (hashtag #nmee) was hugely enjoyable! Most people spoke about how they were using social media in the workplace, but I’d been asked to do something a bit different, and talk about how I used social media for my personal and professional development. Not one to waste effort, I’m posting my talk here as a blog post. (NB – this isn’t exactly what I said. I can’t remember exactly what I said. But it’s the script that my notes were based on, so it’s pretty close. Apologies to those of you who already know my social media story!)

From pretty much the start of my career, I’ve lived my professional life in the public eye. I first joined Twitter in March 2008, when I was a library student at MMU. I realised no-one I knew was on it, and did nothing with it for about 6 months, when it started being talked about in the media. So, I started following my friend Kendra, and Stephen Fry, who at that point had a mere 50,000 followers or so, and followed everyone back. Well, I was so overwhelmed that Stephen Fry was following me on Twitter that I promptly ran away again, and didn’t dare tweet for months.

I started using Twitter as an information professional in Feb 2009. Looking at my followers list, it starts off slowly, with colleagues, and then a few external contacts, and then gradually my followers build up and up and up – and most of them are people I’ve never met. My very first tweet – which said ‘Bethan is discovering that no-one she knows is on Twitter, which makes it kind of pointless’ couldn’t have been more wrong. I now rely on Twitter for a large amount of my professional interaction and networking, and I have to admit that I can’t really remember the early days!

I started blogging in October 2009. At this point I was reading a lot of library/information professional blogs, and I was also in the process of chartering. I decided to start blogging to force myself to take time to reflect – something which I was having real problems doing. I don’t think I ever really expected anyone outside my immediate social network to read my blog – but they do! I’ve got 79 subscribers and – more importantly – people who engage with the blog, comment and start discussions. It makes me focus on issues, and put my thoughts in a coherent order. Reading other people’s blogs gives me an insight into a) what they do and b) what they think.

I’d like to tell you a couple of stories about social media, and what it’s done for my – and others’! – careers.
Firstly, some of you may have seen an article recently about what I do in CILIP Gazette. That article is a result of my use of social media – I’ll take you on a journey to it 🙂

Earlier this year, I was named as a Rising Star of SLA. This is an award for SLA members in the first five years of their career, who show ‘exceptional promise of leadership’. No, I don’t know what I did to deserve the award. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything that other people aren’t doing – but what I did do, I did visibly. I got involved in the debate about the proposed SLA name change, writing several blog posts, and talking about it on Twitter; I started a ning for SLA Europe – all things that are obvious and available online.

When the announcement of the Rising Stars came through, I didn’t tweet about it. I didn’t need to – my peers did it for me. I find my twitter group wonderfully encouraging and supportive – always ready to tout any triumphs that peers and friends have had. So, my twitter group tweeted it, and SLA and SLA Europe blogged it, and soon I got a message on twitter from Debby Raven, editor of Gazette, saying ‘congratulations’, and asking if I’d like to be interviewed for Gazette about the award. I said ‘yes’, told her my email address, and it went on from there. I’d never met Debby, and our original point of contact was purely social media based. Of course, once the article was published I didn’t need to promote it either – again, my twitter group promoted it for me, and I gained loads of exposure – and a reputation for modesty!

Another story – and one, I’m afraid, which doesn’t have an end yet, is that of Ned and Laura. They met through blogging, and set up the Library Routes project, which is a wiki to collect stories of how people became librarians. This now has over 130 entries, from librarians in all sectors, and from across the world. It has been promoted through social media, in articles, and at conferences.

Not satisfied with this success, they started a debate on twitter about how to get discussions by/about libraries and librarians outside the echo chamber. It started as a hashtag: #echolib, and grew into blog posts (by them and others). From this, it grew into an article, and a presentation, and now they’re submitting a proposal to turn it into a book chapter. All of the ideas that have fed into this (you can see them on the presentation) have come through social media – tweets, blogs, videos, and the LISNPN social network. The tweets tagged with #echolib are stored on twapperkeeper, and Ned and Laura are updating the presentation on Prezi as new ideas and suggestions come in.

The #echolib idea is being picked up by leaders in the profession in the US, too, and has the potential to have a really positive impact on the profession. It’s fantastic that the genesis of this idea has taken place in social media settings, under the public eye – you can chart the growth of it through twitter and blog posts, see what has influenced it, and how it has evolved. And it’s great for Ned and Laura – they are directly connecting with many of the leaders in the profession, getting their names and ideas recognised.

I brought a lot of these stories together in my presentation earlier this year at the CDG New Professionals conference. I was presenting on ‘proving the value of peer networks’, and gathered all of the information for the presentation from my peer networks – mainly my social media networks.

I decided that I needed real-world data to make the presentation of value, and so I put together a questionnaire, and asked people on lis-link and in my twitter network to fill it out. I got 104 responses, many of them very detailed, which was fantastic. My definition of peer networks was ‘contact groups consisting of fellow Library/Information professionals, workers, or others associated with the profession. These may include groups such as work colleagues; fellow members of an association; members of a social group such as a ning or facebook group; conference attendees; twitter followers; and other groups with whom you interact on a professional basis.’

I included social networking via the web on the same level as more traditional, face-to-face networking, and didn’t ask any questions specifically about web 2.0 social networking. However, a number of respondents specified that they used social networking tools, with twitter, facebook, linkedin, nings and forums on various sites (library and non-library related!) all getting a mention.

One question which I did ask was ‘has being involved in peer network contributed to your career? (eg have you become involved in a project/found a job through peer networks?)’. 50% of respondents said that it had, and again a number of them mentioned social media in their answers. Respondents using Twitter said that they had been invited to speak at events, become involved in committees, written articles, given presentations and become involved in projects – directly through their use of Twitter.

Twitter, blogs, and social networks are mentioned as keeping people up-to-date; providing quick & easily accessible sources of good information; providing a wider perspective on the profession; being great places to make friends and meet like-minded info profs; helping with CILIP Chartership and Fellowship; finding out about resources, projects and events.

One quote which I particularly like:

I’ve only recently started to feel properly connected to a peer network -and this is really due to twitter and blogging. Funnily enough I ‘know’ more new professionals this way than I do in ‘real life’ in my own region. So I find a sense of community in this online network and that helps me to feel motivated and engaged with professional issues; to feel that I am a librarian rather than someone who just happens to work in a library. I’ve become more reflective about my professional activities and I think I’ve also become more ambitious because I am tapped into the interesting things my peers are doing. I’ve started to blog more, and I’ve ended up joining the CDG in my area (which has in turn has allowed me to meet other new professionals).

Social media gives you easy ways to help others in their professional development, as well as helping yourself. My Chartership portfolio is available online – on my blog, on the LISNPN network, and on CILIP communities. Having my portfolio available gives other Chartership candidates another point of reference – beyond the 3 official examples on the CILIP website. It also means that I’ve been forced to look at my portfolio after submitting it – rather than just stick it in a drawer and forget about it, I’ve had to go through and make sure that there was nothing confidential that needed removing before I made it public. This, of course, made me groan with horror, as I thought ‘ugg! Could have done that better’ – which means I’m already thinking of ways I could have improved my – successful – portfolio.

This use of social media also means that I can track my own growth online – which is fantastically useful for appraisals, applications etc. My professional development is archived and searchable! And, of course, I’ve made loads of good friends 🙂

I blogged recently about what CILIP Chartership – by which I really meant the process of putting together my Chartership portfolio – meant to me. Well, as of yesterday, it means that I am now a chartered librarian! Hurrah and jubilation etc etc 😀

Once the excitement had died down a little, I started to think about what being a Chartered member of CILIP means to me. It’s something I’ve been working towards my entire career – I can’t remember if the statement ‘I intend to work towards CILIP chartership’ was on the application for my graduate traineeship, but it’s certainly been on every application form and piece of professional assessment since.

So, now I’m there. What do I do with it? Is this the pinnacle of my professional achievement?

Hopefully not! After all, there’s still Revalidation, and Fellowship somewhere in the misty future. And I’ve expressed an interest in becoming a Chartership mentor, so there’s plenty of room for personal and professional development within the CILIP framework for me yet.

But what does it mean in practical terms? Am I, as @mariekeguy suggested, now ‘always expected to know what I’m talking about’? Do people expect more from Chartered Librarians? Does it have an impact on how you behave professionally? Or on how people expect you to behave? I guess I’ll find out for myself soon enough – but any insights you want to share in the comments are very welcome!

One immediate effect, by the way – a huge rush of affection towards all my wonderful twitter peeps, who were (as always) so immediate and unstinting with their congratulations. Did I mention at any point that you guys rock?

Well, the portfolios are done, bound, and in the post, and it’s time to reflect on what Chartership and the chartering process have meant to me.

Several people have asked me about this already, and I think I’ve tended to be fairly vague and desultory – ‘well, it’s something you’ve got to do, isn’t it? just a few hoops to jump through… but not too bad overall’. But do I really feel like this about Chartership? And, if so, why did I do it at all?

Now, my mentor was a lovely, lovely lady, who I really enjoyed spending time with, but this doesn’t tell the whole story of why I found the mentor relationship to be by far the most valuable facet of the Chartership process. Why? Because of the huge importance of simply having someone to tell me that it’s ok – nay, required! – to say good things about yourself.

I have problems with this, probably a result of an upbringing in which there was no middle ground between becoming modesty and vulgar boasting, but I’ve been getting better over the years, and have generally come to manage to admit when I’m not so shoddy at summat. So why do I – and others! – still have this problem when it comes to saying that we’re actually really quire decent info profs?

Well, guys, I’m afraid it’s all your fault. Yup, this is one I’m putting squarely on the shoulders of my peer group and social networks. Not because you’re mean and horrible, but because you’re just all so darn good at things!

We measure success, not against some abstract ideal, but from a concrete comparison of our achievements with those of our peers. As the general level of achievement rises, so do the criteria considered to denote “success”. and boy-oh-boy, are you lot a load of over-achievers 😉

Just from memory, and in the last few weeks alone, people in my Twitter network have won prizes and awards; have got exciting new jobs and promotions; have given papers and written articles; have got distinctions and started PhDs. My peer group is enthusiastic, intelligent, active, engaged. They serve on project boards, plan conferences, and write manifestos. They write ridiculously thoughtful and erudite blog posts. They edit journals and run workshops and make websites and implement innovative services and oh my guts and garters do these people ever sleep?

And yes, ok, I do some of those things too. But they’ve become the norm, which in some ways is such a brilliant, wonderful, inspiring thing that it makes me want to cry a bit and give you all a great big hug. But it also means that it can be easy to overlook the smaller achievements; to count yourself as insignificant among this gallery of stars, and we need the positive reinforcement of feeling that we have achieved to continue achieving.

So that is what Chartership has done for me. It has given me a still, small place outside the glamour and pressures of my peer group, and allowed me to measure my achievements against myself. It’s given me the chance and the encouragement to say ‘I done good’, and to remember that, sometimes, it’s about what the profession can give me, as well as about what I can give the profession. There may have been some hoop-jumping involved, but those hoops have helped to strengthen and affirm my sense of place within the profession. So there may have been swearing and grumbling and groaning, but I’m glad I did it. [DISCLAIMER: I reserve the right to edit/delete/throw a hissy fit if I don’t pass ;)]

I was supposed to be submitting my chartership, via the trial e-portfolio system, before 31/12/09. This is not going to happen.

I am meeting my mentor tomorrow, and I was supposed to have done a CV, an updated PPDP, and a draft evaluative statement. Most of this is not going to happen.

Why? I jokingly remarked that it was because I was too busy developing professionally to spend time on my portfolio. While this was a flippant remark, it does have a grain of truth. Since I agreed to submit by the end of December, I have become more involved with SLA E, and my work as co-chair of the Early Careers Committee has increased. We have also been very busy at Mimas, with all my projects taking off at once!

Another contributing factor has been my frustration with the e-portfolio system. I have found it very un-intuitive to use, and found the lack of documented help/instructions very frustrating. I’m normally quite keen to be an early adopter of these things, but just found that I couldn’t get to grips with this system.

After contacting some other people who were using the system, and finding that they wanted support too, I set up the ning, where we could share ideas and tips. This sense of having a peer group did help, and I started to feel better about the system.

Then I tried using it again. It might just be me, but I found that it was really detracting from my chartership experience. I had no feeling of something coming together, just of odd pieces of evidence stuck on at various times. I found that I was really dreading coming to look at it, and really wasn’t enjoying doing any chartership work. So I have decided that I probably won’t be submitting using that system.

I hadn’t realised quite how stressed I was, both by the e-portfolio system and the December deadline, until I decided that I wasn’t going to make it. I hate missing deadlines – it feels like such a failure! – but in this case it’s actually an enormous relief.

What this extra time (I’m hoping to submit around March/April) will give me is a chance to completely revisit how I am thinking about my chartership. I realised that while some of my disjointed feel was down to the e-portfolio system, much of it was due to the fact that I didn’t have a coherent plan for my portfolio. I knew in a vague way what should be in it, but I’d just been picking things out as I went along. I hadn’t been using my PPDP properly, as a basis for the structure. Frankly, I didn’t have a structure! I’d been assuming that as long as I was doing the development activities and the reflection, that the portfolio would pretty much organise itself. I was very, very wrong.

So, what I will have for my mentor tomorrow is this blog post, explaining why I don’t have any of the things I was supposed to prepare. But I do now have a better appreciation of what is involved in putting together a chartership portfolio, and am feeling geared-up to get going with it. And a little enthusiasm is worth a boat-load of paperwork, right?

I was invited to attend this training day by my co-chair on the SLA Europe ECCA committee, Lyndsay Rees-Jones. The day was run by the CILIP Membership Support Unit for the CILIP Career Development Group (CDG) regional New Professionals Support Officers (NPSOs). I’m not an NPSO – yesterday, I wasn’t even a member of CDG – but was invited along to share experiences of working with new professionals.

What I encountered was a group of bright, friendly, and enthusiastic people, brimming with ideas. Some I had heard of through their involvement in various projects, such as the 2009 New Professionals Conference, but this was the first chance I’d had to meet them.

Maria Cotera, president of CDG, introduced the day with a clear explanation of where CDG and the regional NPSOs fit into the CILIP structure. Then Kathy Ennis of MSU, Lyndsay, and Maria spoke about previous CDG events – mainly the new professionals’ conference and the graduate day. They asked for input from people who had attended these events, and Ned Potter and Emma Illingworth gave some interesting insight about their experiences of presenting at the new professionals conference and how it has affected their career.

Kathy also mentioned the “Big Conversation” that will be starting In Jan 2010, about the future of CILIP over the next 10 years. She was very definite that new professionals should be very deeply involved in making the decisions about the future of the profession, and said that she had recommended that the leader of the Big Conversation should be under 35.

We also had a chance to brainstorm ideas for future incarnations of CILIP Graduate Day, to involve opening up the audience, and taking it on the road. This produced some excellent ideas, and showed a lot of consensus in what we, as new professionals, feel is important for new professionals.

Overall, a great day. I’ve now joined CDG (can’t believe I wasn’t a member before!), and am going to have the chance to work with them again in the future, which is very exciting 😀 I also got to meet some great new peers and do some good networking. (During which I found myself vociferously defending ASKPro – I don’t think I realised how strongly I felt about it until I was challenged!)

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