Sunday, 19 February 2012

CPD23 certificate

As a completer/finisher I always like to see a project through to the end, and CPD23 was no exception. I had forgotten to share my certificate though, so here it is in all its glory!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Thing 23 - Reflection

23 by Auntie P, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Auntie P 

23 Things - all done and dusted! I've really enjoyed the 23 Things for Professional Development programme, both as an organiser and as a participant. It's certainly been useful in assessing where I am with my professional development, and where I would like to be. It's encouraged me to find out more about CILIP Chartership, which I hope to start next year.

I'll be completing the evaluation survey after I've published this blog post so I've been thinking about which elements of the programme I have found most useful. For me, it's been the 'thinky' posts that I've got the most out of - particularly Thing 3 on personal branding, Thing 5 on reflective practice, Thing 11 on mentoring, Thing 21 on evaluating your skills and areas of development. Many of those things I have wanted to work on for a while but it's been really useful to have them included in this so that I had to dedicate time to them. Thing 5 on reflective practice has been the most useful to me - I'm now trying to evaluate all my professional development activities with the 'What? So what? Now what?' model and will be doing this on my main blog when I write about the 23 Things for Professional Development programme.

Another positive outcome is that I've also started commenting on people's blogs more and I'm really pleased about that as I know how great it is to receive comments and how the conversations that happen in blog comments can be really useful to all involved.

I've recently completed my first annual IPR (Individual Performance Review) at work and as part of that I worked on a personal development plan so I decided to wait until I had completed that process before blogging this final thing. I looked at what skills I needed to improve my performance at work, and I now have a series of targets and areas to focus on which I hope will also be the areas to focus on in my Chartership. These include:

  • Networking
  • Presenting
  • Formal writing (e.g. academic writing)
  • Organisation skills (including project management, event management, time management and delegation)

Some of these I have already been working on developing, but I think I can improve on each of these areas. Some I have specific targets for, others I hope to incorporate into my professional development activities in the future. I plan to continue with the committee roles I am currently active in for both CILIP and ALA, and next year will be involved in the ALA Emerging Leaders program (January-June) which in addition to helping me understand more about ALA and how I can get involved,  I hope will include developing most of the skills I need to (particularly networking, organisation skills and presenting).

I found this activity really useful for helping me focus future professional development - I sometimes find it difficult to prioritise activities and as I take more on, I have to sometimes turn down opportunities that I can't fit in due to time commitments or that aren't within my current scope. I think knowing my areas of professional development focus should help me prioritise in future which will definitely be beneficial.

23 Things for Professional Development has been an incredibly useful process and definitely something I'm glad I participated in. Three cheers to all organisers and participants!

Hip Hip Hooray by What What, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  What What 

This will be the last blog post on this blog (though it will remain online and I will still chack comments) - if you want to continue following my professional development activities, including CILIP Chartership and ALA Emerging Leaders, please subscribe to my main blog, Joeyanne Libraryanne (you can subscribe by RSS or email from the links in the top left above my photo). Hope to see some of you over there and on Twitter :)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Thing 22 - Volunteering

There have been some interesting discussion about volunteering, particularly around the concerns that if librarians work in jobs as volunteers, does it devalue the profession? Why would anyone pay for librarians if they can get them for free? It's a difficult issue, and I'm going to wimp out of addressing that because I'd like to discuss the voluntary work I've been involved in throughout my career.

Volunteering to find out more about profession
 When I finished my degree, I knew I didn't want to go into a PGCE, was contemplating further study, but knew that was just putting off the decision about what job to do for longer. I was really interested in finding out more about librarianship, and though the best way to find out if it was something I enjoyed would be to get some experience. I visited some local libraries and tried to find some contacts to speak to for advice or let me have a bit of experience. I was turned away at the academic library (which I later ended up working for in my graduate trainee job!), but the public library and school library I approached let me visit. I spent a day at the public library, mainly visiting the different areas and chatting to different people to find out what it's like to work at a public library. It was an interesting day although the thing I remember taking from it was that there were a number of 'dodgy' characters that you had to keep an eye out for and watch what they were up to. Not something I had really considered before then! Shortly after that I managed to visit the school library and the librarian there was happy for me to come along every day to help her out. I was there for a few weeks of term time, and then there was a stock move to help with over summer. I absolutely loved my time there and the librarian really helped explain more about the library profession to me too (she previously worked in a university). I was able to discuss this voluntary work at two job interviews, and I really think it helped my applications (I was successful at both interviews). The feedback from one was that the voluntary experience really showed my commitment to the profession and they valued that greatly.

Volunteering to develop skills
 Although not on a daily basis, I continue to volunteer my time to serve on committees within the profession. I've mentioned before that I am on the CILIP West Midlands branch committee, CILIP Career Development Group West Midlands division committee, and I'm ALA NMRT-ASCLA liaison. Each of these positions are slightly different, but each benefits me greatly through both informing me more about the profession, and helping develop skills. Being part of committees has meant I can develop skills that I wouldn't ordinarily be able to in my day job. For me this has included organising events, managing multiple communication channels, representing a committee at wider events/communications, and working with a variety of different people from across different sectors. I find my committee work really rewarding and would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to develop skills outside their job role or wanting to meet and work with a variety of different people.

What next?
I definitely plan to continue with my committee roles, although they do eat up free time so balancing them with other commitments can be tricky. I'm getting a lot better at that though, and make sure to spend some time away from the computer (and phone and iPad!) in the evenings and weekends.

Thing 21 - Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

Interesting thing, this one (even for those of us not currently looking for work). As I'm about to embark on my Chartership it will be especially useful for me to consider my current interests and skills and identify gaps to address throughout Chartership. I'm going to have a go at answering the questions posed in the blog post.

(Apologies for the long blog post - I just kept writing as it was really useful! Also no pictures I'm afraid).

Identify your strengths, take a good look at yourself, your tasks at work, your career, your life: what do you like to do?

Along with many librarians, I like to help people. It's what first attracted me to librarianship and it's been a common theme through all my jobs and voluntary activities (right from gymnastics coaching which I qualified in aged 13!).

I also like to solve problems. By nature I'm a completer/finisher and so I love to start with a problem and end with a definitive answer. Things don't always work out that neatly unfortunately, but I'm happiest when they do.

Something else I like to do is to plan. I'm a planner in all aspects of my life; work on a shorter term basis, life on a longer term basis. I don't have my whole life planned out or anything like that; I prefer to be flexible to make the most of opportunities as they arise and also as I mentioned, I'm terrible at decisions! But I do feel happier when I have a plan so that I have something to focus my activities. It's like saving money (another thing I like to do) - I'm much better when I have a specific goal to work towards rather than just saving money for the sake of it. I'm constantly reviewing my plans depending on my situation, and always feel better when I'm settled on a plan.

What do you dislike?

At school I loved every subject (yes, I was frequently called a swot) apart from Art and History. Art because I was rubbish (I'm still not very creative and would love to be moreso); History because it just didn't interest me much. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy visiting museums and learning more about past civilisation, however generally I prefer to focus on the present and the future. In my research, I obviously need to examine the past in some way to set the context, but that's nowhere near as interesting (for me anyway) as finding out about cutting edge developments and considering the implications for future.

I'm really not very good at making decisions. I always look to others for advice when there are a large number of options to consider. Having said that, I seem to be far better at decision making in certain circumstances. I'm much better at making work-related situations (e.g. during projects and at meetings) than I am at making life decisions - small or big.

Another thing I'm not a big fan of is formal communications. When I'm learning, I far prefer to have a conversation or read a blog post than to read a formal article. Unfortunately that doesn't really suit the academic research world, and I know it's something I need to improve. I far prefer a more conversational style of writing, both to read and write. On a related point, I also don't like unnecessary jargon and acronyms (though I'm a hypocrite as I know I use them).

Do you remember the last time you felt that feeling of deep satisfaction after creating, building, completing something? What was it about?

I always feel a great sense of satisfaction when I've successfully completed something. It goes back to the completer/finisher thing I guess, and applies to all areas of my life. I like to have a clear end point and to be able to see what I have produced by the end. I think that's why I enjoy cross stitching so much - it's great watching the image come together and end up with a final picture.

I also feel satisfaction after teaching someone how to do something, or sharing advice/information via presentations. I used to want to be a teacher and although I'm no longer keen to do that (mainly due to curriculum), I really enjoy the aspects of my job that enable me to teach/present. This also includes my blog posts or tweets explaining things or linking to further information - it's very satisfying when people find them useful.

I find events very rewarding too - it's so great when all the hard work pays off and although during the event you run around like a headless chicken (I always aim for the swan - calm on the surface but frantic underneath, but not sure I always manage that!), I love it. Reading back the feedback and finding out that people enjoyed the event and found it useful is really satisfying.

What skills do you need to do the things you like?

The main skills I need for the things I like to do are communication skills, particularly written and spoken communication. I would definitely like to improve my formal written communication, and continue to improve my presenting skills and networking skills (I find this really beneficial in my work, but very draining and I still haven't mastered the art of avoiding the occasional awkward silence).

Organisation skills are also important for the things I like - managing myself (time management) and managing other people (particularly during events and when working on projects and with committees).

What next?

This has been a really useful exercise for me - it has definitely helped me focus on what skills I need to develop which I will be able to include in my PPDP (Personal Professional Development Plan) for my Chartership and in my targets for my upcoming annual review at work.

The areas I specifically want to work on are:

  • Formal written communication (reports, journal articles)

  • Oral communication (presenting, networking)

  • Organisation (time management, event management, people management, project management)

Friday, 7 October 2011

Thing 20 - Library Routes

Route 66 by JaviC, on Flickr

  by  JaviC 

I've previously written a few Library Routes posts recording some of my professional journey so please take a look at those if you want a full account but in summary this is my journey after sixth form until now:
  • BSc(Hons) Sports Science at University of Wales, Bangor
  • Voluntary library experience at school library and a public library
  • Public library job (library assistant on Sundays)
  • Graduate trainee at University of Wolverhampton (Wolverhampton campus)
  • Part-time paraprofessional position at University of Wolverhampton (Compton and Wolverhampton campus)
  • MScEcon in Information and Library Studies from Aberystwyth University (part time via distance learning)
  • Subject librarian (Education and Health) at University of Wolverhampton (Walsall campus)
  • CILIP West Midlands Marketing Officer
  • Branch Representative on CILIP Career Development Group committee
  • Evidence-based Research at Evidence Base, Birmingham City University
  • ALA ASCLA-NMRT liaison
I'm currently waiting for the results of my MSc (due December), planning Chartership (I'm hoping to register next year), and considering taking on more responsibility within CILIP West Midlands.

I think my route is quite typical, particularly the non-library undergraduate degree followed by a graduate traineeship and then the postgraduate library qualification. I've really enjoyed reading the journeys of other people on the Library Routes wiki, and I hope I remember to keep updating my own route as I progress.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thing 19 - Integrating things

Math by A Mulligan, on Flickr
I miss integration #lovemaths

 photo by  A Mulligan 

I've just had a look through my posts and I'm afraid I have to be honest and admit straight away that some of my good intentions I just haven't been able to keep up with. I'm still not checking my RSS feeds regularly enough, and am often behind on them. I'm not using ReadItLater frequently either - I have an article I sent there about 5 weeks ago that I still haven't got around to reading. I think maybe I have to learn to accept that I'm not going to be able to read it all during busy periods. I seem happy to accept that I miss things on Twitter if I'm not around but for some reason it's different for RSS feeds. Maybe I ought to take a leaf out of WoodsieGirl's book and learn to be less afraid of the 'Mark all as read' button.

The thing I've taken most from so far is thing 5 on reflective practice. It came at a perfect time as I'm preparing for CILIP Chartership and need to be more reflective. I'm now taking a far more reflective approach and am making sure that anything which might be relevant in a professional development context I am reflecting on using the 'What? So what? What now?' model of reflective practice. I'm planning to use this when I record activities during the Chartership process.

The other thing that I have managed to integrate more into my routine is commenting on blogs. Before CPD23, I only rarely commented on blog posts but having realised how valuable comments can be and knowing how nice it is to receive comments from others, I have now started commenting on more blogs, even if it's just to say that I enjoyed reading the post. Sometimes I know about a resource that the blogger might be interested in (and therefore also the blog's readers), so I've started making sure I also leave a comment in situations like this.

I'm pleased that some of the things from CPD23 will stick with me after I've finished, and I'm really glad I have this blog as a record to look back on to remind me.

Thing 18 - Screencasts and podcasts


Jing is another tool I used during Festive 24 Things (I made a screencast on setting up a Twtpoll - I was even brave enough to record sound!):

I really liked how easy it was to use. I mustn't have loved it that much though as even earlier today I found myself taking numerous screenshots of my PC and cropping them to create a step-by-step guide in Microsoft Word to show my colleagues how to add Sharepoint as a network drive. That would have been a perfect excuse to use Jing but it didn't even cross my mind!

I guess it's just not integrated into my way of working yet, but I'll try to bear it in mind in future.


I don't see a need for creating my own podcasts, so for this thing I focused on listening to podcasts. I've never really got into listening to podcasts - the only time I could imagine myself listening to them is when I'm travelling but I tend to work on mobile devices whilst I'm travelling so I don't think I'd be able to listen to podcasts whilst I'm doing that. I do keep meaning to update my subscriptions to my video podcasts on iPad though - I enjoy watching videos and can imagine it would be good to watch those each morning as well as checking my RSS feeds. Does anyone have any video podcasts they would recommend subscribing to? I love gadgets, technology, crafts and nature.