This evening I’ll be delivering a seminar for the CILIP Career Development Group (London and South East division) on Managing yourself: how to be productive with your time. I’ve given presentations on this topic before, and have blogged about it, but when I was invited to deliver this session I was initially unsure if I could fill 2hrs based in my knowledge. It’s also been a while since I delivered a longer session like this – I used to on a regular basis (for students, researchers or academic staff) in my subject librarian role, but most of my recent public speaking has been conference presentation of around 20-30 minutes in length (with some discussion if I can fit it in but largely just ‘chalk and talk’ style). I thought I would benefit from learning some new skills/techniques so decided to read How to run a great workshop by Nikki Highmore Sims.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s almost time for #chartership chat again (comes around so quickly!). The results of the poll gave a tie so we’ll take the first one in the list for this week and the second for the next chat. So this week’s chat on Thursday 29th March at 6.30pm BST will be Writing your evaluative statement.

Poll results

I know there are some people on Twitter currently at, or approaching, this stage and for those of us just beginning it will still be useful to start considering how we’re going to turn our evidence into a portfolio with the evaluative statement.

Please join us and if you know anyone who has chartered, please ask them to join us to share any tips and advice too. I’ve even prepared a tweet for you – just copy the message below to let your followers know about the chat this week.

Join us on Twitter to chat about writing your evaluative statement for #chartership this Thursday 29th March at 6.30pm BST.

Apologies in advance for what may be a very confused post, I’ve had lots of thoughts running through my head that I wanted to write down!

Librarian

I'm not one of these (though I did use this in my presentation at my first library job interview!)

Well, you’re reading Joeyanne Libraryanne so I’m guessing that after reading the title of the blog post you’re thinking, “erm…. Yes, you’re a librarian! Aren’t you?”. Well I’m not so sure anymore. I’ve been mulling over a few things recently, partly due to the struggle to define what I do whenever I meet anyone, and partly because of some excellent blog posts to do with the CILIP Future Skills project which have really made me think (if you haven’t yet read Tina‘s post, A plea to CILIP, please do so – it’s excellent).

The main argument in Tina’s post is that to be a profession, we need to have skills that set us apart from other professions and define us as librarians. I totally agree. But what are our librarian skills? Well, I guess managing information is one, but isn’t that something most people do in their jobs? Then there’s understanding the needs of our users and delivering appropriate services for them – but again doesn’t that describe many jobs? So what is it that defines us as librarians?

The more I think about it, the more I doubt my identity as a librarian. All my work is involved in some way with library and information services, but does that make me a librarian? I have my qualification, but a qualification doesn’t define someone (I don’t think anyway). It definitely benefits my job that I am a qualified librarian and have worked as a subject librarian in an academic library so I can understand the needs of many of the people we work with, but you could do my job without the qualification or library experience (it’s not a requirement in my job description). Really, my job is a researcher who specialises in supporting library and information services. That’s not a librarian. So I have a slight identity crisis.

I’m heavily involved in professional organisations to support other LIS professionals (and para-professionals), as evident with my committee roles for CILIP and ALA. This year I’m an ALA Emerging Leader and I’m working on my CILIP chartership but is this the right path for me? To highlight the difference between my role and that of a librarian, here are my chosen areas for development which I’m focusing on for CILIP chartership:

  • Research skills
  • Formal communication skills
  • Face-to-face networking
  • Presentation skills
  • Event organisation
  • Project management
  • Leadership

All of these are a key part of my job role, and all are skills I develop through my committee involvement too, but when you look at them as a skill set do they say librarian to you? I don’t think so. I think that describes any academic researcher. And even the marking criteria for chartership, again they aren’t really specific to librarians:

• An ability to reflect critically on personal performance and to evaluate service performance
• Active commitment to continuing professional development
• An ability to analyse personal and professional development and progression with reference to experiential and developmental activities
• Breadth of professional knowledge and understanding of the wider professional context

Then we cross the murky waters of an information professional and what defines that. Maybe I’m not currently a librarian but I am an information professional? I’d like to think so, but again that could describe any researcher really – we all collect information, analyse information, and repackage it for our user/client’s needs. I differ from Tina in my views on this topic – I think the commonalities between librarians and information professionals mean that they should be part of one profession, whereas I know Tina feels they should be separate (and I do question whether my views are totally objective!). I think it’s interesting that in the UK we have the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, but in the US it’s still the American Library Association. Where do information professionals fit in the US? Do they still come under ALA?

I’m still figuring out my identity, as well as working out what I want in the future. I love being part of this profession and don’t want to leave it (not for the foreseeable future anyway!), but the things I really enjoy about my job aren’t necessarily specific to this profession. I could do a lot of what I enjoy doing in a different field. I could be a psychology researcher for example, and I could still be working on developing all the areas I’m focusing on for chartership, just with a different subject context. In one sense this is probably a good thing (i.e. the skills I’m developing are transferable), but it does lead me to question where I fit. I can still see a lot of potential for things I can bring to both CILIP and ALA so I don’t plan on leaving either organisation, and I very much hope I can still gain my chartership, but I do think I need to accept that I’m a researcher specialising in library and information services, rather than a librarian.

What do you think? Does it matter?


ETA: As I’ve been drafting this post, Simon has posted on a very similar topic – worth a read.

ETA2: Previous posts of my own on similar topics – What makes a librarian a librarian? and What do I do?

Following the success of this week’s chartership chat (kindly written up by @Library_Quine in her blog post), which had a theme of recording and collecting chartership evidence, we now need to decide a topic for the next chat on Thursday 29th March. I’ve put together a quick poll below of some of the ideas suggested, though please feel free to suggest another – we can always add it to a future list even if it’s not the most popular for the next chat.

Please do vote and pass on the link to any others you think might be interested in joining in the next #chartership chat – the direct link to the poll is http://poll.fm/3lnco.

This week’s chartership chat we’re going to try theming the discussion. We had a great suggestions from one of the attendees, Kelly Quaye:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/kcquaye/status/175305291225763843″]

It’s a really common topic people want to discuss so I think it will be a really useful conversation. In preparation for the conversation I thought I’d share the methods I’m using to collect information about my activities and potential evidence, the main one of which is a Google form.

There are a number of different tables or matrices for collating information about your evidence and I thought it would be useful to set one up as a Google spreadsheet and populate it using a Google form. The idea is that I can use the form to add information to the spreadsheet from anywhere at any point without having to load a document up first. Read the rest of this entry »

Focus Group toolkit

My focus group toolkit

One of the things I’ve learnt to do in my job as a researcher is to facilitate focus groups. I’ve attended a number of focus groups with colleagues now, so last week it was time to be responsible for facilitating one myself. Encouraged by my chartership mentor, I decided to reflect on this on my blog as I know many librarians are involved in focus groups and it tends to be a key area people are interested in advice on. Read the rest of this entry »