I just wanted to commit some time to writing about my experience of the CILIP New Professionals Day 2012 that I attended last Friday. There are links to some excellent blog posts about the day handily gathered on the Ned Potter’s post about the day, so check those out for a more comprehensive overview of the day.
The New Professionals Day is a free event run by CILIP to give information, inspiration and advice to those us of taking (or thinking about taking) our first steps in the world of library and information management. The day had a great friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere and there was lots of networking to be done throughout.
The first presentation was from Ned Potter (@theREALwikiman) on branding and how new professionals can positively impact their personal brand. You can tell that this presentation had an effect on me, because look, here I am getting online. I’d been rather neglecting my twitter account of late but was motivated to get tweeting and start a blog after hearing Ned’s sensible advice on the matter. In the past I had been rather put off by social networking as professional development – it seemed like a lot of work for very little pay-0ff. But Ned’s motto of ‘dont panic’ and his helpful instructions of how to ease yourself into the online sphere made me think that it may well be worthwhile (and fun) to develop my personal brand online.
The key message was to do something; we didn’t have to be ‘super-librarians’ (damn, I wanted the cape) but we all have a brand that we can either let be decided for us or we can take steps to try and impact it positively. The great thing about Ned’s talk was the amount of options and practical ideas he gave us on influencing personal brand: from getting online, organising, publishing, sharing or presenting, there was something in there to suit everyones interests and strengths.
Having seen and heard a lot of the Wikiman on the web since I’ve become a new professional, it was great to finally attend an event where Ned was speaking. His presentation was engaging and informative and I’ll certainly be looking back to his Prezi on 5 ways to influence your brand in the future to help my professional development.
After this talk the new professionals split into three groups to take part in various workshops. My first one was Continuing Professional Development (CPD) adventures by Emma Illingworth (@wigglesweets). Emma was great at getting everyone involved and thinking about all the different CPD opportunities (to be fair, we nicked a few ideas from Ned’s presentation). We were given scenarios for information professionals with certain goals in mind and asked to suggest ways in which CPD could help. The result of this was a set of impressive lists of various CPD activities which I’ll try to keep in mind throughout my career.
The second workshop I attended was by Richard Hawkins (@usernametaken10) and Lisa Hutchins (@MyWeeklyBook) onCyberLibrarians: information management jobs in the digital age, which was a fascinating look into the more technology-based side of information management. It was great to hear that the skills that I use in my current job in a fairly traditional library could be used in roles like those of an information architect or website manager. I hadn’t ever considered this side of information management because I didn’t think I was “tech-y” enough, but Richard and Lisa were great at helping us realise how the things that they do weren’t all that far away from what a “traditional” librarian does. It’s all about helping users find the information they need easily.
After the second workshop we stopped for lunch, and at some point during this post it was bound to happen – I had to talk about the burritos. Lunch was amazing. Good call from the CILIP organisers! Food aside, there was plenty of networking to be done and when suitably stuffed, we headed on up to our final workshop of the day. Mine was Have you tried logging out and then in again? with Simon Barron ( @simonXIX) and Abby Barker (@abbybarker). I’m involved a little bit with e-resources in my current job but I was eager to find out what types of things a dedicated e-resources librarian gets up to. Abby and Simon talked us through their jobs and how they ended up working with e-resources, deliberate or not. They showed us that you don’t have to know all the technical bits and bobs, it’s all about understanding what the user is trying to do and how they’re trying to do it – more about people skills than being a computer-whizz.
With all the new professionals back together again after the workshops, the day was rounded off by presentations from Bethan Ruddock (@bethanar) and Phil Bradley (@PhilBradley). Bethan spoke on How to assemble your New Professionals Toolkit: tools needed were a network, a mentor, resources, a plan and a voice. As I listened, it was good to tick things off my mental ‘toolkit checklist’ and helped me identify what could help me further as a new professional.
Phil Bradley spoke about social media and your future career and I loved the uncompromising approach he took to the subject (yes, the rest of us DO have to get on Google+). It is vital for us all to engage with social media as a professional tool and it is our job to understand how to use it. Phil showed us how social media affected the results bought back by search engines and how social media allowed information relevant to you to be brought straight to your attention.
The day was a really useful and thought-provoking event and I took a lot away from it. It gave me a lot of ideas of how to get more involved, further my professional development and it led me to spend my weekend trawling through previously-unbeknownst-to-me social media!
All of the presentations from the day have been listed here on the CILIP website.
…Well, so much for keeping this post short!