Saturday, 16 July 2011

Being a Professional

I've been thinking about the meaning of being a Library Professional in 2011. Personally, I'm a big CPD advocate, a current CILIP member and a Chartered Professional Librarian to boot. So I should be happy at the top of this little tree, right?

Not really. Three things have challenged my thinking recently:

  • What difference has Chartership made to my career?
  • What difference does a Library qualification make when I'm looking at Person Specifications for jobs, or reading application forms?
  • Why isn't every Librarian a CILIP member?
I am finding the answers I'd have given here two years ago harder to justify now. The status quo is not an optimal situation:
  • Most employers don't look to Chartership as a significant factor anymore.
  • I know some experienced people who work in Libraries who could do a 'professional' job tomorrow, but don't have the qualification. I also know qualified people who have climbed a step on their career with more help from having the qualification on their CV than their actual experience or talent.
  • CILIP membership does not permeate through the profession deeply enough.
Would a new paradigm here provide a more competitive Library profession? Perhaps one where:
  • All people who work in Libraries are judged by their experience and talent
  • No job is inaccessible to someone who is capable of doing it
  • Everyone in the profession feels part of the community

The risk in this situation is that professionalism is lost - cornerstone values of the profession could become devalued. Allowing myself one of those 'if I was in charge' moments, I'd spend some time working out if a modular approach to CPD in Libraries could work as part of this new paradigm. It could offer a more flexible way to develop the skills employers look for and be more approachable and accessible or those with limited funds and time.

If this was combined with a different, ultra-inclusive membership model for CILIP, it might also give everyone in the profession the reassurance that only a successful Library community could offer, that although we're all different, we're all working towards the same goal - excellent library and information services, staffed with expert and fulfilled staff.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Umbrella 2011 - How Libraries can bridge the Information Web and the Social Web

I'm speaking at the Umbrella conference later this week, giving a presentation on behalf of CILIP's Mmit Group titled: 'How Libraries can bridge the Information Web and the Social Web'. I've put the Prezi up on the web in advance, and I'm also asking delegates to answer a question before they attend (they'll also get the chance to add their votes during the presentation). If you're coming along, please vote!:

Do you agree with 'People First, Content Second?:

A short article written around the content of the presentation will hopefully appear in Mmit's publication, the Multimedia Information and Technology journal.