I always worry that I am not “engaging” enough with the professional community or the wider issues affecting it. I often open up Twitter and want to close it immediately; there’s SO MANY THINGS I could be involved in and it gets a bit overwhelming. I feel stranded on a desert island, with just jealousy to keep me company; I see other LIS professionals who are managing to incorporate CPD into their lives and I’m sat struggling to find the time to do anything that doesn’t involve my day job, sleeping or eating.
Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/6V2ZTa
This is was one of the big reasons I decided to do the Chartership – I needed something to “force” me to get out of the work-sleep-eat cycle, to give me direction/focus and to exercise my mind.
So on Tuesday 2nd May I bravely (even if I do say so myself) dipped my toe in the CPD waters on Twitter. I took part in #uklibchat for the first time in a really long time; I have previously gone back to their Storifys and chat archives but my real time involvement has been minimal.
The topic was ‘SWOT in libraries’; all participants listed the various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to libraries, in general and specific to their sector. I don’t want to go over everything that was discussed but I want to highlight a few things that really stood out to me:
- Communication – We need to get better at communicating what we’re good at/can help with; not just the stuff we have but the way we can support users. But this doesn’t mean we should just rush out and say ALL THE THINGS. It’s too much for users to remember and you end up becoming white noise. In my own experience (education, currently HE) giving people too much information is almost as bad as giving them none. Students are already bombarded with information from their smart phones, they don’t need 3 years worth of information in one go. We have to be more specific and MAKE IT RELEVANT to them and/or their current assignment. It is the same when engaging with academics which my colleagues and I have explored different ways of engaging with our service users and have published our experiences and findings.
- We need to be kinder to ourselves (person and profession) – As a profession we are really concerned about our future and that’s the same for a lot of industries/sectors that are under threat. I’ve found our naval gazing often turns negative, we very rarely recognise our own achievements. Proving our value is crucial, not just to support and validate our position but to give ourselves a confidence boost. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a gold star. I had these made for my law students and I quite often accidentally award one to myself. 3. Don’t be scared of the future – Our profession will evolve we have to evolve with it, we’re a versatile bunch of people us librarians and we’re well equipped to ride the tides of change.
Although I appreciate that #uklibchat is just one small way of engaging with the professional community what I love about it is that it’s a great way of learning about other sectors without the need to go to expensive and time consuming events. You can meet and share views and ideas in an open way and it is not intimidating for newbies (or second time around newbies).
I’ve got the wind back in my sails now and I just need to make sure I build CPD into my life, not just to help with the Chartership process but to feed my curiosity.