A network for new and aspiring library professionals
As our colleagues in the Manchester NLPN were inspired by their trip to CILIP’s New Professional Day so too were three UCD SILS MLIS students, and the hard work of the organising committee Marie-Therese Carmody, Sarah Connolly and Peter Fleming finally came to fruition when the inaugural New Professionals Day Ireland event was held in Pearse St Library in Dublin on Saturday, March 2nd.
Tweet Your Heart Out – Michelle Dalton (@mishdalton)
”Create and Curate.”
Michelle Dalton started proceedings off by taking our Twitter temperatures: were we cool, warm or hot (the results can be seen here: http://t.co/YMywia59kF)? Michelle suggested we view Twitter as a conversation and not a broadcast, as a method of reflective practice, a source of practical work advice (something very important for all new professionals), a repository of LIS resources, and a tool to access academic resources amongst the 10,000 scholarly links which are shared on Twitter daily.
Ultimately, we should develop a habit of sharing news and resources via Twitter, and participating in and following events such as #uklibchat and #irelibchat. In order to avoid information overload, we should refine our information flow and be be selective in who we follow. If we create our own content, such as maintaining a blog, we should tweet about our updates and remember that by retweeting we become curators of content for ourselves and others.
Getting Ahead in the Cloud – David Hughes (@usernameerror)
“Deployability as well as Employability”
David Hughes took to the podium next to emphasise the importance of web and IT Skills to librarians, with the migration of formats to digital and the rise of the virtual library. IT Skills enhance employability in and out of the library, and range from troubleshooting for users, including researching basic IT solutions, to understanding IT terminology and acronyms and resource access methods, and the ability to edit webpages and use Content Management Systems.
Equally, our soft skills have value, but we as librarians often sell ourselves short when it comes to matters such as project management. David emphasised sourcing free resources online, be it via Twitter, or from leaders within the profession such as Phil Bradley to simply examining other library websites to identify best practice.
How Do You Do – Daniel Duffy (@dangleroughly)
“Fake it ‘til you make it”
This was my first attempt at organising and facilitating any type of workshop and it was probably one of the more challenging things I’ve attempted. I emphasised the value of a peer network such as the New Professionals movement emerging in the library world, in addition to connecting with the broader library community through professional associations such as the Library Association of Ireland.
I am InfoPro and You Can Too – Jane Burns (@JMBurns99)
“Never Stop Learning!”
Jane began by reminding us that she began her career in a time when jobs were scarce, many of these were contract work only and the library landscape was being altered radically by new technology. Given the parallels with where we find ourselves now as New Professionals, Jane emphasised how important it is to view technological developments as an opportunity for CPD, to take on any opportunity we can to enhance our skills and to consider that when we pay for CPD we are making a significant investment in our future.
As job roles evolve, they may not have traditional LIS titles or even require LIS coursework. However, as new and recent graduates, we are all accustomed to researching and creating content, and can bring these skills to many jobs. Roles exist across many industries and sectors, where developments in the app and gaming industries and the rise of digital humanities present opportunities for LIS graduates. Voluntary positions are also an opportunity to develop skills whilst giving something back to the community, though we should consider when taking on such responsibilities the value that they have for us.
We should also recognise talent in ourselves and others, be it through using our networks to share opportunities or recommending colleagues for positions. Jane added that library associations present a structure within which this can be done, in addition to the value of getting involved at committee level.
The day’s events concluded with a lively Q&A session, which covered matters ranging from digitisation projects to the relative merits of business cards, followed by some real-life networking afterwards in a nearby venue.
Further information, including presentation and workshop details, can be found on the NPD Ireland blog, and via the #npdi2013 hashtag on Twitter.
Many thanks to Daniel for providing this in-depth write-up of the first NPD Ireland event.