A network for new and aspiring library professionals

Amy Allwood’s CILIP NPD write-up (part two)

Part two – post burritos!

The third workshop of  #cilipnpd13 was “I’m not a careers adviser” delivered by Matt Bedwell, Victoria Stevenson (@girlsetsfire87) and Megan Wiley (@wiley9000). Matt delivered the most complicated game I have ever seen, and revealed the competitive nature of some librarians. (He is definitely missing his calling as a quiz show host!)  This session revealed the ins and outs of the careers service, the confusion for both students and staff of knowing who does what and how. Ensuring the relevance and importance of your role is vital to maintaining your standing within the organisation – I think even more detail on how the careers service achieve this would have been valuable. It demonstrated that often there is little understanding of what our jobs actually involve and the levels of professionalism and expertise required.

The final workshop was delivered by Mandy Powell (@Minimorticia) on Developing Professional Skills. This was a lively and engaging session, with much talk of Monty Python characters. This was a very hands-on session with post-it notes all over the place, but it was very useful for thinking about the skills required for prospective jobs. Mandy selected a variety of common ‘skills’ from job descriptions and asked us to think of ways which we exhibit, and could develop, that skill. It’s a strong move to align yourself to job description requirements if you’re certain of the road which you want to take. This proactive approach to ensuring you’re a likely match is useful, and also allows you to see all of the skills which you are developing throughout your career – adding a little sprinkle of reflective practice alongside your CPD. Ideal!

Developing Professional Skills

Picture from the last session of the day Developing Professional Skills

The day closed with a panel discussion, opening the speakers to any questions from the floor. Everyone was a little shy at first, and so there was a question at the ready from a chap specifically appointed this role – “What would your one piece of advice to a new professional be?” There major answers to this were:

–          Join local special interest groups as you get so much from it

–          Attend conferences whenever you can

–          Join JISCMAIL lists

–          Say YES to opportunities and take risks

–          Make people aware of what you’re involved in – don’t be shy about it!

–          Talk to your lecturers

–          Use your network – ask people who are in the role you’d eventually like how they got there.

–          Suggest new ideas, and if you know it’s a good one, keep hold of it.

There was also some discussion of what the panel felt was lacking in current LIS schooling, and a big one in this was Work Based Learning. If I wasn’t so shy and awkward then at this point I would have said that Robert Gordon University has a 4 week placement as part of their Masters which is used as the basis for a module with a reflective assignment included. I found it really worthwhile and interesting doing this module (I did my placement within my own workplace). It appears to be a significant gap across the Masters, despite CILIP accreditation requiring some aspect of engagement, so it’s interesting to know that Robert Gordon are doing excellent work in this respect. I have loved the course and the university despite never physically having attended it though, so perhaps I’m a little biased!

#CILIPNPD13 was an interesting, engaging and inspiring day, which I’m very glad I attended. I have some work to do with regards to the socialising element of these things, but I know that’s something I’ll grow in to with time. I spoke to graduate trainees, not-career-advisers, law librarians, public librarians, school librarians, House of Commons Librarians and CILIP staff and everyone had a completely different story about how they came to the role, but their enthusiasm was universal and it was really great to see!


Thank you to Amy for providing us with her experience of the day, and we wish her the best of luck in her new role as ILT support advisor. If you enjoyed the post you can keep up with Amy’s  going on via her blog. Furthermore, if you would also like to share your experience of the day or any other events you feel would be relevant for the network please get in touch with us on either twitter, facebook or email.

One comment on “Amy Allwood’s CILIP NPD write-up (part two)

  1. Pingback: CILIP New Professional’s Day & MNLPN |

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This entry was posted on October 20, 2013 by in National/International events & conferences and tagged , .

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