Thursday, 25 October 2012

Thing 12: Putting the Social Into Social Media or Becoming a Juggler

Recently I've stepped away from blogging and given twitter a proper go. Being an information professional really is a juggling act. On Fridays I used to read my blogs and work on the Things. Of late I've taken to reading my blogs and posting what I'm interested on Twitter (@walkerabroad). Unfortunately it's meant the Things were given a temporary heave-ho! Yes professionals are turning more and more towards social media as a way of advancing their professional knowledge and networks but how do you juggle all the networks??

There are how many people doing cpd23? Last time I checked it was 800 and yet I'm the only person in my library doing it. Is it about the juggling or lack of knowledge? This always strikes me as interesting considering the profession I'm in. I've shared my blogs with others and it's not that scary.

On Facebook I'm part of the ALA Librarians group but there I'm definitely a lurker. On Twitter I took the crazy step of unprotecting my tweets and you know what? The spammers didn't come calling nearly as much as they used to. Now my tweets are flying to various parts of America and the UK. I don't tweet to nearly as many people as I should but I am trying. How much time do people spend on twitter anyway? Are they permanently shackled to it?

Since starting in the library I've worked in four distinct areas and I'm aiming to up that count. I like to see different areas of the library, this is back to Star Trek from a few posts ago, and see the library as an organism on the whole rather than each area being separate. I should really just apply this philosophy to tweeting and the ALAers. It's just another way of getting to know people.

Thing 10: Graduate Traineeships, Masters Degrees, Chartership, Accreditation or the Bend in the Road

Hmm! How did I post Thing 11 before Thing 10! This is the worst of doing draft posts. You write them up and then post in the wrong order. But life doesn't happen in a precise order, sometimes there's a bend in the road or a little turn and so Thing 11 happens before Thing 10.

On to Thing 10! Graduate Traineeships. I wish that these had been around a little earlier or maybe I only started noticing them once I was in a library. Either way I don't know if you can go back and do a graduate traineeship once you've been in a library for a while.

In Ireland:experience is needed before going to library school.  I was lucky in that I'd worked as a student assistant for 18 months before I returned to work in a library and then I'd a year of working as a library assistant before I applied for the MSc in ILS. I'm doing the course with Aberystwyth as I can work away while I'm studying. Sometimes I wonder if I'd taken a year off or done the course earlier in my career where I'd be now but then how many great people would I have not met if it had gone that way instead. Oh those little bends in the road!

Once the MSc is done then Chartership is the next step. I've done portfolios from when I did teaching courses: secondary school and TEFL and they're a great tool to lay out what has been achieved and for setting goals. I've recently read Jo Alcock's portfolio and well done to her! Mighty work! I don't know how many people where I work know about Certification of if they're interested in it but it could be something worth pursuing.

I have two teaching qualifications; I especially find the TEFL one useful as there are increasingly large numbers of international students in the library at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. It makes me aware of the various issues that they have. There is more and more teaching and instruction involved in librarianship so I think these qualifications are quite useful.

I did my undergraduate in English & French and later topped it up with Irish to degree level. In Irish universities and in Irish public libraries being able to speak in Irish is very useful. I also have a Masters in English. Many librarians are now required to have a subject specific postgrad qualification so it's good to know that mine isn't wasted!

I know I need to keep topping up my qualifications as the library world isn't static. On the to-do list are: learn Latin, learn an old language i.e. Old Irish or Old English or one of the Old Scandinavian ones sound cool (maybe it's too much The Killing, tak!), do a module on historical bibliography for special collections, do the PRINCE project management qualification, do Chartership, have better computer skills, restart learning to code (I think this would be go #3). Hmm! Quite a list! Better hurry up and finish the MSc really fast!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Thing 11: Mentoring: Modern Family Meets Star Trek
I've had mentors but mostly unofficial ones. One in particular has been extremely helpful over the last 6 years always pushing me, but in a nice way, to try new things and explore different projects. It's a bit like Star Trek. Unfortunately for me she's recently moved to a different section at work so I don't get to talk to her as much and she's now doing user education sessions also so we don't coincide either at break time. I think it's going to end up as a 'play date.'  Is she going to be the new Jasper from Modern Family?

The library I'm in did a pilot scheme for mentoring a few years ago. I was a pilot mentee and I used the opportunity to find out more about different kinds of approaches for acquiring data for my disseration (which is going swimmingly, thank you for asking!).  So I did find out about qualitative and quantitative methodologies which proved handy for when I actually did need to know about them. The pilot scheme never expanded into something more permanent which is a pity.

I know mentoring is a key part of CILIP Chartership so as that is one of my next projects (along with learning Latin, learning how to code or at least the basics, learning... oh it's an endless list!) I figure I'll experience it in a new and different way and I'm back to Star Trek again!