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New Professionals Conference 2011 Tags: NPC2011 conferences

Monday 20th June was day of the CILIP Career Development Group's annual New Professionals Conference. This was my first time attending the New Professionals Conference, and I was lucky enough to have won a place at the conference in LISNPN and CILIP's recent advocacy competition.

A few of us were travelling up from Cambridge, and we decided to go the day before to avoid a 4am start. This worked out really nicely as it meant we had the chance to meet up with some other conference-goers that evening for a drink, a meal and some librarianly chat.

The next morning I tramped across the city (fuelled by a bacon sandwich) to the university building that was the conference venue. The day was structured so that we had three of the papers in the morning, then workshops and lunch, and then the final three papers in the afternoon.

Helen Murphy started off the morning session with her paper on the juggernaut that is CPD23. From the show of hands at the start, it seemed that most of the people in the room were planning on taking part in CPD23, but for those who hadn’t made up their minds yet, Helen reminded us of the benefits and importance of CPD. Helen's slides (featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and a puppy) can be found here.

Helen Murphy - Supercharge your CPD

Helen - Supercharging your CPD

Second to present a paper was Rachel Bickley, on the subject of 'Establishing a dialogue between new and experienced professionals'. Establishing a dialogue and avoiding seeming cliquey was a theme that several of the papers and workshops touched on, as throughout the day we were encouraged to talk to more experienced professionals, colleagues at work, and the public at large, letting them know what it is we do, and the value of what we do.

The final paper in the morning was given by Sam Wiggins and Laura Williams. I found their paper 'What makes an Information 'Professional'?'really interesting, as I'd seen their survey and was keen to know what other people thought about this question. I would consider myself to be a 'Professional' despite not being chartered or even qualified, and since it was after all the New Professionals Conference, I'm sure many of the other attendees would too. Because I'm in a graduate trainee role, and have always intended to get my MA, I see myself as a professional albeit a (very) new one! Sam and Laura's research led them to come up with the following definition of what makes a Professional: "possession of qualifications, experience or skills, alongside an underlying professional attitude." I guess I've got the attitude and am picking up the rest on the way!
Sam Wiggins and Laura Williams - What makes an information 'professional'?

Sam and Laura - What makes an Information 'Professional'?

We then split off into our groups for the first workshop session. I'd chosen a workshop on 'Information roles - expanding our horizons' run by Nicola Forgham-Healey and Franko Kowalczuk. In this session we were given a collection of required skills taken from job listings on recruitment websites, and had the task of dividing them by whether they were traditional and non-traditional librarian skills. Although we were asked to divide them, my group ended up making more of a continuum, as did most others. We were then asked to pick three which we could improve on or get more experience in (for me: budget/finance skills, leadership skills, communication skills), and then as a group pick 5 which would be essential for all information roles. Good communicator came top, then professionalism, prioritising/time management, team player, and internet savvy. Interestingly "organising information" was only chosen by two groups, which I was quite surprised by.

After lunch, my second workshop was with Alice Halsey and Simon Barron from Voices for the Library. The theme of the workshop was 'Getting involved: activism for new professionals'. Besides fanning the flames of my Kindle-envy (Simon was using his Kindle to read his notes!), this workshop was one of the parts of the day I enjoyed the most, as it was great to hear from two members of a group that I really admire. It was also a very positive session, and I'm sure many people came away feeling encouraged to get more involved in library activism.

Then it was back to the lecture theatre for the final three papers of the day. Ka-Ming Pang and Jo Norwood were up first with 'Can we play? Building opportunities for LIS student activism and why it matters'. Despite the fact that four of the speakers during the day were currently studying for a library MA, library students often don't seem to be that engaged or active. Like in Rachel's paper in the morning, the importance of effective communication and networking was emphasised. I particularly liked the suggestion of a regular #libchatstyle event at a more convenient time for us Brits. If anyone were to start up a #libchatUK, I'd be a regular participant!

Up next was Megan Wiley, who works as a Careers Information Specialist. Megan talked about the importance of making sure your work wasn't 'for your eyes only', but sharing what you do with your non-librarian colleagues, and proving the worth of your LIS qualification. If your colleagues don't know what you do, they won't be able to recommend your services to students!

The final paper 'Teaching old books new tricks: how special collections outreach can help you, your career, and your library' was by my travelling companions Katie Birkwood and Naomi Herbert. I'd heard a bit of this presentation on the train on the way up, but was looking forward to seeing the whole thing. Katie and Naomi have both done a lot of outreach work at St Johns College, and although it looks like a lot of work, it also looks really good fun. Katie and Naomi won the prize for the best paper, so the extra practice on the train clearly paid off!

Presenters from the afternoon sessions

Presenters from the afternoon session - Megan, Katie, Ka-Ming, Naomi, Jo

There were several themes running through the day. As well as establishing a dialogue/avoiding cliqueyness which I've already mentioned (and which has spawned its own discussion thread on Twitter and on the LISNPN forums), we were encouraged throughout the day to make things happen for ourselves, not to sit around and wait for things to come our way. Finally there was the question of ‘Professionalism’ and attitude. In Biddy Fisher’s closing remarks I think she summed it up very well with “enthusiasm, a willingness to learn, and commitment – that’s what makes a New Professional”.

I had a fantastic time in Manchester, and very much hope to be at the 2012 New Professionals Conference!

New Professionals Information Day 2011- My Experience Tags: NPID2011

I left the comfort of my bed at 5.30 am and was forced to run for the train, which broke one of my cardinal rules (never run for public transport) so I wasn’t sure if the day would continue on a downward spiral, or pick up from there. 


I decided to be a modern girl and let my iPhone show me the way to CILIP  HQ (a feat helped immensely when I finally remembered to switch on location services!). Once I’d found my way there, I realised it was still only 8.45 and wondered if I’d look too keen if I went on in, a bit early. I decided to suck it up and was greeted by some very lovely ladies, who gave me a pack stuffed full of info about the day, and CILIP (and a pen!) and pointed me towards coffee, and (gulp!) other people with whom I could ‘network’. 

Networking, and the importance of it was one of the themes of the day, and I’m gad to say that I met some very lovely librarians, some of whom I had already encountered on twitter, (and some of whom I now follow). After copious amounts of coffee and OJ and a tiny croissant, we headed up to the first session, delivered to us as a group en masse:


Steve Clarke- Your attitude determines your altitude:

The first session was a little bit ‘outside the box’ from what you’d expect at a library association event. Not that I’ve ever been to one before, but even so, getting an experienced salesman to speak to new librarians seemed odd. 

Overall, it seemed that he made a good impression on some people, and slightly perplexed others. I liked him, despite my inherent mistrust of those business type guys, although I did get a little lost during his flight metaphor!

I’m not sure how many people in the room were convinced by his idea that we’re all essentially in sales, but his message was a positive one, and set a positive tone for the rest of the day, even if some of us missed his point a bit.


After this introduction, we popped back for a bit more coffee and OJ while the rooms were set up, and then split into groups to attend the next few sessions.


Alex Wilson-Campbell- Getting a Job.

At the end of the day, we found out that it was Alex’s birthday, and I can think of a billion things that I’d rather do on my birthday than give a presentation to a room full of people (twice!) but the presentation contained some excellent advice, so I’m glad he decided that a day at CILIP was the best birthday treat. 

There was some really good advice about how to tailor your CV, and how to approach employment agencies (top tip: treat your recruitment consultant like a friend, and form a relationship with them so that they start to think of you first as jobs come in) and also some great pointers on the difference between your qualities and your skills, and how to capitalize on these to get the job that you want. He was very friendly and approachable and gave some great tips on how to look at the ‘hidden job market’ too.


Lyndsay Rees-Jones- Getting experience:

Lyndsay had a great story about her career so far, and it really opened my eyes to the different types of experience available and how getting involved with your professional body can really kick-start your career. It was great to hear about someone’s successful career, and about how important it is to build up your contacts within the profession, this talk left me feeling really inspired and engaged with the profession, and really excited about ‘not saying no’ and putting myself out there with my local CILIP group to see what happens!


Bethan Ruddock-Getting Involved:

Bethan was really inspirational, I had never realised that there were so many different professional bodies that I could join, and it was great to hear from someone who is so enthusiastic about the profession, especially when it seems to be such a difficult time for librarians in general. 

As with Lyndsay, Bethan’s talk really made me wonder why I’ve been so scared to get involved with CILIP events, and I came away from this session with a renewed sense of excitement to get involved, and with a half year resolution to try and attend more events. (I’ve also committed myself, via post-it to do the CPD 23 things- an idea that I was ‘thinking about’).


Maria Cotera-Getting International:

Maria was my last session of the day. She’s had such a varied involvement with different organisations such as CILIP and IFLA (fun fact: as a CILIP member, you’re automatically an IFLA member too) and is so passionate about the positive impact that librarians can have on the world, that yet again I felt so inspired by her. I’ve been thinking about  applying for various conference awards, and the traveling librarian award for a while now, and keep thinking myself out of them, but Maria has inspired my second half year resolution: to apply for more conference awards, on the off chance that I might get to go to some more brilliant events.


All in all, the day was so engaging and inspiring. I’m getting to the end of my graduate trainee year,and am due to start my Masters in September, and this day gave me a renewed sense of excitement about my new profession. Once I’ve finished my trainee year, I fully intend to become more involved in my local CILIP group, and hope that the people that I met today will become part of my professional network as my career progresses. 

If anyone is hesitant about attending the NPID next year, all I can say is, go on, what’s the worst that can happen?


I’ll see you next to the mini croissants at the 2012 NPID :)

23 Things for Professional Development Tags: cpd professional development career development

Would you like to increase your level of professional engagement? Are you interested in doing more towards your continuing professional development (CPD)?
cpd23 logo
If so, then you’re in luck.  This month sees the launch of ’23 Things for Professional Development’, a self-directed, self-paced, inclusive, practical, and free online programme open to information professionals in any type of role or sector, and from any part of the world.

What is it?
You may have already heard of, or taken part in, ’23 Things’ programmes that introduce and explain various types of social media. CPD23 takes this familiar format and gives it a twist: the programme covers not only social media Things but also more traditional CPD routes, such as gaining qualifications, presenting skills and getting published.  Throughout the programme the focus is on how these tools can help you further your career.

What will I have to do?
The programme is completely informal, and no prior knowledge or experience is expected or assumed.  Each week, details about one or more of the Things will be posted on the central CPD23 blog (  We’ll invite you to explore the Thing in question--and don’t worry, we’ll provide lots of guidance--and then record your thoughts on your own personal blogs.  Don’t panic if you haven’t already got a blog--that’s covered in Thing 1.

But if you do, and you’d like to use that for the programme, please feel free.  We’ll also ask you, as part of Thing 2, to register your blog with us, just so we know you’re taking part and can say hello!

What will I gain from it?
23 Things for Professional Development is a great way to supercharge your CPD.  It aims to assist you in exploring your own professional development and to increase your professional involvement.  We hope that it will enable you to learn more about the different ways to enhance your career and equip you with the tools, skills, knowledge and confidence to boost, underline or kickstart your CPD.  We also hope it’ll be a lot of fun and a brilliant opportunity to meet and get connected to other information professionals.

How do I join in?
23 Things for Professional Development starts officially on 20th June, 2011 and it runs until October.  To join in, just visit the CPD23 blog on 20th June and get started!  If you’ve got any questions at all, you can comment here, on the cpd23 blog, you can tweet @cpd23, or you can ask in the LISNPN forum thread.  We’re really excited to see who’s signing up, so even if you don’t have a question do say hello!

23 Things programme was inspired by the 23 Things Cambridge programme, and is based on the original 23 Things programme at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenbury County in the USA in 2006.


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