David Clover: A Research Librarian does CPD23

my CPD23 blog

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Leadership and the New Science

Notes re the first Library Leadership Reading Group book: Margaret Wheatley’s Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World

For more on the LLRG see https://docs.google.com/document/d/1d5ULHoLI7CpOoaBIdUSO8UajOfE-HHkfEfG_JzqweaQ/edit

Margaret Wheatley Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World

It was interesting seeing what others thought of this book – my notes were as below

Overall not an inspiring read… but with some elements worth noting…

  • Focus on the whole rather than individual parts, look at whole systems.
  • Look at relationships between and within networks
  • Organisational values and vision can be seen as “fields” – unseen but real forces (e.g. fill space with word and deed/clear and consistent messages about customer service)
  • Need to focus on intent and visions – don’t get caught in structures, let forms instead emerge and disappear, as systems respond to challenges and disturbances by reorganising
  • Chaos enables new creative ordering
  • Notion of “just-in-time strategy” Karl Weick Social Psychology of Organization (1979) 223,229

Workplace capacity for healthy relationships

  • do people know how to listen and speak to each other?
  • do people know how to work well with diverse members?
  • do people have free access to one another throughout the organisation?
  • are people trusted with open information?
  • do organisational values bring them together, or keep them apart?
  • is collaboration honoured?
  • can people speak truthfully to each other?

Recognise potential – highflyers are such because people perceive them to be

Importance of feedback – role of positive feedback and amplifying feedback, not to regulate but to notice what is new

Sharing learning and information – set up processes to replace rumours/gossip… allow patterns to emerge rather than expecting conformity – individual decisions will not be the same

Criteria to judge effective leaders:

  • ability to communicate a powerful vision
  • ability to motivate people to work hard; achieve results; exceed plans and implement change

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Thing 11: Mentoring

Following on from Thing 10, where I mentioned mentoring for the CILIP CHartership scheme briefly… but first a little about more informal mentoring.

Two early mentors were one of my first bosses and a consultant who we worked with. Sandra was one of my first bosses in my first permanent post, post-qualification. As well as being my manager she acted as a mentor, encouraging me to take on new roles and projects and responding to my desire to do new and interesting things. She took an interest in my career and professional development as well as in my work-related roles. As an example of how these combined, one initiative I put forward was a service quality survey. I’d read of an initiative at the University of Melbourne using SERVQUAL as a basis (this was before the development of LIBQUAL) and expressed an interest in replicating and adapting this for our own organisation. A few months later I was offered a secondment to carry this our, to also develop a service charter (another idea I’d had) and to work on a interdisciplinary research project with one of our academic departments on an information literacy research project (using Delphi research techniques). It was a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and develop a sound basis of experience in two key areas that were at that time emerging in the field internationally, but have been key throughout my career since (service quality and information literacy). The secondment also provided the opportunity to write my first professional article (in New Zealand Libraries) and present at an international conference (the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE)) in the US.

The consultant also acted as a mentor in a different way. I’d got to know her through work she did for our organisation, and helped out when she revisited an organisation I had previously carried out a short term contract for. She became someone I could talk to about jobs I was interested in and my future career (not always appropriate topics to discuss with your manager).

In the UK, I was less successful in finding a mentor figure until I embarked on Chartership. In thinking about a mentor I faced two choices about how I approached Chartership. I could have seen it as a bit of a process where all I had to do was tick boxes and do the minimum required (afterall I had lots of professional development and involvement so could have seen this as merely a chance to certify this); or I could make the most of the process to really interrogate myself about my development and future goals. I choose someone who was a Director of Library Services in a university and actively involved in CILIP, and someone I respected at a professional level after hearing her talk at a CPD25 management skills training session. The fact that at the time she wasn’t based in London didn’t worry me as I decided I was prepared to make the effort to travel (and as it was she was often in London and then changed jobs so we often did meet in London). Debby helped me though the Chartership process but as well as that proved to be an able and considered mentor more generally. The mentor relationship is one I especially valued and gained much from.

This relationship in part inspired me to register as a mentor for the CILIP Chartership scheme. I’ve hoped to pass on some at least of the experience I had. More informally I have acted as mentor for a number of new professionals who were graduate trainees or temporary workers at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in their early periods of study, job seeking and early careers. I hope I’ve made a difference for them too. More generally it is something I hope to continue to do both through the chartership scheme and also in my workplace and is something that I intend to discuss at a future management group meeting to explore whether we can do more to develop our staff. And maybe it is time for another mentor for me! Perhaps something to consider as I look towards Fellowship.

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Thing 10 – Graduate traineeships, Masters Degrees, Chartership, Accreditation

My pathway into librarianship doesn’t go down the ‘usual’ (if it is in fact usual) UK route where the graduate trainee role remains important. At the Institute of Commonwealth Studies we did employ a graduate trainee each year, and were pleased to host some hard working, intelligent and committed early professionals about to embark on their careers. We made sure we provided a good training environment, working with the other libraries in the School of Advanced Study to devise a training programme, and ensuring the trainee had experience in a number of roles (including cataloguing, which has been a real benefit for a number of recent trainees).

New Zealand didn’t and doesn’t have graduate traineeships, though for many people a similar route of finishing a first degree, then taking on a library assistant role before entering ‘library school’ is the norm. This has changed a little since I qualified with the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand offering a undergraduate degree route (one which I taught on a paper for many years ago). I had a slightly different route with some part time study and library experience consisting of evening work at the university Law Library for a few years (a job I got after working one summer for the Law Faculty) and a year’s project for a development charity organising their own collection of books, files and other resources.

I then attended the only postgraduate course, at Victoria University of Wellington. It was then a postgraduate diploma and a couple of years after we finished the school did replace this with an MA. While there was an opportunity to upgrade, I felt at the time the experience I had gained, which included a couple of research projects, meant that the time and expense of upgrading was of little value. The qualification in itself is only a foundation for further development, preparing you to enter the profession but only of value after you do a lot of on the job, and other learning and development. A year’s training in itself can only do so much, but yet it does provide a foundation for what follows.

I was pleased that my New Zealand qualification was recognised by CILIP (then LA) when I came to the UK, and the qualification and my experience stood me in good steed when applying for jobs here, I have since chartered but was a late convert to Chartership, largely because the scheme that was in pace when I came to the UK required reflection on one’s whole career up to Chartership (and as that included 7 years in NZ post qualification this seemed like an arduous task). My involvement in the CILIP then University College and Research Group especially at a national level (and cajoling from people like Liz Jolly and Jo Webb) led me to start the process of Chartership (with the support of a great mentor, Debby Shorley) and complete this, after which I registered as a mentor. I currently have three mentees, having just taken on a new one after my first candidate has submitted and will hopefully be considered and be granted Chartership in the next round of approvals. I’m also in the process of writing up my revalidation.

From an employer’s perspective and as someone who has often been involved with shortlisting, interviewing and selecting candidates for professional level jobs, it is usually common to ask for a qualification as a required or desireable criteria. We have less regard for where people have studied or the modules undertaken unless directly relevant to the post. Masters degree dissertations and often surprisingly esoteric… and while it is nice to see people pursue their own interests I occasionally wonder whether they have missed an opportunity to better place themselves in a tight job market with a more relevant topic (and please, some other methodology than a survey of library list subscribers!)

In itself we have never required chartership, BUT evidence of continuing professional development and of keeping up to date (especially considering how fast the external and technological environment changes) is essential. Chartership, from my own experience, helps with this and in providing a framework for professional development as opposed to merely job-related training. It really helps I think prepare people for the next job up, rather than just being better in their current job.


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CPD in your later career (the “Old” Professionals Network)

What does CPD mean, later on in your career?

So as background: I qualified in 1992 in New Zealand, worked there for 7 years in professional posts and then moved to London and carried on – mainly in academic libraries but with brief stints in a national libray, a public library, government, law and an international development NGO.

Is CPD different? As a late Chartership candidate, one thing I’ve noticed in comparison to those I mentor is that much of my CPD then was by doing rather than attending courses. Which isn’t to say that courses don’t have their use, but endorses the fact that much of what you learn is by doing, and by taking on new tasks, responsibilities and roles. My Revalidation was a chance to think about the next stage, and once I hand that in Fellowship the next goal (and one difference I perceive is I’m more likely to be presenting or organisaing a confernece than just going along and listening – though when I do the latter it is a nice place to be).

Obviously my career is still developing and changing. Some key things I have done which will be included in my revalidation submission have been attending the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s Future Leaders Project, and my study tour to the US via the CILIP/English Speaking Union Travelling Librarian Award. I spoke about both of these at a CDG confernce last year. Much of my focus has been in two directions – in subject specialism areas and in management and leadership, nicely reflecting my current role. In the future I see increased management roles as being where I’m heading. At the same time I’ve been keen to keep up with new and emerging technologies. While my systems librarian days are well behind me I feel a need to have a good overview of developments and to understand new tools.

In an environment where everything moves (and very quickly) and in a career where I want to keep moving too, continued CPD is essential and remains important.

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thing 9 – a confession and an appeal for help: Evernote

Ok, so I downloaded Evernote on my Android phone…. and since then have added (but not consistently) a few names and years of wine I liked… but that is as much use as I’ve made of it.

I have in my email folder at work a “to read” folder… that is the kind of thing Evernote may be useful for… But I’m wondering and seeking answers… What is this for? How will it make my life easier? Show me how it works for you? At the moment it feels like a tool that I’m not convinced yet I need, but I’m open to persuasion. So I’ll look at it again and play with it a little and look forward to hearing from some others and I’ll come back to thing 9

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Thing 8 – Google Calendar

Using Google Calendar and using it well is one thing I can say I have achieved in the last year. With big thanks to my CILIP Chartership mentee Richard who in passing talked about his use of it and encouraged me to explore further.

We use Outlook calendars at work and share these and this is great for organing meetings, one to ones, knowing if someone is likely to be in their office, etc… And you can add your private out of work appointments and make them invisible to others. BUT… while I could access Outlook online this wasn’t with ease, and certainly didn’t look pretty.

Much as I love my Moleskin diary once I learnt to export from Outlook to Google calendar (a weekly or a little less job) my diary is now on my phone, so I can check appointments in the morning on my way to work and be mentally prepared for the day ahead, book appointments knowing what I may have planned on any day and in meetings confirm availability without a process of duplicate online and paper entries.

It was interesting to read of applications within libraries of Google Calendars – while nothing springs to mind of immediate application it is useful to keep this in mind.

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Thing 7 – Real Life Networks

I’m a member of CILIP and was active in the University College and Research Group prior to its merger, serving on both London regional committee and then National Committee for a number of years. My involvement introduced me to a fantastic group of fellow professionals, who were inspiring, energetic, knowledgeable and friendly! Especially working in smaller libraries I found my engagement extremely valuable and rewarding and can’t speak highly enough of the benefits I accrued. On leaving the National Committee (having done a 6 year stint) I’m finding myself at a bit of a loose end in terms of proper engagement with CILIP except through being a chartership mentor, and hope to get more involved with a group or other part of CILIP in the near future.

I’m also a member of the ALA and ACRL (American Libraries Association and the American College and Research Libraies Group). While one day I’d like to go to one of their conferences the main aim or joining, and benefit, has been access to their journals and other such information. Now of course they are publishing in open access but I do prefer getting my print journals and reading them on the way to and from work. It is interesting to get perspectives from outside the UK and hear about other initiatives from a slightly different context.

But my professional networking isn’t restricted to these bodies. I’m a member of SCOLMA (The UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa) www.scolma.org which provides information and networking for librarians looking after African studies, and was a founder of ANZLAG (the Australian and New Zealand Library and Archives Group) which had a similar role in terms of supporting Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies. That group and BACS LARG (the British Association for Canadian Studies Library and Resources Group) are currently largely non-active but with the scope to run one off events as and when members see the need and have the time and energy to contribute. Outside of libraries I’m a member of the Society for Caribbean Studies www.caribbeanstudies.org.uk and was a committee member. Largely composed of academics and researchers this is a useful group to keep abreast of another of my subject responsibilities. I’m also on the working group for the ELIAS (European Libraries in African Studies) Group, and earlier this year was at their confernece in Basel, and looking forweard to Lisbon next year.

In London I’ve taken part (and in the past had subgroup involvement) in the M25 and CPD25 consortiuum and in the Committee of London History Librarians. And I used to attend meeting of the archives AIM25 group.

Overall I’ve (a) been lucky to have been able and encouraged to be part of a large number of networks and (b) got a lot out of all of them, both in personal terms and also for my institution. Membership brings both personal and institutional benefits and also boosts both personal and institutional profiles.