David Clover: A Research Librarian does CPD23

my CPD23 blog

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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.

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A delayed Thing 6 – Online Networks

Alas real life face to face professional development and networking took over my life (so more on this in the next post)

A quick reflection on online networks though. I liked the suggestion of three purposes and think these useful to evaluate online networking: becoming better known, becoming better connected, and becoming better equipped

LinkedIn: I’ve got a profile on and keep reasonably up-to-date. I could do more on my profile and add my CV etc, and use it to connect with people I have worked with, but in reality in academic libraries it is not a particularly useful site for finding jobs, etc though of course could come into its own if I one day decide to branch out into consulting and training (the far-off retirement plan). It is useful to have a passive presence there and I do increasing find myself checking people on LinkedIn to see current employer and contact details or previous work history.

Other people in other sectors make better and deeper use of LinkedIn but I’m happy with my relatively low key presence.

Facebook: Despite irritation at constant changes to Facebook’s interface and privacy settings, and increased annoyance at people sharing or liking pictures or trite sayings (if this is you I’m slowly converting you to most important status updates only) I like Facebook. But for me it is a personal networking tool, most useful in keeping in touch with friends overseas (though I find even in London it has a role in keeping in touch with people I see less of fce to face than I’d like). The personal aspect  is key though. Some professional contacts and colleagues I’d also count as friends so it isn’t as cut and dry as all that but I like the division and to be able to say things about my life (with carefully set privacy controls) that need not impact on my current or future employment.

LISNPN: I’m NOT a new professional. I’ve been around (even in the UK) for a while now and occupy a managerial position etc so LISNPN isn’t for me – though looking from the outside it looks like a great thing. I’d recommend it (but will leave the “young people” though of course not all young to their own network without oldies like me butting in).

Librarians as Teachers Network: Good to be reminded of this network, but again not a member and teaching only a small part of my role. It used to be a much bigger part and I’m still interested in issues about teaching, training and facilitating learning, but not enough to justify another network.

CILIP Communities: A great idea, but the wrong format at the wrong time. While I joined CILIP COmmunities I rarely checked in and I think CILIP Communities made the mistake (a common enough one at the time) of creating a new specialist social networking community when people were happy with what commercial providers were coming up with and found these easier to use. Many academic related social networks have had similar fates so no blame is due CILIP on this one, and I’m pleased to have heard rumourts that CILIP Communities is to be reviewed.

Google+:How can we miss Google+. I joined as a typical twitter induced early adopter but haven’t found I return to Google +. For all its qualities my networks were already on Facebook and Twitter and without the active community there was little reason to check in and update. It wasn’t helped perhaps by going on extended holiday soon after joining. Phil Bradley suggests Google+ deserves more use – if only because if I risk misquoting him – Google is so dominant in search and in adding the social to search. So I may come back to Google+ but will need something to convinve me.