Professional Development of Library Assistants workshop
Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 December, 2010
A guest post from a member of my team (Izzy Hoskins) on a workshop she and another of my team went on this week.
On 7th December I attended the Professional Development of Library Assistants workshop at the University of Leicester organised by Andrew Dunn. This course was aimed at Library assistants looking to develop their careers.
The day began with an interesting talk by Emma Donaldson who had completed the ACLIP accreditation, something that I had not heard of previously. Although I was unsure how far this particular course could take someone professionally it certainly seems a cheaper and more accessible option than others in its field. The portfolio that had to be completed in order to achieve this award was passed around and seemed to demonstrate a very hands on and active approach to learning – something that certainly appeals to me and that I am likely to pursue. I would however have liked to hear more about this qualification and where it leads.
Secondly Abigail Howe presented a talk about her personal path which seemed the most focused of the day. Her background as a library assistant alongside her MSc Library and Information Studies (Distinction) at City University has led her to become the Learning Resource Centre Manager at Huntingdonshire Regional College. Her achievements are down to an active pursuance of a professional career and she gave good examples and suggestions to the audience. Advice given included:
- Creating experience – in a previous role she herself had drafted in sixth form students to work for free during her lunch hour so that she could experience managing a team.
- Networking through conferences
- Involvement with UC&R alongside CILIP
- Creating contacts using Twitter
- Listening to others in the field by joining committees
- Taking time to do some professional reading
- Dressing, speaking and acting professionally, effectively behaving as if you are already in a professionally qualified role
Although her personal development path seems a little intimidating her general message certainly rings true and I am sure her C.V. will continue to become very impressive.
Chris Brown of Aston University gave the last presentation of the day by library staff. Having worked in various positions she was eventually led to complete the masters course at Loughborough. Interestingly she noted that she was advised not to take library assistant roles after graduating and instead hold out for an opportunity to arise. Although I could appreciate this sentiment I wasn’t sure how achievable this would be in the current jobs market.
Staff development took the second half of the day giving advice about creating C.V’s and performing at interviews. A large part of their discussion was spent on identifying the skills and pressures for staff within your target market although this only seemed to centre on higher education institutions. They focused on marketing yourself, finding your unique selling point (USP!) and quite importantly moulding your application to the market as opposed to trying to fit the jobs market to yourself. A lot of their advice was useful but I did feel that at times it took a while to get to a single point and that this time could have been used in a better way. For example I would have liked the chance to develop my own C.V. or to hear more about the variety of career opportunities within the library profession.
Although the day was very general I thought it was both insightful and useful. The follow up by Andrew Dunn to the feedback given has been excellent and is very much appreciated.