Monday, 27 June 2011

And another (few) thing(s)...

I've been watching the 23 things movement with interest. Having worked in staff development for a few years at cpd25 I have a well ingrained belief that continuing professional development is fundamental in (what has now deservedly become a cliche) the fast changing library world.

The 23 things selected are excellent, and credit to the organisers. However, I think there a few universal things that those who really want to push their development should definitely look at (once they've done the other 23, of course). So think of this as an auxiliary list - if the original 23 didn't push you outside of your current comfort zone, hopefully these suggestions will:

1. Learn about open culture.

Absolutely essential for librarians. Be it relating to software, content or anything else, the principles involved here should be part of any librarians motivations for being a librarian in the first place. Here's some places to start: Access, Bibliography, Citation, Data, Source. If you're going to be a librarian for a while, at least one of these will affect your work in the future.

2. Learn about electronic access management.

Every librarian who works in a library that wants to provide access to electronic resources needs to know about this, public, academic or otherwise. It can sound complicated, and because of the technology involved this topic puts people off. Don't let that happen to you, because once you understand this you'll make more out of your content and look less silly in front of library users less often. Extra points for learning about DRM.

3. Get more opinionated.

You might think you can skip this one, but there is almost certainly some important development affecting the future of libraries out there that you currently don't care about. The next time you're not sure about something, find out more about it and try and decide what you think. Informed ambivalence is still an opinion. Ignorance isn't. By developing considered opinions on library related issues you'll be ready to be part of the conversations you'll need to have as your career develops.

4. Talk to someone who interviews for library staff about what it's like to be on the other side of the table. 

If you've only ever been interviewed and not done it yourself then there is a lot about the process you may not realise. Find out about how shortlisting is done, how interviews are marked and so on. Don't wait until you next get selected for interview to think about this - understanding the process in advance will mean you'll be better prepared when the chance comes.

5. Learn the difference between targets and strategies. 

This is simply about getting things done. Even simple change in many libraries can be hard to achieve, but knowing the difference between what you want to do and how to get there will help enormously. Even if you're not involved in doing the strategic thinking or the planning yourself, it'll help you understand what your bosses are trying to do.

If you mange the first 23 and then do these 5, you'll probably end up a better librarian than I am! If there's interest, I've got some ideas for a blogpost on things to avoid and common pitfalls - let me know what you think!


Librarian Lou said...

Hi Dave,
I've started the 23 Things and am really enjoying the virtual community aspect of it, as well as having already learnt some new stuff. I think your further 'things' are excellent suggestions and if I'm not thinged out by the end I may well push on and try these. Thanks!

Sarah Wolfenden said...


I'd be interested in your suggested blogpost. I'm doing cpd23 but quite a bit of the stuff on there are things I am doing already. Looking at your list, I don't really do any of what you've mentioned but know I really should. Some tips would really help get me started. Thanks.