Tag Archives: personal development network

Final Reflection

This class was extremely useful to me as it really forced me to become aware of the professional issues relating to library and information careers. Before I started this class I had a vague idea about the kind of issues that were important in LIS such as adapting to new technology and articulating the importance of the services that we provide in the digital age. Now that I have completed this class I have a much clearer view of these issues and many other issues through carrying out class readings and listening to guest speakers. The most interesting part of the learning in this class for me though was the reflections on the readings that we had to write for our blog/e-portfolio. Even more interesting was reading my classmates reflections as this exercise really gave us the opportunity to read many varied reactions to the issues we had been reading about.

The biggest change to my ideas of LIS professions was that I had previously thought that upon graduating from the MLIS I would have gained most of the relevant knowledge regarding LIS professions. I now know that to be a good LIS professional I must constantly keep up to date with new developments and actively seek out new things to learn and new ways to do things! I must also be adaptable and not be reluctant to move out of my comfort zone. In fact from what I’ve learned over the course it is important to always be a bit out of my comfort zone. This way I will always be open to learning new things. I am kind of afraid that once the course is over I will gradually stop all of the good habits I have developed during the class like keeping up to date with my Personal Learning Network and reflecting on the readings I have done. The reflections and such great ways to record your thoughts and are great as reminders of what I have been reading since January. Luckily I came across this blog which encourages LIS professionals to do 23 things for Professional Development. It ran last year and was so successful that round 2 starts next Monday 7th May. I am going to register for this and hopefully this will keep me motivated! Here is the link to the blog http://cpd23.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/sign-up-for-cpd23-2012.html

When I registered for this class I kind of expected that we would be learning about issues that affect libraries and maybe looking at some case studies of how libraries have developed in recent times. I was afraid that it would be a class that would not really be relevant until I was actually working in a library and then I might be able to refer to my notes from class for guidance. I was much more pleased with what the class actually turned out to be, which was more about professional development. I felt that the course was really just a starting point to help us to set up an e-portfolio and a PLN and means that I have both of these things which I hope will continue to grow throughout my career. While a lot of my course assignment will hardly ever be looked at again, I hope that what I have produced during this class is just the start of a life long project.

The most useful things that I learned during the class were from the guest speakers. I found it very easy to relate to them as most of them had done the MLIS just like us and all of them explained to us the career path that brought them to their current positions. Most of them had lots of experience in different areas before the jobs they are doing today and noted how this experience although it may have seemed irrelevant at the time, helped them in the long run. This advice has been incredibly useful to me and I have learned that instead of focusing on a particular job role such as becoming a public librarian, I ought to identify the features of that job that appeal to me, such as community engagement and project management and see what other positions will allow me to work in these areas.

Despite learning a lot about the issues relating to LIS careers through readings, talks and class discussions I really feel that I need to get experience working full time in an LIS environment to fully understand these issues and visualise how they affect the profession. My next goal in my professional development is to find a full time internship that will give me the opportunity to become fully integrated into a library team and hopefully this will allow me to keep up to date with LIS issues in a real life setting.

 

Advertisements

Week 1

Last Thursday for class we attended the launch of the Health Sciences Libraries Group’s report on the Status of Health Librarianship and Libraries in Ireland. At the moment when budgets are tight and each department needs to fight for a chunk of the budget, librarians and information professionals need to make the importance of their jobs clear. One of the speakers at the HSLG launch noted that nobody else is going to explain the importance of the information professionals to the CEOs. That is our job. Afterwards one of the speakers came over to talk to a few of us MLIS students and reiterated the importance of getting out there and marketing our skills to future employers.

Later on after reading up on what an e-portfolio is I realised that it is itself a form of articulating the need for and importance of the information professional in this ever changing and uncertain world of library and information services. It will allow me to write about my skills and keep up to date with changes and trends within the profession. An e-portfolio is itself a way to do what the man at the HSE report launch advised information professionals to do: to state very clearly the skills and the knowledge that we possess. It is also a place to record lifelong learning.

After the HSLG talk on Thursday we went to another talk at the RIA. This time the speaker was Carol Maddock from the National Library of Ireland who spoke about the National Library’s experience with Social Media. The NLI has had great success in using social media. It uses flickr to post ephemera and photographs and uses the collective knowledge of its followers to increase its knowledge of the photographs in its collection. This is a good example of the possibilities of ‘The Third Order of Order’, which is mentioned in a class article The New Order of Order. The third order of order (as opposed to the first: the organisation of things themselves, and the second: metadata that points to physical objects) is the digitisation of content into bits, which removes the limitations associated with organising physical collections and shows that “the solution to the overabundance of information is more information.”  The library also uses facebook, twitter and its blog to communicate with readers and increase its web presence, which is proving to be successful as virtual visits to the library now exceed actual visits. Carol pointed out the importance of being present on facebook and twitter: instead of relying on people to seek them out the library is now present where people already are. The NLI adopts an informal voice on facebook and twitter . Carol explained that this is not ‘dumbing down the brand’ but puts a human face on the NLI and makes it more approachable.

A lot of people still perceive librarians, in a stereotypical fashion, as middle aged women who wear their hair in buns, who stamp books and shush people but this is changing in libraries all around the country. In fact the term ‘librarian’ is now often replaced by ‘information professional’ and the concept of Librarian 2.0 is emerging, which is fundamentally an attitude but is also heavily reliant on IT and the need to constantly seek out new and better ways to do things within the  profession.

Through reading Professional Development 2.0: Take Control of your Own Learning I realised that the way this module is being taught is actually a new and innovative way of teaching which is known as professional development 2.0. The book states that this isn’t just a phase in fact it’s the future of the way that we learn. It’s not an approach to teaching that I’ve come across before. There are so many classes I’ve been in where you are simply given a ball of facts and asked to remember these facts and regurgitate them for an exam at the end of term. The problem with this is that often times you are more interested in remembering and regurgitating facts than mulling them over and reflecting on them. What I like about this class is that it forces us, by asking us to update our e-portfolio weekly, to read the given literature, to reflect on it to discuss it in class, and to integrate the knowledge that we have learned from one topic to the next.

The building of a Personal Development Network is one of the assignments we were given for this class. So far I’ve joined diigo.com where I can bookmark any interesting blogs or websites I come across. I can also follow other people on this site and therefore have access to the many interesting resources that they have read.

I can see this module really benefitting MLIS students, particularly students like me who have limited experience in working in libraries. I have lots of varied work experience but still don’t have full time experience that would give me a real insight into the changing role of the information professional so it’s good to be aware of the issues that surround the profession before I’m out on my own hunting for a job.