Archive Page 2

#blogjune: post 19: Learning a new skill is …

27898481016_2c2198e46f_mI know it sounds improbable but I’ve been taking a ‘ballet for grown ups’ class since September last year. Needless to say I don’t look anything like this picture, but you get the idea.

The experience has been trying & fun in equal amounts. Lots of laughter needless to say. Suffice to say I am not a natural dancer, something to do with lack of coordination & balance. But I’ve enjoyed the classes. There’s a mix of people attending, & after an hour of warm up & learning the next steps in our dance I am tired. I’ve discovered muscles I didn’t know existed.

Learning a new skill is an interesting process. You become more attuned to how you you learn, & to style of teaching your tutor adopts. Of course learning for an hour a week, particularly when practice outside the class is minimal, makes for slow progress. I’ve mastered the basic five positions of ballet (feet and arms), but find learning dances difficult. It takes time & lots of repetition to get the choreography right.

So learning ballet is a bit like writing blog posts: it takes lots of practice and hard work.

 

#blogjune: post 18: Right book, for the right child at the right time

As CILIP President I was lucky enough to be invited to the CILIP Carnegie Greenaway IMG_0513Medal ceremony on Monday. It was an extra special occasion as the Carnegie award was celebrating 80 years, while the Greenaway award is 60 years old. It was the most gloriously uplifting event I’ve been to in a long time. Beautifully compered by Cerrie Burnell, & included a magnificent poem by musician and educator Amy León.

 

Carnegie medal is awarded for an outstanding book written in English for children and young people.

IMG_0518It was won by Ruta Sepetys with Salt to the Sea, a fictionalised account of the worst maritime disaster in history. I can vouch for what a sensational and evocative read this is.

 

 

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Kate Greenaway medal is awarded for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people. The winner was Lane Smith for There is a Tribe of Kids

 

 

 

There are also two Amnesty CILIP Honour commendations awarded to:

  • From the CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlist: Zana Fraillon for The Bone Sparrow, the story of a boy living in an immigration detention centre in Australia.
  • From the Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist: Francesca Sanna for The Journey, a picture book depicting a family fleeing their war-torn country in search of refuge.

All of the authors spoke eloquently & from the heart during their acceptance speeches. If only all acceptance speeches could be as well written & delivered. All stressing the importance of empathy. Several people made comments about how a good book and story can last a lifetime.  Books unite us, sharing stories and discussing history together results in empathy. Rita Sepetys summed it all up by saying ‘compassion has no borders’.

It was a beautiful celebration of the written word. It’s importance for children, & the role that authors, librarians & publishers have in ensuring the right book gets to the child at the right time.

The event itself was perfect & the organisers deserve real credit; thank you. RIBA works well as a venue, the surroundings are visually stunning & the space, as you’d expect from the architects’ professional association, is perfectly designed with a light and airy reception hall and outside terrace.

The addition of 100 school children, who had taken part in shadowing reading schemes, was a wonderful idea. They added another dimension to the proceedings. From ensuring loud cheering & whooping during the ceremony, to playing chase the author for an autograph during the reception.

This week marks the start of refugee week in the U.K, all the more fitting that three out of the four awards presented were stories of refugees and displaced children.

 

 

#blogjune: post 17: Effective awards that keep on giving ….

Everyone loves an awards ceremony. The recognition, kudos & lift you get as a winner is unbelievable. I loved watching the tweets from the Special Libraries Association (SLA) conference in Phoenix (#sla2017) over the weekend. SLA conferences open with an awards ceremony & there’s a lot of razzle dazzle as befits an American conference.

As chair of this year’s SLA awards committee I am thrilled that we had so many  nominees to choose from. I’m also pleased to have been able to make some – much needed – I believe, alterations to the awards process. Firstly, we re-jigged the timing, so nominations closed in mid-January, allowing people longer to collate nominations. Secondly, all the winners were told who had nominated them. This was a really important change I wanted to implement. Prior to this year, winners weren’t routinely told who had nominated them. That means those who nominated often went unnoticed. As both a former award winner, & someone who had coordinated several nominations, I know how nice it is to be able to thank people, & to the thanked. I’m hoping both of these changes will become
regular practice.

One of this year’s award winner’s, is Rising Star Marie Cannon (@mariegcannon), who just happens to also be President of my home chapter, SLA Europe. Congratulations Marie; you’re a star.

Marie won an SLA Europe Early Career Conference Award (ECCA) in 2012, which was co-sponsored by the Legal division. These particular ECCA’s are known in the Legal division as Paddington’s, thanks to @Librarysherpa.

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I can still remember the discussion in New Orleans in 2010, with Martha Foot & John DiGilio, Legal division past chair and chair elect, which resulted in the Legal division joining the units co-sponsoring ECCA places.

The SLA Europe ECCA programme was set up in 2007, based on a suggestion by Sylvia James and Barbara Robinson. Its aim is to raise awareness and encourage participation in SLA by those in the early stages of their career. Offering winners the chance to network and learn, while developing a pool of members to run SLA Europe in the future. The prize is an all expenses paid trip to the SLA conference in the US, and the chance for winners to participate in the conference and get the SLA bug. SLA Europe worked with several divisions to co-sponsor the awards. Since 2007 SLA Europe has worked with the following divisions: business and finance; insurance and employee benefits; academic; legal; science technology; pharmaceutical and health technology; leadership and management and competitive intelligence. Eleven years on 34 people have won the awards and the majority have become active with SLA, taking on unit positions and in Bethan Ruddock’s case being elected to the Board of Directors.

Now that sounds like a very successful awards scheme delivering on its aims. Long may it continue.

 

#blogjune: post 16: Career transitions: advice and support

Throughout my 32 year career I’ve worked in several sectors: media, health, government, health, charity and academic. I’ve always seen the power of my transferable skills. We’re very similar to doctors, as we possess basic skills, which we supplement with more specialist skills and knowledge as we develop our careers.

I think this tweet beautifully captures our basic skills, thanks @infoFaerie.

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We then build on these skills and develop an understanding of our patrons/users/customers (choose your preferred term) needs and adapt our services and practice accordingly. Often developing our practice and career means moving sectors and I was excited to hear about Davis Erin Anderson and Ray Pun’s book: Career IMG_0504Transition for Librarians: Proven strategies for moving to another type of library.

This is a great book of interviews and essays from information professions in a variety sectors who have made the transition from one sector to another. It covers most of the sectors you can imagine, for example, specialist to academic and vice versa; specialist to public and vice versa; school media to academic/vendor services and more.

I like the mix of formats for the chapters: some are question and answer interviews; others reflections on careers with tips and advice lists; some are in-depth journeys from newbies or mid-career people, outlining all their moves and how they accomplished them. There’s advice there for every stage of a career and most sectors.

The recurring themes that resonated with me most were:

  • know your organisation: learn how to find out how your organisation ticks and how you can utilise this institutional knowledge to improve your services;
  • moving jobs gives you a good idea of what work environments suit you best;
  • identify your strengths and skills and figure out how to reuse them in a job, either by creating a role for yourself, or broadening the scope of what you do;
  • be flexible and take up chances to learn new skills;
  • get involved in professional associations, for contacts when your unemployed, or job hunting, and for mentoring opportunities and support;
  • patience is very important in job seeking process; it will take longer than you expect.

My main criticism is the North American focus, there are a few non-North American contributions, but I would have liked to have seen more as there are undoubtedly some cultural subtleties missing. This though, is a very minor criticism of an excellent book; a must read for anyone who is looking at making a move from one sector to another, or just reviewing their career.

 

#blogjune: post 15: Half way through BlogJune

I’m half way through BlogJune (for more information on this see my previous post), a little behind in my postings, as this is day 18 and I’m ploughing through a backlog of posts for the last few days. I’ll get there in the end I know.

I’ve enjoyed this week’s blogging, organising my thoughts and committing them to paper and online. I’ve also had time to look at others blogs, which is one of the aims of the event.

I’ve been looking at site statistics and found that the most popular referrer is Twitter, followed by Linked-In. Unsurprisingly, the readers mostly come from the UK, but are followed by Australia and the USA.

The most popular posts, are largely related to skills and do have snappy titles, so maybe that’s why they’ve proved popular:

organising time (using bullet journals) 

taking part in #blogjune

chairing meetings 

networking tips 

I’m wondering if this will change over the next 12 days.

I’ve got lots more to cover in the next few weeks: volunteering, outreach in the workplace, fellowships, review of conference formats across the world. So do keep reading.

 

#blogjune: post 14: Mind the gap: transferable skills & moving sectors

On 14th June I spoke at the CILIP London network’s AGM. I was asked to talk about something personal. As one of my themes this year is transferable skills. I opted to share my story, highlighting my use of transferable skills and tips on moving sectors. I entitled the session: Mind the gap: reflection on transferable skills and moving sectors.

The event took place at CILIP’s Ridgmount Street office in the early evening of a really sunny day, so attendance was slightly lower than expected, with about 15 people. We had a good cross section of attendees representing all career stages, a variety of different sectors, with most people having moved between at least two sectors. This made for an informal session which meant we had a great discussion after my talk about barriers to moving sectors (are we, information professionals, the main barrier?) the benefits of highlighting transferable skills, and tips and advice on how to get the best out of the interview process (it’s a two way process).

Thanks to those – you know who you are – who took part in my survey of transferable skills and advice on moving sectors. The three most transferable skills identified by my survey are:
Flexibility – be prepared to take on new roles and activities;
Curiosity and an aptitude to learn – you don’t have to be an expert on everything, just  use your information skills to ask the right questions and find an answer.
Organisational culture and influencing skills – it’s important to understand how your organisation operates and how best to influence key people.

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Advice on moving sectors included:

  • importance of using plain English in your applications and at interview. Make sure to practice describing what you do in language that resonates with those in other sectors;
  • don’t restrict your examples of activities to just work experience. Remember to include volunteer experience too; often you may have done something more challenging and impactful as a volunteer;
  • use your network for advice on how to learn about a new sector; what to include on applications and what to say at interview;
  • always ask for feedback after an interview, or if you don’t get shortlisted but expected to. You will always learn something that will help you with developing skills or improving your interview performance;

Finally, persevere. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. We all have had to make many applications before getting the right job.

 

 

 

 

#blogjune post 13: Running for office: advice for SLA board candidates

My timeline is beginning to fill with #SLA2017 delegates getting ready for the Phoenix conference this weekend. I’m sad I won’t be attending in person this year. I will be watching from afar thanks to Twitter. SLA conferences have been an important part of my life since 2000 – the year of my first SLA conference. I’ve been to 12 of the last 17 conferences. Little did I realise in 2000 that I would get elected to the board twice & to serve as the first non-North American President in 2014. I’ve learnt so much from being involved in SLA & will miss the camaraderie of conference.

I’m also going to miss meeting the candidates running for 2018 board. Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you for agreeing to run. You are incredibly generous people to say yes.

Having run for election twice, I know what it feels like: a combination of exhilaration, fear, excitement, fun, laughter & tears. All rolled into one & on display for four full days at conference.

Here are a few of my tips on surviving campaigning at conference:
– keep hydrated, drink lots of water;
– hand out business cards to everyone; you don’t want to take any cards home;
– to keep track of who you met when, remember to write on the back of business cards you receive,
date, time & venue. This is an important one you will thank me for it;
– hone your elevator speech on why you are running, & why someone should vote for you;
– get to know the other candidates, you will be spending a lot of time together. You will develop a bond;
– pace yourself over conference by trying to attend as many meet & greet events as possible. Talk to as many people as you can at an event. Ask questions and find out what is concerning members;
– choose a few must see sessions & try to ensure you attend for your CPD.

Post conference be sure to:
– contact everyone you met, & follow up on questions or comments;
– practice for your webinars, honing your message for why you’re a great candidate;
– keep up to date on current & emerging tends across all sectors – you don’t want to be caught out when asked about your thoughts on the impact of some news story;
– take every opportunity to interact with members;
– remember you’re doing this as a volunteer, you have to find a healthy balance between work, home life & SLA.

Enjoy the experience it’s really worthwhile. You learn lots about yourself, the organisation and how it operates. Plus you’re giving something back to the profession; for which we’re all thankful.