Oh my, a month since I last updated and what feels like a million things on CPD23 have slid past me. Uh. Oops!
I moved flat recently and BT managed to cut off our phone line a fortnight before we moved, which unsurprisingly, was not when we’d asked them to do so! But the move went smoothly – if you’re ever moving in the London/Brighton area, I thoroughly recommend Green Man and Van, who tetrised the hell out of all my flatmate and I’s stuff and moved us swiftly from West London back to South-east London. Of course, then there was the unpacking, the waiting for the new internet and then my main project at work kicked up a notch. All of which meant limited time for writing blog posts.
But here is a quick catch up of a
few Things Thing of weeks past!
Thing 7: Face-to-face networks and professional organisations
Now, there have been many excellent posts on this subject and the whys and wherefores of how they can help you, so here’s my thoughts.
I am currently a member of two professional organisations: SLA and CILIP. I have also been a member of BIALL when I was in the legal sector. CILIP was the first one I joined and well, I mostly only joined because Gray’s Inn paid for it as part of my graduate traineeship. I had used LISJobs and the CILIP website prior to getting my graduate traineeship as a method of getting info on those (and indeed, that is where I saw the Gray’s Inn job advertised) but I did not get involved, which with hindsight, I regret. Some of this was that at the time, I did not feel that CILIP were representing my sector and as I was working in a sector with an active professional organisation (and with people who were active in that org) I was more active in BIALL first.
Now, joining BIALL was excellent and I would very much recommend it to anyone joining the legal sector. Not only did it allow me to meet people who worked in the many different libraries that populate the sector at social events, it also allowed me to attend two very good conferences, I went to the annual conference in Sheffield in 2007 on a partial bursary and again, this time on a full bursary, to Manchester in 2009. It was also where I joined my first committee – the Web Board – at a very exciting time (i.e. when we redesigned and launched the website), which gave me a lot of useful experience, chief among which was working with team (Gray’s is very small and close-knit but after I left Gray’s, the majority of my legal jobs were as a solo librarian) but also included policy writing, meeting organising and (related to meetings) invoice wrangling.
I was still a member of CILIP but was still not really engaging with it while I worked and studied. I joined SLA at the prompting of Laura Woods shortly after I left the legal sector and moved into the health sector, working at the King’s Fund. I really enjoy the events that SLA put on, they’re often of a social nature and I have met a lot of people through SLA that I consider my library cohort, being all of a similar age and level of experience. I am also on a committee there (see again: Laura!) which is the Digital Communication team (you can see a theme here, can’t you? Well, as I say, if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it!) and applied for the EECA last year (I wasn’t successful but there’s always next year!)
Finally, I made the decision that I either needed to engage with CILIP or stop being a member (helped also by the fact that I said to Phil Bradley that if he was elected, I would actually pay full membership – was still on student fee, oops! – and get more involved.). So, he did and I did and I am now involved with CILIP in London (the regional branch) – this time I blame Tina! – where I do social media and tech (I know! You are all shocked by my…lack of deviation from my theme…) and recently, I helped organise the CPD23 event we hosted in London (unfortunately, right when BT killed my phoneline), which was an extremely enjoyable evening (from all accounts!) of mingling, alcohol and CPD.
I guess, if there is one thing that I have taken out of all this is: getting involved – even if it’s just on a small-scale – and interacting with my Professional organisations (attending events etc.) has given me skills, contacts and opportunities that I would not have got if I had either not been a member or had chosen to not engage. Your professional organisations are what you make of them, not what they make of you.
Okay, so much for a round-up of things I have missed! Stay tuned for further wittering on tools and social networks at some…point in the future. Yes. *sidles away again*