So… I attended my first Cilip New Professionals Day this year, and found, by the end of the day, that I had accumulated huge feelings of my own inadequacy…not really what I was hoping to get from the day to be honest! However, it has had the effect of spurring me on to create this blog and to finally take the leap and join twitter. So this is me throwing myself into the world of web 2.0!
Apart from my own obvious lack of savvy, the New Professionals Day taught me a lot though – Ned Potter’s (@theREALwikiman) talk about branding made me realise that I can’t hide out in the library forever – I need to start making sure that I control my brand as it is out there whether I like it or not. Key point: we all need to recognise that an online presence is essential…well, lesson learned Ned, for here I am!
Next I attended my favourite workshop of the day, ‘Game On: cataloguing and classification in the 21st century’, – what’s not to love about Lego and giant snakes and ladders?! I have to admit that the whole reason I chose this workshop was because everything I’ve tried to read and learn about cataloguing so far in my traineeship has bored me, and I was hoping that this would change my views. Success! I can truthfully say that I’m now thinking about it in far more flattering terms, and am actually looking forward to my module on it when I start at UCL in September.
My second workshop was on Careers Information – something which I didn’t really know that much about before I attended it. My main impressions of the talk were that it’s somewhat of a specialist field, with jobs few and far between. But for all that, it seems like an interested and varied job; after all it’s not everyone who gets asked to find out about a career in Cat Psychology! I think the most important piece of advice was, ironically, that you shouldn’t give advice! We are information professionals, and it is not our job to give advice.
Lunch followed this – CILIP had been inspired enough to get in Burrito Joe’s, so we all had a gorgeous custom made burrito to munch on – a big thumbs up from me! I have to confess that by the time lunch was over I was fighting some serious drowsiness though – the combination of good food and a warm room almost proved too much! At this point I’d like to point out to anyone reading this (although I’m not holding out too much hope) that if you haven’t attended NPD before, then I urge you to! It’s not only a big learning curve (or at least it was for me!), but it’s also a great opportunity to meet people who are/were recently in a similar situation to you, both at the day itself as well as at the pub afterwards.
After lunch I attended my third workshop, the original had been cancelled so it ended up being the ‘Art of Reflection’ instead. As you may have already gathered, a lot of ideas were new to me during the day, and this was another one. However, I’m now convinced that I should indeed try to practice more reflection as not only does it help you to personally get more out of your experiences, but it also helps you to recognise skills that you need to progress
The first of the two talks after this was about ‘How to assemble your New Professionals Toolkit’, and the key aspects to this were simple: have a network, mentor, resources, a plan and a voice. Work on these five and you’ll soon be well on the way. And you can tell that I once again took this on board, because look how many boxes I’m ticking with this blog – having an online presence, managing my brand, undertaking reflective practice, having a voice…the list goes on and on!
The last talk of the day was by Phil Bradley all about the importance of social media. I have to say at this point that I am completely overwhelmed as to the sheer number and variety of social media and networking sites which Phil appears to frequent on a regular basis – I’m afraid that I can’t possibly commit to that many! This isn’t to say that I didn’t find the talk interesting, because I did. However, I certainly don’t have the time to undertake such a vast array of sites as he was suggesting, although I am going to try and increase my intake, so to speak. That being said, I must confess that I heartily disagree with Phil on one point – the contentious issue of Facebook! Phil insists that it’s a professional network, and while I concede the validity of his point, I feel that it’s a little late in the game to point this out. Those of you out there who have, like me, been using Facebook since its conception as a personal social network, will, I assume, have the same problem. It is too deeply integrated into my personal life for me to now start using this as a professional tool. If only Phil had been there to guide me from the beginning!
That’s about it for my impressions of the day, and for the close of my first ever blog, but I would just like to say thank you to CILIP for organising such a wonderful day, and for providing it free of charge, and to urge anyone out there who has not attended yet to go next year – it’s definitely worth it!