Archive for the ‘professional development’ Tag

Adventures at ALA

I’m in Anaheim, California for ALA Annual. It’s hard to type that sentence without doing a little happy dance.

I was extremely fortunate to be awarded one of the conference bursaries from the John Campbell Trust this year which has allowed me to attend ALA. In my application for the bursary, I explained that there is such a lot of change going on in cataloguing at the moment with RDA implementation early 2013 and the LC Bibliograpic Framework Transition Initiative and that a lot of progress reports and announcements will be made here at ALA. So I will be attending pretty much everything on RDA that I can (and that’s quite a lot of things). It’s great to be able to get the information directly, rather than relying on Twitter and blogs for reports from others. I will be writing up everything I learn at the conference here on the blog as soon as I can and in as much detail as possible to share information with the my UK colleagues. I will also report to the CIG committee to feed into our training plans, as well as doing a formal report at the CIG Conference in Sheffield, September 10-11th.

Another part of what I’ll be doing while I’m here is working on the new project for High Visibility Cataloguing which I’ll talk about more over on that blog. For a year now, we’ve been thinking about the idea of a “23 Things” style programme for cataloguing and what we’ve come up with is something a bit different. We are working on phase one right now and part of that will be happening while I’m at ALA  (intriguing, eh?). I’ve got some HVCats cards to give away and hope to meet lots of catalogers/cataloguers while I’m here for that too.

I know, I know, it’s a hard life, right?

CILIP branches & groups: some thoughts

I’ve been thinking about the role of CILIP branches for a while and had some informal discussions with a committee member because I’m not on the committee myself and don’t really have time to get involved this year. At the same time, I just attended my first meeting of the Cataloguing & Indexing Group (CIG) which I joined at the start of the year and many connected issues came up. After a really interesting discussion on Twitter last night, I wanted to blog some random thoughts (I’d love to think I’ll have time to write a well-thought-out and coherent blog post on the issues but the chances of me finding time to do that are pretty slim so this is the next-best option). I’d be happy to hear feedback and more discussion in the comments here. These are all entirely personal opinions (more focused on regional branches than on groups at the moment) though obviously I’m also thinking about how it will affect CIG too, just not speaking on CIG’s behalf.

The Twitter discussion came about because a couple of people were livetweeting the CILIP CDG & London joint AGM, which featured a talk by Annie Mauger and which Nicola Franklin blogged about here. Also the background of all this is the recent Branch and Group discussion and ensuing conversations within individual committees – useful summary provided by Katie and Emma if you want to check those out too.

Here’s a quick summary of the Twitter discussion, which was mainly between me, Tina (@tinamreynolds), Jo (@joeyanne) and Niamh (@cilipEoE) though we managed to attract the marvellous past-President of CILIP Biddy Fisher (@bikerbid) and I note with trepidation that Annie Mauger (@anniemauger) is following me as of last night! Just goes to show you’re never speaking into a vacuum on Twitter.

The coming changes should be summarised in a report from Annie Mauger shortly and the reactions to it ranged from being a bit afraid of what was coming to seeing it as a potentially positive opportunity to develop communication & change.

The role of the regional branches – Tina wanted to see the London group as “an umbrella group organising SIG + advertising events, being a catalyst for ideas”. This tied in perfectly with conversations I had had with both Jo and Niamh privately about the role of the regional branches – I really think that they should have a key role in collating venue information (already underway in CILIPWM) so that they can provide knowledge and possibly contact information about venues in the region, especially free or low-cost venues. This could attract the SIGs but also any other groups (TeachMeet, anyone? anything else?) to that region, particularly when it’s so important to keep costs down. The more people choose to hold events in your region, the more your regional members benefit from having easy access to events, CPD opportunities. This local element is crucial in an environment where people have less and less money available for travel, time off, conference or event fees (either out of their own pockets or through employers, who are probably starting to be more restrictive even where they did once pay).

Tina mentioned that CILIP London had tried to organise a SIG day to help facilitate collaboration but that there hadn’t been much interest, however I think in this new CILIP landscape there should be a lot more interest. I know we at CIG would be thinking along these lines, collaborating and cooperating with regional branches and using their local knowledge and advertising too. Hopefully another SIG day could be held in future? Maybe in more than one region?

There is an obvious need to know what members want, especially with what Annie Mauger was saying about CILIP becoming more focused on members. Everyone was talking about polling or surveying their branch or group membership in some way to get feedback on this, which would obviously be great and hopefully can happen soon. Although everyone was very pro-social media (what else would you expect in a Twitter conversation?), we all really felt that the face-to-face contact of the branches especially was crucial and was indeed where the branches “add value”. The fact of offering affordable activities and opportunities is crucial in the economic climate, as I said, and the branches should be proactive in providing people with ways to build a professional network locally through offering informal gatherings (drinks? lunches where everyone pays their own way?) but also through things like free talks. I know there’s a need to raise revenues but don’t underestimate the value of free in terms of goodwill, attracting members in and giving them something they will really appreciate.

I had already suggested that CILIP EoE might want to try something along the lines of ThinkDrinks (a few different groups hold them but look for example at the Digital Learning Network). Ours is quite a widespread region not known for fantastic public transport links, so I envisage the thinkdrink style event being a cheap (well, no venue costs, people buy their own drinks, so really just advertising which is pretty much free apart from time spent) and distributed model that can be repeated in multiple locations all over the region. I even wondered whether you could have a designated thinkdrink night (or lunchtime?) where people all through the region are encouraged to hold mini-thinkdrinks in each city/locality. Obviously some areas will have more take-up than others but it also means that someone in Suffolk doesn’t have to travel to Cambridgeshire for their “local” event. When I raised this, Jo mentioned that CILIPWM had tried pub networking evenings but that these had not been well attended (mainly committee members turning up) and suggested that this kind of event worked better with a focus/theme than just open-ended networking. This is why I think the thinkdrink model is interesting – it’s not “speed dating for librarians” or anything which I would personally cross the road to avoid. You could pick a very simple, very broad topic (even something like “what do you want from your local branch”) and bill it as a chance to get informal feedback from members while offering a chance to chat and meet up (everyone could do introductions as to where they work).

Finally, we did mention that maybe we need a Group/branch network of contacts, go-to-person. I’ve been happily using personal contacts and informal connections, eg Twitter, but there would be value in having a go-to person clearly advertised on the branch/group website too maybe? We were all agreed on the need to reach beyond Twitter and blogs. There was so much more to say, it was such an interesting discussion but Twitter has its limits so we wondered about moving to a different space to continue the discussions that must be had. Possibilities include a discussion on the CILIP communities forums, posts on our blogs/comments, possibly more formal routes like Update (which is probably already on the cards as CILIP moves through this process over the year ahead), a wiki, mailing lists, even Second Life or Skype for a multi-regional discussion? Jo mentioned the possibility of coordinating /discussion event some time (Biddy said she’d attend!) so there would be a possibility of lots of different mix-and-match discussion venues to encourage this thinking to continue.

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