missrachelsmith

Posts Tagged ‘Chartership

Chartership update

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Back in August, I said I was aiming to get my work on CILIP Chartership (and I quote) ‘cracked by Christmas’. Didn’t happen. But I’m nearly there. I can see the light at the end of the Chartership tunnel, so to speak. I’m now aiming to submit my application sometime in February and this blog may be quite busy over the next few weeks. So I thought I’d post a quick update on where I am now, and what I still have left to do…

Where I am now

  • I’ve updated my CV and tailored it towards my Chartership application
  • I’ve drafted my final PPDP
  • I’ve put together a select bibliography and I’ve added in some reflective annotations
  • I’ve started organising potential evidence into a matrix matching my development activities against the Chartership criteria and I’m beginning to see how I might organise my evidence in my portfolio

What I still have left to do

  • As I’m starting to focus in on the evidence I might submit, I’m realising that I could do with some more reflective pieces on some of the key areas I’ve developed in, such as writing and project management. So I may well be blogging about these soon!
  • I need to colour code my PPDP to highlight section two and future development activities
  • I’ve decided to include two organisational structure charts, from the beginning and the end of my Chartership progress. I need to annotate these to explain why I think it’s important to include both
  • I need to decide on the final pieces of evidence I’m planning to submit
  • I haven’t started my evaluative statement yet (I want to be able to link it to all of my evidence, so I need a good idea of what’s going to make the final cut first!)
  • Lastly, I need to organise my portfolio, create a contents table and submit my Chartership application to CILIP

Looks like I might be pretty busy for the next month or so!

Written by missrachelsmith

January 20, 2013 at 18:00

Mastering it?

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Back in 2010, when I drafted my initial PPDP for CILIP Chartership, I identified the training and development needs to ‘understand the theory of librarianship’ and ‘understand the principles of cataloguing and classification’. So, almost two years after I noted this on my initial Chartership plan and a whole new job later, I undertook a  module from a LIS Masters to address this (and see what the whole ‘postgraduate librarianship qualification’ thing was all about). From January to May 2012, I spent a lot of time thinking about Organising Knowledge, a subject about as far away from communications and marketing as you can possibly get…

What did I learn?

Well, actually, I did learn quite a few things that I didn’t know before. I now have a very vague understanding of a) what the acronym RDA stands for, and b) what it is. I also have more of an idea about the distinctions between cataloguing, classification, indexing and retrieval, for example.

But I also learnt that actually, I seem to have magically imbibed lots of information and knowledge about this area just from working in a library and being around librarians. I know how to search databases effectively now, apparently. I might not be able to actually catalogue something, but I’ve got a pretty good idea of what a catalogue record should look like, the types of information you might find in one and how to search through them to find the material you need. The Masters module didn’t teach me any of those things, but it taught me that I knew them.

Anything else?

I also found that getting my hands on the right information, quickly, is much easier for me now. I know this because the first assessed piece of work was a task around literature searching, and I decided to cover the same subject I studied for my undergraduate dissertation. When I did my dissertation in 2009, my main method of finding information was by finding a book or article on the subject, reading it, and then getting my hands on every single interesting item in the bibliography (and repeat). Not particularly advanced, but at least it was pretty comprehensive. This time, I was far more selective; I used citation tools to find out the most influential research, I used filtering to find out the oldest material on the subject. And I went way beyond the requirements of the task – ‘you much include one of each of the following: a book, a newspaper article, a journal, a journal article, a conference paper and a web site’ – I found exhibitions, blog posts, YouTube videos, teaching resources and dissertations. I don’t think I’d necessarily have written a better dissertation then if I could find information the way I can now, but it certainly would have made things much quicker.

How would I rate the module?

Well, I thought that the course was well organised and administered, but that the course materials could do with some updating. I would have liked to see more content about new, online technologies, which felt like it was added as an afterthought in some of the sections.

This was also the first course I’ve done via distance learning, and I found the teaching style (booklets, with required reading and activities) quite difficult to get to grips with. I’m not used to being told what to think about when I’m reading an article, or answering prescribed questions to check my understanding. I think I probably would have preferred studying this module if I had been on a full or part time course, with lectures, workshops and seminars.

And what about my performance?

I’ll admit – I didn’t read every page of every booklet. Bad Rachel. But when you’re studying alongside working full time, to go through all of the material comprehensively is tricky to fit in. I also feel like I need to work on writing reports based on the first assignment (I’m an excellent waffler).

So will I finish the MA?

No. Not right now, anyway. I probably have a more positive view on LIS qualifications than I did prior to studying the module, but I’ve learnt more about Organising Knowledge from working in a library (and in a completely different area than that covered by the course) than I would have done from this studying this module. So for me, an LIS MA still seems like an unnecessary, expensive and time-consuming hoop to jump through.

Did this course help me master Organising Knowledge? Not by a long shot. But it gave me a good overview of the history of this area and some of the theories and issues involved.

Written by missrachelsmith

August 23, 2012 at 18:33

Why I haven’t blogged since March

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It might seem an obvious title, but that’s the subject of this post in a nutshell. Alternatively, I could have gone for ‘Why I’ll be blogging more regularly over the next few months’, but we’ll come to that in a bit. I will start instead by answering my first question by making a range of true statements with a few fairly lame excuses thrown in about why I have written precisely one blog post in the last six months (which goes against all of my own very good advice as a so called communications professional, but hey ho).

Why, Rachel, why?

  • My new job as the Communications and Marketing Officer for the Library and Heritage Collections has been pretty hectic. I would liken it to spinning many many plates with one hand and juggling kittens in the other (yay, kittens!). I generally blog about work + I don’t have any spare moments at work these days to speak of + and I also don’t really want to be thinking about work when I’m not there because that would drive me bonkers = no blog posts.
  • I bought a piano which I quite enjoy playing.
  • I have been spending time writing things which are not blog posts. I’ve edited my children’s book and started to send it to agents and publishers. I also started writing book number two.
  • I organised my first Brownies sleepover at which I got pretty much zero sleep.
  • I have basically spent all my personal and professional development time on personally and professionally developing (rather than reflecting on them here on this blog. It’s not like I’ve been doing nothing, honest!).
  • I have been fairly preoccupied with the series of unfortunate events which I have continued to find myself in on a personal level.
  • I was progressing well in terms of my CILIP Chartership work, so I felt like I could afford to slow down with it for a bit.
  • I spent two weeks completely glued to the Olympics.
  • I just couldn’t really be bothered.

There you go, you have my reasons, for what they’re worth. And the reason why I’ll be blogging more regularly until the end of the year? Well, you know, it would be a bit weird to completely ignore my 2012 development activities in my Chartership application. And from October I will have officially completed the two year period of work experience since I registered for Chartership, which means that I can actually submit my application. It won’t be October, because I will be spending most of my time running round like a headless chicken with the arrival of all the new students, but I’m aiming to get it cracked by Christmas.

So watch this space…

 

Written by missrachelsmith

August 15, 2012 at 18:41

In the clink

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Prison is one of those places I never thought I’d go to. I don’t really fancy life behind bars and I hope I’ll never have cause to visit any of my family or friends there either, you know? But some librarians work in Her Majesty’s Prisons around the UK. In fact, the closest library to the library where I work is a prison library. A Category B men’s prison, the jail serves the local courts and has a high prisoner turnover rate. I arranged to visit for the day to find out more about what prison libraries and librarians do…

Security

Perhaps it’s a bit obvious, but the biggest difference that struck me about my time at the prison library was the importance of security. In prison, everything revolves around it. Walking to the library, we travelled through pairs of locked doors every few metres around the prison buildings. Alongside the librarians, prison officers assigned to the library were present at all times to ensure the security of both library staff and prisoners. Due to their customer group, stealing of library property was an issue and prisoners are unable to access the internet, word processing software or printing facilities. Security issues also extended to the stock that the library offered. There are a number of banned items and subjects which you won’t find in the prison library’s collection, from the obvious – books about bombmaking, for example – to the ones you wouldn’t have thought of, like the Igguldens’ Dangerous Book for Boys.

Customer journey

This heightened awareness of security stretched to the customer experience of using the library. The customer journey begins when the prisoner fills out an application form, or ‘app’ to visit the library. Each wing has appointed times when library officers collect those who have filled out an app. The prison officer takes the men to the library for around half an hour and then the group are escorted back to their accommodation or their next activity. I found it interesting that the customer experience of using the prison library begins sometimes days before their visit. This had its own unique set of problems – sometimes when called to go to the library, the men are busy, for example. If prisoners forget to fill out a library app or are unavailable when the library officers come to collect them, they are unable to return their books on time. These were issues that library staff were debating on the day I visited and I hope they continue to investigate ways to resolve this.

Prison libraries and public libraries

Something that I found surprising was the close relationship between the prison libraries and the public libraries in the area. The library service, like the educational provision in the prison, is tendered out. The county council currently provides library services to the prison and the library staff are employed and managed by the council. Therefore, there were a number of crossover points – one of the part-time librarians working at the prison also works for the main public library in the city and the prison and public libraries use the same library card system. The prison libraries in the county use the same library management system as the public libraries and borrow books from there. This close relationship between the services means that data protection is paramount. Library Orderlies (prisoners who work within the prison library) can use the library management system, but can’t access any information on patrons within the public library network. Similarly, only very basic information – surname, current cell and prisoner number – is held on the library management system about the prison library’s customers.

Although I wasn’t aware that the two systems were so closely linked in my area, it appeared that this had a number of benefits – the library is able to provide access to a wide range of material, and there is continuity between the service provided within the prison and libraries within the local area.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I turned up at the prison gates, but I found the atmosphere within the prison to be calm and controlled, and the prisoners seemed to respect and value the service that the library offered.

I’m not sure that prison libraries are for me, but it’s not so bad in the clink.

Written by missrachelsmith

September 15, 2011 at 09:44

CPD23: Things undone

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It’s kind of terrifying to realise that since my last post about Thing 8 of the 23 Things for Professional Development programme, a month has passed, and now Thing 18 has appeared from nowhere. How has this happened?!?!

Well. I went narrowboating. I explored a crazy alternative reality volunteering as a Cook’s Assistant on a tall ship for a while. I survived Brownie camp and a visit from my mother. You could say I was taking a break (but it’s blatantly not true). September is not less busy than August. Life is sort of something that is happening to me at the moment, and I’ve given up bothering with trying to keep up.

BUT:

In an attempt to gain some sort of hold on all the good work I was doing before I was so rudely interrupted by life, I thought I might return to the world of blogging and CPD23 by jumping a Thing to muse on Thing 10: Graduate traineeships, Masters degrees, Chartership and Accreditation.

Certification: It’s now around a year since I found out I’d been awarded CILIP Certification

Graduate traineeships: by the time I was able to add the letters ‘ACLIP’ after my name, I’d spent 3 years working in my university college library on a part-time basis as an undergraduate, and a year doing what I initially thought was my equivalent of a graduate traineeship. Another year on and I’m continuing to extend my ‘trainee year’ as a Library Assistant based in the academic liaison team at an academic library in the North East.

Chartership: The next step on for me is CILIP Chartership. I’m halfway through now, and I think it’s going well. I’ve got placements with prison and public libraries in the pipeline. The induction period is coming up at the university, and I’m doing some interesting things at work. And then…

Masters degrees: as part of my Chartership work, I’m just about to enrol myself onto one module of Northumbria’s Library and Information Management Masters course. I’m taking the Organising Knowledge module, which I’m hoping will fill some of the gaps for me when it comes to more ‘traditional library’-type skills.

I think I’ve got Thing 10 covered.

Written by missrachelsmith

September 7, 2011 at 19:20

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Adobe wan Kinobe

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This post has been hanging around in draft form for a while now, lost somewhere in the Tatooine desert that is my work desktop. IT skills is an area for development I identified on my original PPDP for CILIP Chartership, where I proposed to ‘learn to use Adobe Illustrator using online tutorials and information’ so that I could ‘take over the updating of Library floorplans’. So when I started playing with the Library floorplans back in May, I started writing this post. It’s now August, and since that point I’ve not only learnt how to manipulate Adobe Illustrator, I’ve also taught myself to use Adobe Premiere and I’m currently dabbling in Adobe Flash/SwishMax as well…

Adobe Premiere

Why did I use it?  I’m creating a testimonial video to promote our institutional repository, and I found screencasting and video editing software Camtasia Studio limited. Having created a first draft of the video in Camtasia, I used Adobe Premiere to create the final version of the video.

How did I learn it?  Mainly through using online video tutorials. I have the CS4 version of Adobe Premiere, so I watched a lot of the Getting Started guides on the Adobe website. I also consulted online forums when I had trouble exporting my video.

What worked?  I created a video from scratch, which I’m quite proud of. I was also able to adjust the brightness of the filming and use overlays using Adobe Premiere, which I couldn’t do using Camtasia.

What do I need to work on?  I need to try to remember to save regularly, as I got quite frustrated when I lost an hour’s work when using Adobe Premiere. Also, the video camera I used to film the footage, which was borrowed from our IT department, is pretty old and this means that the quality of the finished video isn’t great, despite my best efforts at editing it.

Adobe Illustrator

Why did I use it?  To update the Library floorplans, which were already in Illustrator format

How did I learn it?  When this responsibility was passed to me by my line manager around a year ago, he went through how to make basic changes to the floorplans using an older version of Adobe Illustrator. I already use Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, and the menu structure of Adobe Illustrator is similar, so I mainly used trial and error to pick this package up. Although I was making fairly significant changes, I was also working to update a document which already existed, which made this task a lot easier.

What worked?  I managed to pick up the programme quite easily and created professional-looking maps for two of the University libraries which are undergoing major redevelopment work over the summer.

What do I need to work on?  I tend to try and find quick and efficient solutions to problems. However, in this case, it meant that when I was trying to ‘grey out’ unusually shaped staff areas, for example, I’d go for the primitive method of just colouring those areas in with a paint brush tool. This doesn’t affect the way the finished plan looks, but there’s every chance I’ll be using Illustrator for other projects in the future and I should take some time to pick up more advanced tools and features.

I’ve got to say, being able to add ‘familiar with the Adobe Creative Suite’ to my CV makes me feel like  a graphics Jedi. The force is strong in this one…

Written by missrachelsmith

August 8, 2011 at 17:27

CPD23: Talkin’ about Things

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I’ll admit it before I even start –  this is sort of a cheaty post. Before I sail off into the sunset (well, before I spend most of August messing around in boats, at any rate!) I thought it might be good to reflect on how I’m doing with my CILIP Chartership work and professional development activities. And coincidentally, Thing 7 of the 23 Things for Professional Development programme is about professional organisations. It’s nice when things work out like that, isn’t it?

Last week, I had a meeting with Jackie, my CILIP mentor. We discussed my progress on my Chartership work – I’m not tackling everything on my Personal Professional Development Plan (PPDP), but I have added lots of things I hadn’t thought about at the start of the process, of which CPD23 is one! And the way I see it, your initial PPDP is a guide, rather than a definitive structure. I’ve got lots of things planned over the next 6 months as well – I’m attempting to keep up with the CPD23 programme, I’m tackling an Institute of Leadership and Management Award in Team Leading in November (another professional organisation!), organising possible work experience placements in public libraries, there’s a module of a Masters in Librarianship course in January… so I’m keeping myself occupied!

I just need to make sure that I remember to record and reflect on all the things I’m doing. Taking part in CPD23, I’m finding it tricky to keep up with everything Chartership-wise alongside work and general life. Jackie suggested that when I don’t have time to write an in-depth reflective piece, it’s ok to make notes – then, if I want to use that piece of evidence for my final portfolio, I can go back and write something more formal at a later date. As I go along, I’m creating an updated version of my PPDP and noting down actions and evidence, so I’m going to add a new column on this document to record my initial thoughts about training sessions and development work.

We also talked about organisational structure and how to reference aspects of the library’s strategy when I’m putting together my portfolio next year. Linking your training and development to the overall aims of your organisation was something I picked up on when I recently attended a Building Your Portfolio course. Having ploughed through the 20+ page library objective document for the next year, I was struggling to see how I could effectively include this in my submission. Jackie and I decided that I should include first two pages, which outline the library’s mission and five main goals, and then drill down into individual objectives as appropriate to each piece of evidence, so I’m feeling happier about this.

The other thing I’ve been a little bit concerned about is the level of reading required of Chartership candidates, which Jackie’s going to look into. I haven’t done a Library MA, so I haven’t read a huge amount of academic texts about librarianship and information management. It’s not that I don’t read, but I generally read CILIP Update, the odd journal article, lots of blogs, newspaper articles… is that enough?

And at some point, I’m going to have to draw a line in the sand, pause on the development activities, and start working on my portfolio. I think I’m going to aim for June 2012, after the exam term tails off. Almost a year away. Or less than a year away, depending on how you look at it…

Written by missrachelsmith

July 25, 2011 at 21:30

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