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Central Issues The Newsletter of the Career Development Group West Midlands Division Autumn 2008 Editorial…


Welcome to this special edition of Central News. This is the first electronic edition of the Career Development Group, West Midlands newsletter. A lot has been happening within the CDG WM since the last edition, and this special issue is bumper packed brining you the latest news from events that have been taking place around the West Midlands. This issue starts with a welcome from the Chair of the Career Development Group, West Midlands. In addition two perspectives on the Career Development Group National Conference at the University of Wales are included.


One member of CDG, WM who is currently undertaking the “extraordinary route to chartership” discusses her experiences of blogging, and the success of the Hollywood Librarian screening earlier this year is reviewed. Details of upcoming Career Development Group events are highlighted in the traditional dates for your diary section. If you would like to contribute to any future editions of the CDG WM newsletter let me know. You can contact me at Jess Duffield.


CDG WM - Welcome from the Chair 2 CDG National Conference A Viewpoint 3 CDG National Conference Report 5 Blogging for Chartership


The Hollywood Librarian 10 Committee Member Profile


Worcester Cathedral Visit 12 Dates for your Diary


Career Development Group...get involved! Opportunities are now available for new members to join the friendly and informal West Midlands Career Development Group committee. Here are several good reasons to join!  Continuous Professional Development  Enhance your CV  Network with fellow professionals  Have fun!

To find out more, why not come along to the next committee meeting on Wednesday 19th November? Contact the Chair for more details -

The Career Development Group is a special interest group of CILIP, The Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals. Registered Charity Number 313014. this Special Edition of Central Issues - the Newsletter of the West Midlands Division of the Career Development Group (CDG). As you can see we are an active committee, organising a number of events to help support you through your career. Whether you are looking for a formal training course, an opportunity to network with fellow professionals across every sector, or just a fun evening, we believe we have something for you. Sign up for the CDG Bulletin (see below) to receive regular information about our events. If there's something you'd like to see that we're not providing, why not contact us with your ideas or, even better, come along to a committee meeting and talk to us in person? We look forward to meeting you soon at one of our future events! Georgina Hardy Chair, CDG WM

How to subscribe to the CDG Bulletin: The CDG Bulletin is your one-stop guide to CDG events and activities throughout the UK. Go to, click on "Join or Leave CDGBULLETIN", and follow the instructions. It's as easy as that!

How to join the Career Development Group: This newsletter offers an insight into the activities of the West Midlands Division of the Career Development Group. In addition, members of CDG receive an informative magazine, Impact; get discounts to many of the events here and across the UK; and belong to a wide cross-sector professional support network. Every CILIP member can join CDG - you don't have to be working towards one of CILIP's qualifications. CILIP membership entitles you to belong to two special interest groups (we are one) for free. Just get in touch with CILIP ( or 020 7255 0600) and request that you join the Career Development Group. They'll do the rest. If you're not a member of CILIP, you'll need to join first - same contact details. Meanwhile, take a look at our website for more information.

Angel Egbuji In April this year, I along with another colleague was lucky to be sponsored by the CDG West Midlands to the CDG National Conference in Cardiff, Wales. I had just attended my first CDG meeting and was greatly honoured to be chosen for the sponsorship. The theme of the conference was “The Keys to Time: Workforce Development in the 21st Century. It was a great opportunity for networking and to expand my involvement with the wider profession. Everyone was friendly and I had the opportunity to meet up with a coursemate I had not seen since postgrad in 1998. I found the entire exercise valuable and the speakers inspiring enough to create in me a desire to apply their suggestions immediately. The theme of the first session was self development and professionalism. The session began with a presentation by Lyndsay Rees-Jones on “Professionalism: who knows what you do”. She emphasised on the importance of knowledge base and how to market yourself to your stakeholders. The question to ask yourself, Lyndsay said was, who should know what you do? Who do you want to know? But above all, she stressed, the most important person to know is yourself – you must be confident and have a good knowledge of your job. What I found very interesting was her allegory to shopping bags – what shopping bags tell us about the shop against what kind of image we portray about ourselves and our jobs. The way we package ourselves and the profession, said Lyndsay, should be positive enough to encourage people to want to know and maybe join the profession. It was a metaphor that set me thinking and others as well judging from the enthusiasm the exercise generated. This is an idea I know I will definitely use in marketing our services within and outside my establishment. The next presentation, by Liz Jolly, was on supporting professional learning and development in an integrated information services. Liz gave an overview of University of Salford information service division and how they established a thriving professional development and chartership scheme for their librarians. CILIP was brought in to talk to the management and this helped pave the way. It was reassuring to know CILIP could go in and talk to institutions’ management about their members’ professional development. Most of us at the conference were unaware of this service which brought up a discussion on the issue of CILIP not advertising itself properly. Richard Beveridge’s talk on establishing your worth and proving your value struck a chord with a lot of us. According to Richard, there are five broad principles that helps prove your worth: What is your organisation’s ‘Big Aim’ How much do you cost?

What do you do to bring Value? What does not happen when you are not there? What do you influence and control? Basically we need to know where we bring value in our establishments and how to articulate it. Equally beneficial is the ability to show tangible, intangible and strategic values of the services rendered. This is a knowledge that will definitely be useful when marketing our services to the stakeholders or bidding for funds. The second session started with an activity based presentation on competency interview by Laura Perrott of Sue Hill Recruitment. Laura talked of the importance of good preparation before the interview, being specific in answering questions and projecting your skills. The conference was rounded off with Lori Harvard’s presentation on “Storyboarding: How to Plan for an E-Learning Module”. Storyboarding is a step by step method of planning what you want the user to understand. Lori told us how it was used to effect changes in information literacy tutorials in Swansea University. I found Lori’s account of how they used it valuable. We have mooted the idea of having an online tutorial at my college. I will definitely take a closer look at this when the time comes. The AGM session was a different ball game with Dr Judith Broady-Preston leading a thought provoking debate on “Librarianship: a profession for the future or a future profession”. Judith talked about the concept of professionalism and the apparent blurring of boundaries between the professional and the para-professional in librarianship. She raised the question of the future of library studies in universities since CILIP seems to be in competition with them by offering their own qualifications. I left the conference with a lot of thoughts buzzing through my head. Paramount among them is Judith Broady-Preston’s talk. What really is the future of librarianship? Is it a profession as a proper profession should be – exclusively for those trained to practice it? What benefit does one have for getting professional qualification? What is the future of “library academic qualifications” if you can practice without it? A thought for tomorrow’s debate perhaps?????

Pamela Hanney 28th April 2008 The keys to time: workforce development in the 21st Century ‘“My sister reads a lot of books but she wastes a lot of money buying them and then never looking at them again. Is there sort of, like, a video rental place for books?” Do we need to, like, sort of, worry about the profession’s image when the real world has got as bad as this?’ (Swaffield, L. (2008) Media watching, Library + Information Update, 7 (4), p.48) Dr Judith Broady-Preston was the last of the day’s speakers, but her use of the above quotation could easily have set the tone of the conference. The focus was on what it means to be a ‘professional’ and how we develop and market ourselves and our services. This article aims not so much to summarise the day’s events, but is a personal account of how I used some of the themes over the following couple of months. Professionalism: who knows what you do? Lyndsay Rees-Jones, Senior Adviser, MSU, CILIP Who should know what you do? Who do you want to know what you do? Do they see you the way you see yourself? You should know what you do – you need to be confident about what you do. I think this was a very important point, too often I hear myself, and others, being a bit vague about what it is that we do. Lyndsay suggested having some professional visibility tools, such as business cards (free on internet) , report writing (whether ‘they’ want one or not!), brochures, headed paper, stickers and so on. Lyndsay then brought out a huge collection of carrier bags and asked us all to choose one that we felt would represent us or our service. We discussed designs, written information – there is sometimes too much – recognisable colours, logos etc. We have since ordered some reusable bags to give out during inductions, and have asked for help from one of our Arts colleagues to help design a simple badge “Library & Information Service – Supporting Learning” to pin on the bags. Make use of professional support mechanisms – colleagues, networks, peers (could be multi-professional) and your mentor. Supporting professional learning and development in an integrated Information Services Division Liz Jolly, Associate Director, Information Services Division, University of Salford Liz talked about how their converged Library and Computing (Information Services Division - ISD) services support professional development with the use of learning contracts and agreed timescales.

Incentives Two study days allocated per annum ISD meet the costs of CILIP membership Managers must be chartered Successes and benefits Morale and motivation of candidates Mentor/mentee relationship Monthly support group meetings Learning more about ISD Increase in professional pride Development as reflective practitioners Higher profile of ISD in University – kick-started a change in culture. Issues and lessons Administration Time As a profession, we need to be more ‘risk tolerant’, be aware of the bigger picture and embrace change. Liz’s presentation was useful to me in that we are currently thinking about our future library service following a rebuild. This is an excellent opportunity to review our future staffing needs and what development will be required of existing staff. Establish your worth and prove your value – making a case for Library Professionals Richard Beveridge, Director of Library Services, Tribal Group Richard talked about finding out your worth as a professional by using business strategies. You need to find out the ‘big aim’ of your organisation, how much you cost, what you do to bring value, what happens when you are not there and what you influence and control. Benefits:  Tangible benefits: direct cash savings which can be measured  Intangible benefits: savings that cannot be directly measured but come through outcomes such as improved staff morale, greater flexibility.  Strategic benefits: things that become possible as a result of better information management Conclusion Discover your organisation’s ‘big aims’ and work to get you there Learn your direct and indirect costs and capture income to meet them Know where you bring value and be able to articulate how you do it Carry out a Value for Money Assessment Make your Circle of Influence larger Competency based interviews – getting it right Laura Perrott, Consultant, Sue Hill Recruitment I used much of what Laura talked about at a Staff Development session just a week after the conference. Our employer is currently investigating job evaluation schemes and this presentation was very timely. Much of what Laura said could be used in a job interview, or a for job evaluation, or even, I thought, for your own personal evaluation – for example to help with your annual review or appraisal.

What are Competencies? Skills, knowledge and abilities to do the job How does it work? Real evidence and examples Why and Who? Level playing field More and more employers! The good news! Based on the job description and person specification Typical wording of questions Describe how… Tell me about a time… Give an example of… How do you deal with… Probing – exploring your answer Initial question: Give me an example of a project you’ve been responsible for Possible probing questions: How did you plan the various tasks? How did you allocate responsibilities? How did you deal with any obstacles? Top tips were - prepare examples before the interview; be specific not general; assume nothing; talk about you, not us (‘Me, me, me NOT we, we, we!’). And finally, use the STAR Principle - Situation, Task, Action, Result – think of a situation, what the task was, what action you took, and what the result was. Storyboarding: how to plan for an e-learning module Lori Havard, Subject Librarian, University of Swansea Lori talked about the creation of an e-learning module using storyboarding. Storyboarding is ‘a way to plan out what you want the user to understand based on a step-by-step process’. This was a concept I was only vaguely aware of, but have since used it to re-design our induction presentation (during another staff development event) and am about to use it to revive our VLE pages, which have become a bit unfocused recently. Sometimes it is really useful to start from scratch and get staff thinking about what it is that we want to get across to our users. Librarianship: a profession for the future or a future profession? Dr Judith Broady-Preston, Dept of Information Studies, University of Aberystwyth, Leader of CILIP Council Judith Broady-Preston’s presentation followed the AGM, and unfortunately there was little time left for debate. Issues raised included current concerns such as ‘Googlisation’ and the concept of professionalism, and the ‘skills agenda’ in which she referred to the Leitch Review of Skills, Lifelong Learning and Work Based Learning, and the shifting focus of education. She ended the day by emphasising that, as a profession, one our key strengths is adaptability and that the Library brand is still a strong and positive one. I am really grateful to the CDG-WM for sponsoring my attendance at this national event. It was a really great day, not only for the presentations, but for the opportunity to meet such a broad range of library folk. It was especially interesting to talk to staff from the National Library of Wales about disaster planning following the closure of one of our libraries after a fire just a few days before the conference. If you get the opportunity to go to an event like this – grab it!

Katharine Widdows As an “extraordinary” chartership candidate I am going to have two whole years worth of evidence to transform into a portfolio in February, and so at the beginning of the Chartership process I was a bit daunted by the idea of having to keep track of all that information. (I still am – but don’t tell anyone!). The idea of a blog to record information chronologically, in an easily taggable, searchable, librarian-y sort of way, really appealed to me so I emailed the LIS-REG crowd, early on in my Chartership to see if others were using blogs and to encourage candidates to read each others blogs and comment. A lot of LIS-REGers were already blogging, and many more started blogs after the email discussions. I now have quite a long blogroll of chartership candidates, and still there are occasional emails flying around LIS-REG flagging up more chartering bloggers. If you would like to see the list of those I am currently aware of please visit kwiddows/ or if you would like to flag up your blog with others then feel free to send the link to an appropriate email list – it’s not just Chartership candidates getting in on the action. As a result of email discussion, and later blog discussion, various issues came up about the use of blogs for Chartership: Advantages:  Entries in chronological order  Opportunity to get into the habit of reflective practice  Opportunity to encourage discussion on what you are doing/what is going on in Libraries  It boosts your confidence when you can see that other people are interested in what you say  Easy sharing of information and support between candidates, with your mentor, with other professionals etc. This could also lead to professional networking


Blog entries are taggable and searchable – better than flipping through endless paper notes (tags can be set up to reflect the BPK, the assessment criteria, your PPDP headings, or whatever will help you to organise the information later)

Concerns (and responses to them):  Not wanting thoughts to be made public – blogs allow for private entries too, or you can even keep your whole blog private  Concern that anything written should be well thought out and formalised – the blogosphere is not strictly a formal arena, but, again, entries can be kept private, or in many cases shared with a select few individuals, such as your mentor  Usage of time – blog entries can be as short, infrequent, and hurriedly written as you like. I also think that the blog will save me time in the long run, partly because of its search functions and partly because it is a source of potential evidence so I wont have to write additional reflections whilst compiling evidence for the portfolio. Other things to note:  As a direct result of my blog I have been referenced in a book, and I am not the only one.  It is easy to monitor how many people are reading your blog by using a free web statistics tool, such as Google Analytics, or you can register with Technorati, or similar, to see how many people link to your blog – you might be surprised by how much attention you are getting!  Getting into the habit of reflective practice is advised by all kinds of people for use throughout a career in LIS, and it is also a useful transferable skill. So how about it? Blogs are free and easy and loads of librarians are already doing it online. . .

A screening by the Career Development Group - West Midlands. Tuesday 29 July 2008, Library Theatre, Birmingham Lesley Allen Thirty four of us gathered in anticipation in the library theatre in Birmingham for a screening of The Hollywood Librarian. After a shaky start caused by a technical hitch, ably dealt with by Abbi Williams and helpers, the screening was underway. The Hollywood Librarian: A look at Librarians through film, by librarian and film maker Ann Siedl, took five years to make. It is the first documentary to look at the work and lives of librarians (in the United States). Taking a wide historical view of the development of written communication from hieroglyphics to its present form, it then went on to show clips of librarians as depicted in film; Katherine Hepburn in Desk Set, and The Music Man for example, amusing but stereotypical images of librarians. Interspersed with the clips and narrative were interviews with librarians from many spheres. The interviewees were all proud advocates of their profession and had many examples to share of their daily activities and problems. These included James Larue on what made him become a librarian, and an interview with Katherine Hepburn’s sister on her many years in libraries. Personally I found the school librarian very inspiring; she clearly loved her work. Rather surprisingly perhaps, there was little mention of how librarians and their services have been transformed by the use of technology in all its guises. Given the technological advances that have impacted on all of our lives at home as well as work, it seemed like a big gap in something that had taken so long to make. It is also interesting to note that there were no real examples of younger librarians in the film. All of the interviewees had worked in the profession for many years. I wonder how or if the film would have differed had there been a different age mix in the interviewees? It was sobering to read at the end of the documentary that the United States spends more in one day on funding the conflict in Iraq than it does in its funding for all public libraries for a year. Overall, I enjoyed the film, but felt it was too long. It could have lost quite a chunk without losing significant content. The part about the opening and closing of the library in Salinas was far too long, for example. The CDG were raising funds for the Zambia Prisons Library Project and were successful in raising £83 for the project.

Following an eleven year career in nursing, I threw caution to the wind and left to undertake a full-time degree course at Keele University. Four years later I took the first step towards a new career and began my first post, as a Library and Information Assistant, Staffordshire University.


The next eleven years at Staffordshire University were extremely varied, starting with experience at the issue desk, learning the basics of classification, and assisting with inter-library loans. Promotion to the post of Information Services Assistant, working mainly on the help desk, broadened my experience of answering subject-related enquiries. I also wrote web pages using HTML, edited a newsletter, and assisted in the setting up and running of the e-helpdesk. This was followed by a temporary promotion to the post of Learning Support Librarian, working with the Business, Computing and Engineering teams across two sites. It was at the end of this temporary post I decided that I needed to take more control over the direction of my career. I subsequently took the post of Library Resources Manager at Stafford College and am still here after almost six years. This time has flown past – the transition from higher to further education was a huge cultural leap, but one I have never regretted. I do have less time to spend on specialist subject responsibilities, but I have gained much experience in a greater variety of areas, such as staff and resource management, and I have a better overview and understanding of the organisation as a whole. I have been a member of CILIP and of the Career Development Group, for more than ten years now, but have only relatively recently become more involved with the CDG West Midlands. I wish I had become more involved earlier in my career!

This picture taken during the visit to Worcester Cathedral Library in September. The report will follow in the next issue of Central News.

Dates for your diary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

CDG WM Committee Meeting Wednesday 21st January 2009 18:00-20:00 Venue: Birmingham Central Library Why not come and find out more about the committee? For further details please contact the chair - email: ………………………………………………………………………………………… CDG WM AGM in conjunction with CILIP West Midlands Members’ Day and AGM Wednesday 28th January 2009 Venue: Coventry University. Includes a tour of the award winning library at Coventry University and presentations by Peter Griffiths (CILIP President 2009) and Ayub Khan (Head of Libraries (Strategy) for Warwickshire County Council) Further details to follow.. Please register your interest with Georgina Hardy ( ………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………... What’s happening in health information (a study day for nonspecialists)? Thursday 12th February 2009 09:30 – 3:30 Carrs Lane Church Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham B4 7SX Cost: Career Development Group Members £41.13 (Including VAT) CILIP Members £47 (Including VAT) and Non-members £52.88 (Including VAT) There are a number of free places for students or the unwaged, please make contact below.


A one day workshop run by West Midlands Career Development Group, CILIP Health Information is a fast changing environment where it is often difficult for the non-specialist to keep informed. The West Midlands Career Development Group has a workshop running on the 4th November 2008 so that Library and Information professionals who work outside of the health environment can see how this specialist area is changing and developing. To book a place please contact Catherine McLaren, Library Services Manager Email:, Telephone: 02476866564,

CDG Autumn 08a  

Autumn 2008 CDG WM - Welcome from the Chair 2 CDG National Conference - Report 5 Career Development Group...get involved! CDG National Confe...