Library and information professionals from across the North of England converged on the University of Liverpool on Friday 21 July for the inaugural Careers Day for northern Member Networks.
A collaboration between the North West, North East, and Yorkshire and Humberside Member Networks, the Careers Day at the Sydney Jones Library proved a steep learning curve for me as one of the event organizers. Not only was this the first such event hosted by regional Member Networks, it was the first time I had taken so much responsibility for organizing and managing any event.
It was therefore gratifying to receive such a generous response from professionals across the sector who agreed to deliver seminars and workshops on a diversity of topics, from professional registration to the lacunae in a professional qualification. The enthusiasm from all 25 attendees also vindicated the organizational efforts involved.
Sessions also included guidance from the University of Liverpool Careers Service, members of the New Library Professionals Network (NLPN) espousing the value of CPD and networking, an account of an ‘accidental’ career in Special Collections librarianship, and two accounts of public library services making measurable impacts on the quality of life experienced by their service users.
The odd hiccup aside (technological and refectorial – the usual stumbling blocks), it would seem from attendees’ comments, feedback and Twitter activity that the event was well-received. Now, I and my fellow Member Network Committee members are assessing how best to replicate the day as well as transfer the regional collaborative model to other events.
The day was promoted as relevant to all career stages, though most attendees were relatively new to the profession. Early feedback suggested that, while most attendees were satisfied with the provision, more established practitioners perceived less relevance in the sessions’ contents. Indeed, there is a clear demand for careers events oriented to mid-career professionals looking to develop managerial and leadership skills, the provision of which seems especially prudent given the decline of the ‘job for life’. In addition, if the profession is to adapt to meet the multifarious needs of present-day society then no practitioner can afford to remain professionally static, as demonstrated by themes of the value of CPD and networking skills permeating across the day’s sessions.
The Committee is grateful to the Sydney Jones Library for use of the venue, as well as the speakers and workshop leaders who gave up their time to prepare and deliver engaging sessions on the day. We hope to work collaboratively with our neighbouring Member Networks, as well as Special Interest Groups based in the North West, in the future.
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