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Reflections on CILIP's New Professionals Day 2019

Posted By Amy Staniforth, 31 October 2019

#newprofsday Reflections on CILIP’s New Professionals Day

@CILIPinWales @CILIPinfo

This year’s CILIP New Professionals day was held at CILIP HQ, Bloomsbury. The event is aimed at those new to the profession, in their first professional library post, or those either studying for or considering the library qualification. I fell into the latter category. Having started work as a Senior Library Assistant at Cardiff University three months ago, I felt that I would appreciate the opportunity to network with other new professionals, hear about the various different library or information roles out there, and hear some practical advice on qualifications, interviews and CVs.

Having arrived at 9:30, I sat with a group of seven others and embarked on an hour of networking. The conversation instantly turned to the library Master’s qualification (indeed, this was also the topic returned to in the breaks). Half of the table had started the Master’s via distance learning courses and the other half including myself were considering it. Our initial questions were: is it essential for us to commit an abundance of time and money in order to gain a higher-up library position? Is it a struggle to motivate oneself to work in the day and study during evenings/weekends? Is it an enjoyable course? Is it worth risking temporary unemployment at the end of the course if one studies full-time, on campus without a job alongside? And does it expose practical guidance and thought for your current role?

It seemed that the main motivation for the distance learners had been financial, combined with the worry of possible un-employment post qualification. However, the consequential struggle for the distance learners has been finding inspiration and energy for assignments after having worked in the week - not having enough time to focus solely on an essay has proved stressful at times. Equally, not having enough time off whilst completing assignments is tricky. They would all highly recommend the Master’s qualification - though maybe not whilst working - as they have gained a much wider perspective on the information sector and got to consider many practical aspects of librarianship e.g. library management systems, cataloguing, social media and user engagement.

The most useful piece of advice I took away was to choose a course based on the interest I have in particular modules, rather than the reputation of the course. You will need inspiration! We then had talks from those in other information professions e.g. prison libraries, civil service and technology services. They all agreed that studying for a library qualification shows dedication and will almost definitely influence an interviewer’s decision. It may well be a box-ticking exercise, but given the current job market and the competition for vacancies, I get the impression that the qualification would be worth the money. You just have to decide how you want to fit studying in around your work life and weigh up the risks and benefits. These discussions allowed me to make a decision.

From the other talks, I gathered that information roles in the civil service sounded most contrary to what I do in my library role. The levels of clearance and referral needed from other teams for each email response was astounding, though reassuring. The time-limits, continuous deadlines, varying templates for enquiries dependant on which company, charity, or person has emailed and the volume of enquiries (sometimes 700 to 800 questions per day) dealt with by staff was admirable; though daunting. I left feeling grateful to have had the opportunity to work within HE institutions.

However, everyone that I spoke to at this CILIP event was so incredibly passionate about their job. Every information professional contributes in a different way through their institution, but it seems we all have the same goal: to disseminate knowledge and truth to as wide an audience as we can reach in efficient and engaging ways.

Danielle Stubbs, Senior Library Assistant, Cardiff University

Useful Recruitment companies in Knowledge & Information: CB Resourcing. TFPL Recruitment. Sue Hill.

Tags:  Cardiff  CILIP  new professionals  qualification  registration  Wales 


#CILIPW17 Reflections from and enthusiastic tweeter

Posted By Administration, 02 November 2017

#CILIPW17 Reflections from and enthusiastic tweeter

CILIP Wales 2017

The first day of the CILIP Wales conference 2017 had so many interesting and useful talks to be able to cover them all, so I’m going to stick with two of them;

The first presentation was given by Linda Tomos, on the importance of networking in our profession. The key points I took away from this talk was not only to create and maintain relationships with colleagues, but also ensure that they have a purpose and the knowledge shared is used. I’ve been to a few conferences which I’ve found really useful, written pages of notes, and never looked at or implemented afterwards.

Linda then reminded the delegates of the impact the ‘People’s Network’ had in enabling libraries to connect communities to the internet. The idea of a ‘People’s Network Part Two’ is an interesting concept, especially when considering what the focus point should be, technology is no longer so divisive, but the way it’s used is. Finally, the use of collaborative, focused strategies for blogging and social media, promoting our own knowledge, skills and professional development.


The key note speech from Professor Neil Frude was a huge high point for me, which really highlighted how much impact libraries can have on public health. We were shown the positive statistics produced by bibliotherapy using the Book by Prescription program, and the fact this program has essentially become defunct in Wales met with a lively discussion, and comments, to revive and improve it.

This bought on a demonstration of the positives of networking at conferences, as a member of a lottery funding body began discussing some of the practicalities of funding. One question I had – which may be due to my most recent collection development module – was how libraries can continue developing these collections to be up to date with limited funding?

To sum up, outside my deluge of tweets on the day, being able to attend these evens as a newcomer to the profession is really useful and inspiring, and exposes me to current issues which libraries are dealing with within the profession and wider society.

Diolch yn Fawr for having me, and my slightly over enthusiastic tweeting!

Ellie Downes, Student Aberystwyth University



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#CILIPW17 Lovely Llandudno; a reflection on the Marketing to Thrive and Survive Session

Posted By Administration, 02 November 2017

#CILIPW17 Lovely Llandudno; a reflection on the Marketing to Thrive and Survive Session


A warm welcome awaited us at Venue Cymru, which was brilliantly located over the road from the most beautiful promenade that I have ever seen and it was sunny (most of the time).

Everyone I met was so friendly (and networking is not my forte) that I came away feeling that I had made many new professional connections, which was one of my reasons for going to the conference as I have recently started Chartership.

I was keen to listen presentations that relate to my job at University of South Wales (as Assistant Librarian) such as ‘Marketing to Thrive and Survive’ from Swansea Uni librarians, Sian and Giles. This was an interesting presentation as they told us about various events that they organised in order to market the library and to improve engagement with students and they have won an award for it (we’re not jealous!).

Swansea used a number of different events to take the library to the students, rather than expecting the students to engage with the library, events such as ‘Assignments – Survive & Thrive’, ‘Blind Book Date’ and ‘Parrots & Plagiarism’.

Swansea also use a number of other tools such as online subject guides, social media, digital promotions on plasma screens and pop-ups, to keep the library on the students’ radar.

It was reassuring to hear that they faced similar challenges, such as multi-site libraries, with co-ordination needed between campuses and struggling with staff numbers to maintain events, as the library work-load carries on regardless of librarians popping-up all over campus.

As a result, I have been able to remind our managers that other HE libraries have budgets to run competitions and even give away prizes, which does engage students by lightening the mood and is a step away from the traditional image of an academic library.

This was the friendliest conference I’ve ever been too and definitely the best location – good choice CILIP Wales Committee and thanks for awarding me a free day.

Kate Schwenk


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