Jamie Finch, Chair of CILIP’s International Library and Information Group (ILIG), talks to ILIG’s network of professionals about the value of working internationally. Here are some of the insightful thoughts that establish the case for knowledge sharing, and highlight the active role played by UK librarians in the global profession.
Ian Stringer, Former Chair of ILIG and an active Committee Member says, “Working Internationally teaches you that your own government’s message when dealing with situations is not the only solution. Others may have better methods. Alexei Sayle demonstrates the UK scenario:”
Doug Knock from Library & Knowledge Services at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust remembers his introduction to libraries and the international world of Inter-Library Loans in the early noughties. “Given the global village that we now inhabit, international networking, whether it is through attending conferences, keeping up to date with published articles or engaging in discussion lists can help provide different perspectives and solutions to shared challenges. As librarians, information professionals, knowledge management specialists or whatever we like to call ourselves, we often share similar goals to our colleagues across the globe through supporting access to information in its broadest sense by ensuring it is organised, managed and accessible while our customers and clients, from toddlers to pensioners, have the skills to make the most of it.”
Anna Moron, an academic support librarian at the University of the West of Scotland says, “I consider myself international. I am a UK resident, soon to become a citizen, with a Polish background. I lived, studied and held a professional career in different countries – Poland (school librarian, ICT teacher, academic lecturer, academic librarian, museum librarian), Germany (student), England (hospital librarian, academic librarian) and Scotland (academic librarian).
I benefited and benefit from it greatly. It wakes up and shakes my creativity. It improves my communication skills. It improves my cognitive skills. It increases my productivity. It boosts my self-awareness. I strongly believe that we should look out from our very own professional practice-box.
We can teach others and boast about our very own solutions/workflows but we also should learn from others and tap into the expertise/knowledge of others. There is nothing more refreshing than meeting enthusiastic and knowledgeable peers.”
Anna also shares her experiences of traveling in her professional role through the Erasmus+ programme that gave her the opportunities of working on an international scale. Some of the international trainings she received include:
2016 Erasmus+ / Erasmus Staff Mobility Week ‘Research Support from the Library’ at the Bergen University College in Norway.
2018 Erasmus+ / Laurea International Week 2018: ‘Going global in the digital era’ at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Finland.
2019 / Erasmus+ / XIV International Staff Training Week at the University of Granada in Spain.
While CILIP launches its new Working Internationally for Libraries project, funded by Arts Council England, to support public libraries in England in building bridges through their work, Ann Irving, who has worked in the Libraries and Information sector in UK for over 3 decades, reminds us that CILIP and ILIG have a long history of promoting international working. ILIG’s journal ‘Focus’ has a proud 50 year+ history and has been posted all over the globe and there have been several twinning projects in the past where ILIG has hosted many professionals from other countries to do study tours in the UK, which has been reciprocated.
Header image: "Oodi, Central Library, Helsinki, Finland" by Ninara is licensed under CC BY 2.0 cc-icon