Kate Arnold's President's view - new beginnings
As I write this in September it’s the time of year for new beginnings, particularly for those working in, or entering, education. For the academic library community, this will mean heading into induction weeks, when their time will be filled with making the basics of using the library sound more exciting than going to the bar. For school librarians, it will mean helping to settle in new students in unfamiliar surroundings, and developing the reading habits of a new generation.
For CILIP this autumn marks the start of the implementation of big changes, which will benefit all members:
- Introduction of ‘Your Membership’ interactive system, which will make it easier to manage your membership;
- Introduction of the new membership rates, approved by members at March’s EGM, which broaden the membership base, and offer increased value for all;
- Revamp and launch of a new members’ magazine, Information Professional.
I have also taken a different path this autumn, I’m diversifying my skill set, gaining teaching skills by taking a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), this will enable me to teach geography in secondary schools (see p. 13). I’m in the first few weeks of the course. I am getting used to a different rhythm of work and study, not to mention being a library user rather than staff member. I had been aware that as a career changer I brought many valuable transferable skills, but hadn’t really appreciated how useful these would be from day one. I am very grateful to have well-tuned organising and researching skills, not to mention experience of roles in a variety of sectors. It hadn’t occurred to me that the schools sector would have similarities to the NHS in terms of local implementation of national policies.
Poacher turned gamekeeper
Needless to say, my library skills are already in evidence on my course, I felt like poacher turned game keeper during induction. In best true UX style (you gain a lot by being a user of the service) I reflected on the library induction, and gave the customer service team feedback. In summary, the induction was too long, covered too much and probably would have fitted in better during week two.
Support for new professionals
Becoming a trainee teacher has given me great respect for new professionals/early career folk, in particular I realise how much they have to learn, how opaque things can appear to newbies while seasoned people think things are transparent and easy to understand. This is where professional associations can, and do help, by providing opportunities for networking, mentoring and volunteering. I am looking forward to exploring this further at the CILIP’s New Professionals event in October and comparing notes on advice and support for new professionals.
Autumn as a new beginning is very much my theme for this column and I’m looking forward to the changes at CILIP that will be emerging in the next few months. I believe these will allow for a more diverse membership, greater communication between sectors and with this a reduction in silo working within the profession