Yesterday, I attended a “Your Guide to Certification and Chartership” course run by the CILIP Career Development Group (CDG calendar of events).
I was particularly interested in developing my reflective writing skills. The personal statement must be evaluative rather than descriptive, and I know that is going to be a challenge for me!
Here is a reminder of the criteria for chartership
- An ability to reflect critically on personal performance and to evaluate service performance
- Active commitment to continuing professional development
- An ability to analyse personal and professional development and progression with reference to experiential and developmental activities
- Breadth of professional knowledge and understanding of the wider professional context
Keep these in mind when constructing your personal statement, and make it easy for the assessors to see how you have achieved each criterion.
How do I know if I am evaluating?
- If you are NOT describing
- If you have measured your effectiveness
- If you can demonstrate how you have put into practice what you have learned
- If you are asking questions, and answering them
Evaluating as questioning – things to think about
- Why do I need to achieve that?
- Why did I do that?
- What did I learn from it?
- Did anything change as a result?
- What would I do differently next time?
The reflective practitioner’s cycle
When considering which pieces of evidence to include in your portfolio, ask yourself “I’ve chosen to include this – so what?” Ensure that all of your examples are explained in terms of what you learned or did differently as a result.
Here are links to some resources which were mentioned during the course
ILS Skills Portfolio (developed from the RAPID – Recording Academic, Professional and Individual Development – system)
e-learning and technology individual self-assessment
foliofor.me – manage your own online learning e-portfolio for free (powered by Mahara)
See also: On the road to Chartership
Yesterday I attended a Chartership Group session run by Bodleian Libraries’ Staff Development.
The guest speaker was Michael Martin of CILIP (contact details). Here is a collection of points that I found useful and hope you will too if you are working towards Chartership. I’ve included links to the fuller information on the CILIP website.
Starting out with Chartership (fuller details)
- Be a member of CILIP
- Register as a candidate
- Choose a mentor
- Design your Personal Professional Development Plan (PPDP). It’s not binding – you can change it as you go along
- It’s good to have a mentor from outside your organisation as they will help ensure your portfolio is free from jargon and understandable to an external person
- Make a formal agreement with your mentor to agree how often you will meet, over what period and for how long each time
Why do we need portfolios?
- For gathering and presenting evidence
- To aid evaluation and reflection
- For appraisal, career change
- To demonstrate professional judgement
- Essential to Framework of Qualifications
What should a Chartership portfolio contain? (more in the Chartership Handbook )
- Table of contents
- CV – you can afford to make it longer than the standard 2 sides for a job application – can be up to 4 sides. Annotate your training and experience
- Personal evaluative statement – maximum 1000 words. Must be evaluative, NOT descriptive!
- Aims and objectives of your organisation (if your organisation doesn’t have these, you can create them)
- Structure chart to show the relationships in your team
- Evidence of participation in mentor scheme
I asked if the “aims and objectives of your organisation” meant those of your individual library, college or the whole university? It was suggested that you start with your immediate context and then expand on how these feed into the aims and objectives of the broader institution.
How should the portfolio be organised?
- Clearly marked sections
- Securely bound – comb binding recommended
- 12 point type (no font was specified, and I didn’t dare ask in case it was Comic Sans)
- In triplicate, clearly identified (the master copy is kept at CILIP, and other two are sent out to two assessors)
- Accompanied by application form and submission fee
- If you are interested in taking part in a pilot e-submission scheme, contact Michael
What can go into a portfolio?
- Annual reviews, appraisals or evaluations
- Contributions to professional press
- Project briefs, reports, surveys
- Evidence of active membership of professional networks
- Evaluation forms from training you have delivered
- Bibliography (and what you have learned from reading each item)
- Lists of visits (and what you learned from each visit)
What else can go in?
- Evidence of work-based learning e.g. responses to enquiries from users or colleagues; publicity you have created; letters or memos; guidance notes to staff or students; testimonies / observations
- Relevant out of work experiences e.g. case studies
- Web pages
- Audio-visual material e.g. photos, multimedia
A skills audit can be a helpful starting point for identifying areas to develop. Here are some examples:
- Higher Education Academy
- OU Safari (Skills in Accessing, Finding And Reviewing Information)
- Make your own CPD audit sheet – date, activity, what you learned, how you applied it. Good to include as it demonstrates evaluation
The criteria for Chartership
- The ability to reflect critically on personal performance and to evaluate service performance
- Active commitment to continuing professional development – what do you do after you have learned something? What changes in your professional practice?
- The ability to analyse personal and professional development and progression with reference to experiential and developmental activities
- Breadth of professional knowledge and understanding of the wider professional context – candidates often fall down on this one. Easily addressed by reading or arranging visits outside your sector
Be sure to address each of these criteria. It might be helpful to consider this matrix in which you assess a number of activities against the criteria to be sure that you have demonstrated all of them at some point:
I found this diagram on the CILIP site – it’s a Word document and difficult to link to but you can search for it using some of the text in the document. It’s also available in Margaret Watson’s book, Building Your Portfolio: The CILIP Guide (ISBN 978-1-85604-714-2).
Some general tips
- If you have written a blog post and generated some discussion by people commenting on it, you can include this in your portfolio and count it towards your “active commitment to continuing professional development (CPD)”
- Take care to anonymise or omit personal details of other people that appear on documents you use in your portfolio, such as email addresses
- If you want to include material that is in copyright, get permission and state this clearly on the document in your portfolio
- Attention to detail is important – this is an assessment of an information professional by other info profs!
- Attribute any collaborative work and indicate your own intellectual contribution
Now, I can’t claim I don’t know where to start. I’d better just get on and write it…
In the course of ordinary conversation, I am often asked about the job I do. I used to reply that I am the Librarian at St Hugh’s College, and this answer was well understood among colleagues at the University of Oxford or in academic circles at Cambridge.
However, to those who aren’t familiar with these universities, or academic libraries in general; this answer doesn’t tell them much about what I do.
To many people, a “librarian” is someone who staffs the enquiry desk at a library. They don’t recognise any difference between “librarian” and “Librarian-with-a-capital-L”. The difference between “Librarian” and “Library Assistant” is lost on many people.
I have started describing my job in terms such as “I run the library at St Hugh’s” or “I manage an academic library” to help the listener more accurately imagine what my job involves and understand why an MA/MSc is required in order to do the job.
I am beginning to wonder if making a change to my official job title (e.g. Librarian-in-charge) might help other people to understand my role better. And since “librarian” is such a generic word to the general public, perhaps using a different (new?) word for people who manage libraries might be a more effective way of having our professionalism recognised than trying to re-educate people about what the word “librarian” means.
Are you a Librarian, Learning Resource Centre Manager, Information Assistant, Assistant Librarian, Senior Library Assistant, Academic Liaison Librarian, Graduate Library Trainee or similar? How closely does your job title describe the role that you actually perform?
As part of today’s Bodleian Libraries’ Personal Development and Career Planning Day, Kerry Webb [Deputy Librarian at the English Faculty Library] and I co-presented a session entitled “How I became a librarian and found job satisfaction”. This is a summary of my section of the presentation.
I began with a brief outline of my career path so far:
*OULS = Oxford University Library Services, now Bodleian Libraries
Job satisfaction in my current role
- Getting things well-organised
- Being creative in use of space, ideas for new collections
- Using technology to make things better: RFID, combined copier/scanner/printer with card swipe
- Project management: combining short, medium and long-term projects so that essentials get done and non-urgent tasks are still progressing, and crises are avoided
- Learning to be a good manager
- Classification geek
Making the most of your current role
- Do your job well! Add value to the tasks you already do
- Especially if you are aiming for a grade increase at your next job, expect to work above your current job description
- Volunteer to take part in committees and special projects (for example, I organised 23 Things Oxford and the All Libraries Pub Quiz outside of work)
Think about future jobs
- What are you interested in? What are you good at? NB: these may not be the same!
- Keep an eye out for job adverts and see how your skills match up. Identify any areas you need to improve on
- Approach skills gaps in a variety of ways – use experience from your personal life (sports captain, choir treasurer, managing a family, secretary for a CILIP group. Use the appraisal system to ask for training (some may benefit you in your existing job, such as IT skills)
- Be open-minded about jobs you would consider. Not all jobs are sexy, but you can learn a lot from any job you do
Some all-round good ideas
- Be prepared to move around to develop your career. There’s a big world outside beyond Oxford
- Consider Chartership – not much recognised at Oxford, may well be an advantage elsewhere
- Take responsibility for your own professional development: reading, meeting people, reflecting on your current role. Tools I use include RSS feeds and Twitter. Meeting people outside your department/sector is invaluable
And a final thought (attributed to Thomas Edison)
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”