Laura’s guide to Chartership

This is an unofficial guide, but it worked for me, and I hope you find it useful.

Start with CILIP’s Five steps to Chartership

Get yourself a mentor

When choosing a mentor, I think it’s a good idea to approach someone who is outside your sector.  If they don’t live near you, you can meet by phone or Skype.  Having a perspective from someone who is not as familiar with your work environment is good for two reasons:

  1. you can discuss issues and compare procedures and policies with someone who has a different perspective on libraries
  2. they can help you judge if you have explained your context fully, and that it makes sense to someone with no prior experience of your workplace

I think this is especially important if you work in a library which tends only to compare itself or benchmark against other organisations that are already very similar (such as academic libraries) and discussion with a mentor from a different information environment will help you generate new ideas about how to provide a better service for your users.

Writing your Personal Professional Development Plan (PPDP)

Think about your development in the broadest possible sense.  Don’t compare yourself with other people – this is your learning journey and what matters is that you have made progress from your starting point.

Examples of areas for training and development include:

Old-skool library skillz e.g. cataloguing and classification

People skills e.g. supervision or management of colleagues, customer service skills

The wonderful world of social media e.g. learning to write for the social web, monitoring and evaluating interactions on your library’s Twitter, Facebook or other social sites.  Or even being the person who starts these up for your information service

Transferable skills e.g. project management, managing budgets, collating data and statistics, administrative skills, giving presentations or inductions

Remember that training takes many forms: it can be on-the-job, shadowing, researching, learning by doing (i.e. there is no-one else I can find to teach me – I’m just going to have to figure it out as I go along) – it’s not just about attending a course.  And if you do go on a course, take time to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you will put it into action.

Chartership course

CILIP recommend that you attend a Chartership course.

Before the day, do some research into what you need to do to submit your portfolio, and be ready with questions.  You’ll get more out of the course if you arrive prepared and are already familiar with the basics.

The people who will be speaking at the course know their stuff, so use the opportunity wisely by asking them things you can’t easily find out by reading about Chartership on the CILIP website.

At the course, there may be portfolios on display.  Take a look at these and make notes to help you remember the good (and bad) points that you want to remember to include (or avoid) in yours.

Write your evaluative statement

It’s that simple – just write it.

If you need help with eking out all 1,000 words, try Written? Kitten! which rewards you with a picture of a cute kitty (sorry, dog lovers) each time you write another 100 words.

I found it useful to divide my words roughly equally between the four competencies I was trying to demonstrate:

  • Personal performance and service performance
  • Active commitment to continuing professional development
  • Personal and professional development and progression
  • Breadth of professional knowledge and understanding of the wider professional context

Collate evidence to support your personal statement

Gather certificates, emails, blog posts, tweets, policies… any documents which support what you have written in your evaluative statement about your development.

Order, number and name them so you can easily cross-reference them from your statement (you are a Librarian, after all).

Personal details of other people

When using documents which contain names, emails or similar personal information about other people, you need to think about how you will present this information in your portfolio.

I had seen other portfolios in which candidates had obscured these details but I felt that this made the documents look censored.

Instead, I asked permission from the people involved to reproduce these documents in full and all of them agreed.  I made clear in my portfolio that these documents were included with permission, and I thought this looked more open and inviting to read.

Electronic submission

CILIP have started accepting electronic submissions and I would recommend this as it allows you to use working hyperlinks in your portfolio (I used these to link from my statement to the evidence and back again) and saves you having to print and bind three copies of your portfolio.

Best of luck!  Keep your eyes on the prize:

Chocolate MCLIP

cpd23 final reflection

This post is part of 23 Things for Professional Development.

I was fortunate that the timing of cpd23 coincided neatly with preparing my CILIP Chartership portfolio.  As well as my blog posts, my portfolio was the major outcome of my reflective practice this summer/winter (depending on your hemisphere).

Thoughts about the cpd23 journey

It was loooooooong. Not just completing each Thing, but just reading the instructions each week came to be a bit of a task in itself.  If you’re planning a 23 Things programme of any sort, I advise keeping the posts for each Thing short and sweet, and give clear actions at the end of each one.

Focus on reflection.  I found this difficult, but I know/hope it’s good for me.  If you haven’t yet done a personal SWOT analysis, try this guide from Mindtools to help you get started.

I will definitely keep blogging!  Thanks for reading 🙂

Summary of posts for each cpd23 Thing

21, 22 Applying for jobs and volunteering to get experience

20 Library careers: routes in and what does this type of work actually involve?

19 Integration, integration, integration

18 Presenting: podcasts, screencasts and the like

17 Presenting with Prezi

16 Library advocacy

15 Events: attending, presenting at and organising

14 Comparison of reference management tools

13 Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox

12 Thing 12: short and sweet for catch-up week

10, 11 Librarianship as a career

8, 9 Getting organised: Google Calendar and Evernote

My involvement in professional organisations

Online networks

Minutes and agendas

Current awareness using social media

Monitoring my personal brand on the web

1, 2 Starting out with 23 Things for Continuing Professional Development

Applying for jobs and volunteering to get experience

This post is part of 23 Things for Professional Development.

Thing 21 is all about promoting yourself in job applications and at interview. Although I have quite a lot of experience of these processes, I found that I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of publishing these details on the web (as laid out in the Thing 21 instructions).

Recently, I had a similar experience with my Chartership portfolio.  When you submit your portfolio for assessement, you are asked if you are willing to make your document available for others to see.  I opted out of that because I felt that some parts of my portfolio, especially my personal SWOT analysis, were things I wanted to keep private (or at least limit the audience to just my assessors!).

However, I promise that I am doing things like constantly revising my CV and I hope this will satisfy the requirements for this Thing!

Thing 22 encourages us to consider the value of volunteering to get experience.  At this stage of my career, I think this has evolved from volunteering to do library work without pay to offering to take on further professional duties such as serving on committees and working groups.

I am currently involved in committees such as the Oxford Libraries’ Web 2.0 Working Party, an Aleph working party which is involved in fine-tuning some circulation settings on our new ILS following its launch in July, the Committee of College Librarians and the University of Oxford LGBT Steering Group.

I like being involved in groups and activities that broaden my professional awareness beyond the horizons of my own workplace. I think this is especially important in a federal organisation such as the University of Oxford.

Librarianship as a career

This post is part of 23 Things for Professional Development.

This week’s cpd23 Thing 10 and Thing 11 are about routes to becoming a qualified librarian and mentoring within the profession.

My career path since school:

1996-1999 B.Sc. (Hons) Physiological Sciences (Newcastle University)

1999-200o PGCE Secondary Science (Biology) (Northumbria University)

2000-2005 Teaching in high school and secondary schools in north-east England

Career crisis!  Do I want to carry on marking, report-writing, doing parents’ evenings, chasing homework, preparing lessons most evenings and at least one day every weekend, not being able to choose when I go on holiday…?

Er, no.  Much as I loved teaching and enjoyed wrangling teenagers, I longed for a more 9-5 job that would allow me to fit in some living around my work.  My mum is a librarian, and my maternal grandmother also worked in libraries, so my genetic profile naturally led me to:

2005-2006 MA Information and Library Management (Northumbria University)

I studied full-time for a year, which I really enjoyed as I could experience being a student again and appreciate the luxury of having so much time to commit to learning.  I also worked part-time in a university library throughout that year.

Librarianship proved an irresistible combination of orderliness, record-keeping, technology, data, interaction with people both as customers and within a library team and cardigans.  Many of the skills involved are directly transferable from teaching.  And I can go home most days without taking any work with me!

Since my library degree, I have had the following jobs:

I’m working towards Chartership and hope to submit my portfolio in the next couple of months.  I have a mentor who helps me through the Chartership process and we meet by phone every few months.  I don’t have a local mentor as such – any offers?

My involvement in professional organisations

This post is part of 23 Things for Professional Development.

I think my involvement with professional organisations is more intermittent than continuous as I tend to be intensely involved when there is a conference or other type of event to focus on e.g. blogging about CILIP Umbrella conference 2011.

I wonder if part of the reason is that I work in a generalist library which covers a wide range of subjects at undergraduate and taught postgraduate level.  Most of my work involves management, and I develop those skills continuously and often blog about management.  However, there is no other big issue or subject I have in common with other professionals.  If I worked in a subject-specific library, I think I would feel more inclined to join a specialist group such as BLA or BIALL.  For my current role, relationships within my institution and its broader organisation are the most important, and this is where I focus most of my efforts.

I was a member of CILIP when I was at library school and I am a member again now, but I did let that lapse for a few years in between because I could not see the benefits clearly enough to justify the cost, especially on relatively low wages at the beginning of my career.  Perhaps this comes back to a breath/specificity reason: CILIP tries to be so many things to so many different people that sometimes it’s hard to see exactly what it is for.  Similarly with Chartership, which I am currently working towards: the skills you have to demonstrate are described in very broad terms, because Chartership candidates come from a wide range of sectors and job levels.  I come from a background in teaching, where the National Curriculum and exam board specifications are quite precise and fact-based, and with Chartership and its focus on description and evaluation, I have found it difficult to know if I am meeting the required standard.

In conclusion: although I am not very active in national professional organisations, I still believe it is important to share your knowledge with others and I do this via Twitter, blogging and by being an active member of local professional groups and committees.

Starting out with 23 Things for Continuing Professional Development

Over the next few months, I will be participating in 23 Things for Professional Development.

I’m joining in as part of my ongoing professional development, and cpd23 will also be good to include in my CILIP Chartership portfolio which I’m currently working on.  The bits I’m most looking forward to are the reflection weeks, as I am hoping that these will give me an opportunity to develop my reflective writing skills.

I have registered my blog for cpd23 and and you can see a list of all the participants – wow, that’s a lot of people who have signed up!

Neighbours logo

So, time to have a look at some other participants’ blogs and “meet the neighbours” – no, not those ones.

I’m showing my age now, as the Neighbours logo has changed several times over the years but this is the one I remember…

I picked a few blogs to check out: Laura’s Letters, Real Ales and World’s Deadliest Librarian.  I left a comment on each one – when you’re new to blogging, it’s nice to know that someone out there is reading it!

Extra credit for anyone who can correctly identify the font used in the Neighbours logo – have a guess in the comments!

Tips for reflective writing

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

  1. An ability to reflect critically on personal performance and to evaluate service performance
  2. Active commitment to continuing professional development
  3. An ability to analyse personal and professional development and progression with reference to experiential and developmental activities
  4. 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

Reflective cycle: pause - reflect - learn - apply

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 – manage your own online learning e-portfolio for free (powered by Mahara)

See also: On the road to Chartership

Personal SWOT analysis

As part of my CILIP Chartership portfolio, it has been suggested to me that I include a personal SWOT analysis to illustrate my career position at this time.

A SWOT analysis involves identifying the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for an individual or an organisation.

I have found a useful list of questions for each area at MindTools – which may be helpful to you if you are trying to construct a similar personal assessment.

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)

  1. Be a member of CILIP
  2. Register as a candidate
  3. Choose a mentor
  4. Design your Personal Professional Development Plan (PPDP). It’s not binding – you can change it as you go along

Finding a mentor

  • 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
  • PPDP
  • 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?

  • Certificates
  • 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

  1. The ability to reflect critically on personal performance and to evaluate service performance
  2. Active commitment to continuing professional development – what do you do after you have learned something? What changes in your professional practice?
  3. The ability to analyse personal and professional development and progression with reference to experiential and developmental activities
  4. 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:

Chartership framework matrix
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…

How I became a librarian and found job satisfaction

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:

September 1996 – June 1999 B. Sc. (Hons) Physiological Sciences, Newcastle University; September 1999 – June 2000 PGCE Secondary Science (Biology), Northumbria University; September 2000 – August 2005 Teaching; September 2005 – August 2006 MA Information & Library Management, Northumbria University; September 2005 – August 2006 Information Officer, Northumbria University Library; August 2006 – November 2007 Assistant Librarian, St Clare’s (Oxford); November 2007 – May 2009 Electronic Resources Senior Assistant, OULS*; May 2009 – March 2010 Deputy Manager of Staff Development, OULS; March 2010 - present Librarian, St Hugh’s College (Oxford)

*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”