I am full of joy to be heading back to Finland this summer!

Flag of Suomi/FinlandFor one week in June 2014, I will be taking part in Helsinki University Library’s International Staff Exchange Week (ISEW) Library programme.  The ISEW programme involves bringing together colleagues from Erasmus partner universities to network, benchmark and share their expertise.

It’s going to be a week of library visits, meetings, presentations, making friends, eating as many pulla as I can, loooooong days… And don’t forget the Moomins!  Judging from feedback from last year’s participants, it’s going to be brilliant.  Here is more info about the 2014 programme, including preliminary timetable.

I’m so thrilled to be chosen, and am hugely looking forward to it.  Just 101 days to go…

For happy memories of my last visit to Suomi, see my posts from the IFLA information literacy conference which took place in Tampere in 2012.

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

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

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

See also: On the road to Chartership

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…