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:
- you can discuss issues and compare procedures and policies with someone who has a different perspective on libraries
- 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.
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.
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: