Would like to meet at #cilipconf18

The post is aimed primarily at other attendees of the CILIP Conference 2018*. There will be lots of people at the conference and I’d like to increase my chances of finding people who I can have really useful conversations with – and knowing what to talk to them about. A job title and employer often don’t give you a huge amount to go on. So here’s a bit more about me and why you might be interested in speaking to me, as well as some other things I’d be particularly interested in talking to people about. Comment here or tweet me (@library_lizzie) if you’d to meet up!

If you’re coming to the CILIP Conference I’d encourage you to write your own ‘Would like to meet’ too.

My role

Officially my title is Leventis Library Manager and I’m employed by a company called CCI Services Ltd. From this, you probably wouldn’t guess that I am a solo information professional running a small workplace library for a collaboration of 10 organisations – 9 biodiversity conservation organisations and the University of Cambridge – called the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. I also run a training programme, facilitate access for the whole collaboration to library and training resources from each of the collaborating organisations, and provide advice on various topics from copyright and reference management, to web tools and research data management.

You can find out more on my LinkedIn profile.

Reasons you might find me interesting

I have experience of:
  • Merging libraries (from 4 partner organisations to create a library for a collaboration)
  • Moving a library into a new building (well, it was refurbished rather than new, but it was a very extensive refurbishment)
  • Running a library & information service for multiple organisations
  • Supporting use of web-based technologies & apps as a librarian / information professional
  • Science librarianship
  • Volunteer recruitment and management
  • Solo librarianship
  • Entering the LIS profession from a science background
Projects in progress:
  • Developing a training programme (in a workplace setting)
  • Setting up / managing digital display screens to share information
  • Supporting research data management
  • Setting up a Knowledge, Information and Data Management special interest group to facilitate discussions with colleagues in similar roles across the collaboration
(Potential) projects on my horizon:
  • Improving knowledge exchange within the collaboration
  • Developing resources/communications for new starters to introduce them to the collaboration and the central collaboration-wide team (not limited to the library & information service).
  • Digitising small quantities of our serial collection, currently unavailable online

I’d like to meet …

I’m particularly interested in chatting to anyone with experience in:

  • Moving into knowledge management from librarianship
  • Libraries / information services in charities, NGOs, other third sector organisations
  • Shared libraries / information services (serving more than one organisation)
  • Anything on my Projects in progress or (Potential) projects on my horizon lists above

*If you’re not going to the CILIP Conference, I’d still be very happy to hear from you on any of these topics! Comment or tweet me to get in touch.



Thing 22: Volunteering to gain experience

This post was written for 23 Things for Professional Development, Thing 22.

Again, I’ve got behind with cpd23 but this week’s thing is really relevant to me at the moment so I’m going out of order to write about it now.  I’ve just started a full time Library and Information Studies MA and one of the things I want to do alongside the course is gain some experience of both different library sectors and practical skills.  My aim is twofold: to help me decide exactly what sort of job I want to get at the end of my masters and to give me experience which will help me get that job.

Although a certain amount of insight can be gained by library visits and talking to people doing a particular job or working in a certain sector, there is no substitute for actually getting stuck in and doing something. There may be some opportunities to gain this experience through paid work, but I’m expecting to have to do some unpaid work.  The course I’m on actually includes a two week work placement.

I’m quite happy to undertake unpaid work to develop new skills or gain an insight into a sector I am new. Importantly, I’m also in the lucky situation of being able to afford to do so as I managed to secure funding for my MA. As the number of funded places for masters courses has decreased and the fees for the courses has decreased, many students are going to need to work longer hours in whatever part time work they can get and will find it hard to find time for unpaid work (except possibly where this is part of the course). If entry level professional posts require experience that it is (usually/often) only possible to gain through volunteering, this is a problem.

Before starting my graduate traineeship I completed two short periods (2 1/2 and 3 weeks) of unpaid work experience in libraries. The first gave me an overview of both libraries and archives and helped me decide that I wanted to follow a career in librarianship, while the second gave me a chance to try my hand at a large number of tasks done by the librarian of a small academic library ranging from shelving to cataloguing, withdrawing stock to website content management. I learnt a lot from both experiences and had fun while doing them.  So, as far as I’m concerned, volunteering to gain experience is a good thing as long as you make sure that you are actually gaining experience.  Something I haven’t always done, but that is important to avoid misunderstandings and to make sure the work is mutually beneficial is to set expectations and objectives on both sides before any commitment is made.