This is our first (of, hopefully, many) guest post on Librarians with Lives and I’m very pleased to say that it comes from Bethan Ruddock @bethanar on Twitter and library blogger extraordinaire – she of recently Chartered, Mimas, recently honoured by the SLA, Librarian Crowd fame and a rather marvellous example of ‘our’ kind, who was pressganged offered to write a piece for me. Here it is and I think it’s brilliant We would both love your thoughts on it…
So, get me on Twitter of an evening after a glass of wine and I’ll agree to anything! Such as writing a blog post for this ace new blog. I really liked the ‘no more than 15 mins on a post’ rule – that’s something I can fit into my overcrowded days!
But what to write about? I asked Jo, and got the response ‘anything with a prof dev/ revalidation slant really’ and so, me being me, I’ve taken inspiration from the tweet directly below that in my @ replies – from SimonXIX in response to a rather messy (in many ways) thread that had been going about sticky toffee pudding and celery. Don’t ask. It said: ‘Perhaps suicide is unprofessional. Discuss’
This got me thinking: what is professional suicide? Is it doing something hideously, horrendously unprofessional – insulting members of the audience from the stage at a conference? Being sued by the music industry for file-sharing? Going on a rampage through the library, destroying books and computers and traumatising users?
Or is it something more insidious? Rather than going out with a bang, perhaps it’s a gradual death, a slow wasting-away, a gentle decline. Perhaps professional death starts where professional growth ends.
We’re constantly told that by not eating properly and not doing enough exercise, we’re gradually killing ourselves with neglect. I’d say the same is true of our careers. Professional suicide comes not so much from doing anything wrong, but from failing to do the right things, failing to commit to continuing your professional development. And just like diet and exercise, we need to find that small window of time to cram it into our busy day.
So, 15 minutes of CPD a day then, to keep your career healthy, happy, and active? Sounds eminently achievable. And you don’t have to do anything spectacular in those 15 minutes – think gentle stretching rather than full-on sprint. Spend 5 minutes reading a blog post, and then 10 minutes thinking about it while you’re doing the washing up, or waiting for a bus. Scribble down a to-do list with some long-term goals. Learn a fact about the information profession, your workplace, or your colleagues that you didn’t know before.
Keep stretching. Keep growing. Keep your career alive.
Other suggestions for 15 minute CPD fixes? Comments please!
Ok, so the CBA isn’t stricty true. Maybe CPD for the timestretched is more accurate?
One of the things I’d really like to do on this blog in share ideas and tips for doing quick, easy and cheap (preferably free) CPD activities.
Using Twitter is a no-brainer. Making friends with CPD-obsessed peers and colleagues so that you can steal borrow their notes from courses and conferences is another. It’s the equivalent of copying their homework. Following blogs (and having a good blog reader) is another must because you can dip in and out.
What else can I do? What else do you do to keep up your CPD?
*insert tongue in cheek disclaimer here*
- There are a lot of cat-owning librarians
- Librarians use the word ‘crafting’ as a verb
- Librarians like food: mainly cake, cheese and chocolate
- Librarians can be sarcastic to the point of being lemonfaced
- Librarians believe they have the best job in the word
- There’s lots of frustration at the inability of outsiders to understand the profession and what being a librarian entails
- Librarians will rip their own arm off and eat it to win a place at a conference and/or a free lunch
- Librarians could actually describe themselves more accurately as IT consultants, if they so wished
- Librarians are early adopters of new technology – I’m willing to bet that ipad and iphone ownership is pretty high among my professional colleagues.
- Librarians like blogs. They also like publicly slagging off blogs that they don’t like.
My goodness – the library Twitterati are a scary bunch aren’t they? So keen! So dedicated! So much time on their hands! How do they manage it? I’m genuinely jealous.
I joined Twitter in February 2009 at the height of ‘Oooh, what’s Twitter? I’ll join, write a Tweet that says ‘How does this work then?’, start following Stephen Fry and then forget my password and subsequently claim that I don’t ‘Get’ Twitter and that it’s for geeks’ mania. Initially, I just followed a few C-List celebrities (and Stephen Fry) and a few of my friends.
Then I went to Umbrella that July and understood why Twitter was so important. Despite the confusion over the official hashtag (#cilipumbrella09 was stupidly long – I preferred #umb09) I had an epiphany. Suddenly I had a way of connecting with my professional peers that I was sadly lacking at work. I’m a solo librarian and run a remote library and information service so have to find other avenues for interaction. Twitter provides a partial solution to that.
However, the library lot on Twitter are incredibly intimidating – in the nicest possible way of course. Not only do they tweet (and blog) constantly, they are also absolutely up to speed with every single element of professional development and they write incredibly eloquently about it. They happily exchange witty banter with not only their peers but the great and the good of the library world. They also win awards and have not only a national, but an international professional presence.
It reminds me of being at school. In history and English I was the annoying know it all at the front of the class, constantly with my hand up screaming I KNOW! I KNOW! In maths and science lessons I was the one at the back writing out the lyrics to Pulp songs in my exercise book. Twitter puts me somewhere in the middle. I know stuff but I don’t know enough library people on Twitter to make a meaningful noise about it. I occasionally Tweet something vaguely professional, generally about my job (or the frustrations therein) but I simply can’t compete with people that read reports, read and comment on loads of blogs (in my mind there’s a massive difference between skimming a blog and reading it in enough depth to comment intelligently on it) and tweet from their beds morning and night.
I had a very reassuring chat with a fellow librarian and occasional Twitter user last week which reassured me that I wasn’t alone in feeling like the wallflower in the corner watching everyone else dance while I pick my nose. I’m fortunate enough to be watching the dedicated hardcore, the super-keen, the future CILIP Presidents and committee members fight it out for supremacy in 140 character instalments.
I may not be part of the Librarian Crowd but observing their mating habits will make me a more informed professional.