Guest post #5: Conversations in the pub

This post is by Georgina Hardy @georginahardy.  George and I have been friends since we were part of the #oxfordlibrarymafia Oxford Graduate Trainee scheme (2003-4).  She is now an Information Specialist at Aston University and Chartered earlier this year.

It was during the course of  one of our famously long telephone conversations a few weeks ago that I developed the idea of Librarians with Lives, so now you know who to blame…

Her contribution is a brilliant (can you tell she’s my bestest real-life librarian friend in the whole wide world?) take on *actual* social networking – in the pub – our favourite place (apart from Pizza Express)…

Last night, I went out drinking.  I left work shortly after 5.30pm, wandered down to the Wellington pub (winner of many CAMRA awards), ordered myself a delicious pint of Purity’s Pure Gold and found a table.  A few minutes later, my friend arrived.  Being a woman of exceptionally good taste, she ordered Purity’s Pure Gold unprompted by me, and we settled down for a chat.  We hadn’t seen each other for a while, so we were catching up on news and our conversation was wide-ranging, gossiping about friends, houses, toddlers, and, of course, putting the world to rights (transferable parental leave, if anyone in central government is reading).

So what has this got to do with professional development?  Well, it just so happens that this friend of mine is also a librarian.  And naturally we spent a bit of time talking about our jobs.  The result?  I have returned to work today with a few more ideas for things to try in relation to a long-standing and knotty problem at work.  Some of those my friend suggested outright, but others I thought of myself, having had the opportunity to talk around the problem.

As a librarian with a life, I spend a lot of time with friends, both librarians and non-librarians.  Often, those friends will want to talk to me about my job, or what’s happening with the Library of Birmingham (what was wrong with the old one?), or perhaps something that’s happening in their own workplace.  Using these conversations to really think about what you do and why you do it, and importantly, bringing those ideas back to work with you – that’s professional development.

If I remember rightly, this is exactly the way in which this very blog was born.  And if you don’t believe me, next time you go to a conference where an eminent librarian is talking about a great project, listen out for “it all started with a conversation over a glass of wine…”.

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