Learning Log 93 – CILIP North West Study Day 2018

Number: 93

Significant Experience: I attended (and full disclosure hosted) CILIP North West’s Member Network Study Day: The Next Chapter: Growing your Career in Libraries.

What Happened?:  Due to weather issues, we were a little light on numbers and one presentation down but we had speakers looking at career paths and how CILIP can support your progression. Helen Kiely has produced a very excellent summary of the day and key themes, so I am going to focus on the presentation that most stuck out to me was Michelle Madden’s on her career and non-traditional career progression. I would strongly recommend catching Michelle speaking about her career path and for CILIP NW – (her presentation can be found here CILIP Log in required), especially about her perspective on key skills and characteristics

So What?: Michelle’s discussion of her career was fascinating, and I found many parallels to my own (though not as outstanding as Michelle’s!) in terms of non-traditional development and working beyond a traditional setting. In her presentation Michelle mentioned ‘luck’ numerous opportunities though I would politely disagree and frame it as bravery for taking new opportunities coupled with a love of learning! The key messages I took from Michelle were:

Doing what you love (and making it work)

The most important message I took was the importance of finding something you love doing. Having a strengths based career approach is not a given, and I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunities to follow this path like Michelle. I think this has breed passion in what I do, which is visible to others and can often serve as a motivator.

Progression Paths

Many of us have been on the receiving end of the Peter Principle – having a manager promoted beyond their ability due to what they *were* good at, rather than what they *are* good at. I suspect many of us also worry about becoming Peter (if we get the chance of course).

Should career progression be linked to increased responsibility, especially those of becoming a line manager?  Not everyone is suited to become a line manager, and it was refreshing to see development around excelling at a particular set of skills (not networking) and even if it is not always vertical progression it is good to see opportunities there.

That is not to say I would rule out a managerial position in the future. Having being a library manager in the past, my line management skills (or lack of perhaps) have weighed heavy on my career choices after that. It took a while to reflect on the fact I have strengths as a line manager – the ability to develop people who wanted to develop and that I should not hang my whole experience on my failures, without resolving my self of blame for the failure – especially if the failure has proved to be unmanageable elsewhere. An important lesson from my time as a  manager is that there are times that it is equally important to allow people to fail for the longer term benefit as it is to give people platforms to succeed.

Be the ‘Evidence Expert’ 

Knowledge was one of Michelle’s key skills. Something I have shouted from the roof tops is for librarians, especially librarians who may be in non-traditional settings such as embedded within a team or as part of an outreach offer, is the need for us to sell ourselves as the ‘evidence experts’ within that setting. Often we as a sector suffer from impostor syndrome and are afraid to stick our hand up, but something I have learnt both from personal experience and from the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme is that we need to be our biggest advocate – especially away from a traditional setting. We need to be able to sell people on what we do, why it matters to them and their work, and why we should be doing it.

Now What?: I think there is scope to examine career progression for talented Library and Information professionals who do not wish to manage to progress and succeed. I have joined the CILIP Leaders Network to see what resource is available on this beyond the walls of LKS and I may speak to a few colleagues who are in a similar situation to see what we can do.

When & Where?: 1st March 2018



Learning Log 71- CILIP Conference 2017 Attendance

Number: 71

Significant Experience: I attended my first ever CILIP Conference that was held in Manchester

What Happened?: I was very lucky that my organisation agreed to fund me a place at the CILIP Conference that was happening just down the road in Manchester. I attended a wide variety of presentations, from the engaging key notes to more practical information management sessions.

So What?: This was a really good couple of days. I got the opportunity to strengthen my networking skills. I re-enforced some established knowledge in terms of information management and impact and developed a wider understanding of the challenges and opportunities affecting the wider library sector – particularly Public Libraries.

Now What?: Although there was nothing directly relevant to my day to day role that I can take back, I have learnt so much about the wider profession, and I am going to reflect on that and see how it can impact my role as CILIP North West Member Network Chair.

When & Where?: 5th & 6th July, Manchester


Learning Log 58 – PKSB for New Role

Date: 18th May 2017

May 2017 PKSB Full Report.

Number: 58

Significant Experience: I produced my Professional Skills and Knowledge Base (PKSB) for my new role

What Happened?: After the first week or so in my new role, I realised that the PKSB I had produced in March 2017 was not fit for purpose, and for both my new role and for Fellowship, the most sensible approach would be to re-do my PKSB as this would also provide a baseline for my new management team

So What?: I found this a really useful exercise, as in only 2 months, that had been a significant change in my professional development needs. Reflecting back on my March 2017 version, it included areas that were not relevant to the role, but had been previously and in which I was not confident. This new one is purely about me as a professional in 2017 and is about developing me, not an idolized version (March 2016 version) or what righting past wrongs (March 2017 version). I also feel that I will have more support beyond ‘time’ to develop professionally.

Now What?: I shall use this document to form the basis of my professional development in the upcoming months, to help me become better in my role and more effectively support my end users.

When & Where?: Home, May 2017


Private: Learning Log 55 – Public Health Bolton Skills Audit

Date: 18th May 2017

Number: 55

Significant Experience: Creating and undertaking

What Happened?: I have summarized the activity here

So What?:  I found this to be very interesting and challenging piece of work to produce. It was nice to effectively transfer the skills I had developed producing the Knowledge for Healthcare Development Needs Analysis into a Public Health setting. I produced a good quality piece of work that I am proud of. However, despite it being undertaken successfully, the project itself was never fully realized within Public Health as after a change in the power structure within the team, appetite for it quickly died as new senior management already had development needs in place.

There were also issues during the creation with staff input, as with being an internal project, there was a lot of preconceived ideas and internal politics that impacted the quality of the project.

Now What?:  Now, when next working on such a wide piece of work I shall ensure that I have complete senior management buy-in to assure that I do not end up wasting several months of work due to power issues between members of staff within senior positions and to avoid professional disappointment.

When & Where?: Office Based – September 16 – March 17

Learning Log 53 – Fellowship Meeting 3 #Fellowshipfive

Date: 25th April 2017

Number: 53

Significant Experience: The 3rd meet up on the fellowship working group the #fellowship 5 (aka rising stars)

What Happened?: Not going to discuss action learning set but following that update and new goal setting in a roundtable discussion, then a focus on a couple of individuals CV’s

So What?: This approach is really working for me. It gives me clarity in a time that my brain is scrambled trying to get everything done before I change roles. The group is well-rounded and different enough to offer a variety of perspectives and experiences that enhance all aspects of discussion from concepts of good and evil to commuting options to myers-briggs in the Star Wars Universe! But the aspect I would like to highlight is the roundtable feedback on previous goals and setting of new ones. I think this aspect of the session blossomed today, becoming a min-hot bed of fellowship innovation and best practice. I have picked up lots of different tips and approaches on what has worked (and what hasn’t) and why people have approached a problem in a certain way or the order they have been tackled. I have so many thoughts and opportunities that I want to tackle all at the same time!

Now What?: I have decided on a start point for my ‘fellowship journey’ – March 11th 2016 – Day 1 of KfH Leadership Programme, potentially finishing 6 months into my role. This is  not a complete journey but the start of this new chapter in my life. I have 4 main goals for the next meet-up (Group themes from PKSB,find & upload previous PKSB, Annotate previous JD, Update CV). When I complete these I shall have a solid framework for my Fellowship portfolio.

When & Where?: Manchester, 25th April 2017

Learning Log 56: CILIP North West Member Network Study Day & AGM


Date: 23rd March 2017

Number: 46

Significant Experience: I hosted the member network study day & AGM for CILIP NW

What Happened?: The full event agenda is here

So What?: This is probably my favourite ‘library’ day of the year. It is a fantastic opportunity to find out what other services and library sectors are doing. It was really eye-opening on both a local best practice and national scale and this year covered areas that I had not considered ‘library’ before -such as independent publishing and enabling authoring in children through a specialist library service. I was rubbish at the AGM section though!

Now What?: This was incredibly impactful for me. I am going to take what Maria Grant discussed in her presentation and  be on the pathway to academic publication by March 2018.

When & Where: 7th March 2017, Anthony Burgess Foundation

Learning Log 48 – Creating ‘Tasks I Finished’ Section in my Bullet Journal

Date: 13th March 2017

Number: 48

Significant Experience: Creating an ongoing list within my Bullet Journal – ‘ Tasks I Finished’

What Happened?: Created a list of tasks I had finished/completed

So What?: Due to the nature of my work, some tasks are quite cyclical (for example a daily blog and a monthly newsletter) and when viewed upon through a negative lens (which I can do when my mood is low) it may seem that I am not achieveing much. To combat this, I decided to create a section in my monthly bullet journal sections dedicated to things that I had finished. This has been helpful because whilst crossing out something in a list is satisfying, I have relasied that writing it down adds a floursih to the finished task and is a good tool to reflect on quick wins and larger projects that our broken down.

Now What?: I shall continue to add items to my ‘tasks I finished’ list as it helps with both my confidence that I am supporting my organisation which improves my effectiveness and wellbeing.

When & Where?: Ongoing, my beautiful bullet journal.