Today I attended the inaugural New Professionals Day event, held at Pearse Street Library. Aimed at those starting out in the Library and Information profession, the timetable consisted of a number of workshops and presentations intended to support career development.
First up this morning it was ‘Tweet your heart out’ with Michelle Dalton (@mishdalton). Michelle encouraged the reluctant and gave great tips to the more established Twitter fans on getting the most out of Twitter and filtering the information stream. For the overly enthusiastic (who me?), she suggested reducing the number of accounts you follow to just those you have a particular interest in, so as to avoid information-overload. Although we couldn’t knock the Beliebers off the top trends, the volume of Tweets containing the hash tag #npdi2013 throughout the day were testament to the fact that this group of new librarians have taken to Tweeting like ducks to quacking….
David Hughes (@usernameerror) shared with us his professional experiences of using IT skills in a library setting, reminding us that if we have integrated technology into our personal lives then we have transferable skills to apply to our working lives! David emphasised the value that both soft skills and more advanced programming abilities have to employability and deploy-ability, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and marketing of services. The importance of marketing in order to advocate, champion and defend an information service was stressed – and what better way to do this than through the digital realm.
After coffee it was time to think about how we can improve our Networking skills in a workshop led by Daniel Duffy (@dangleroughly). As a relatively inexperienced student, approaching more senior professionals can be a daunting task, especially if you feel you have little to add to a discussion. The best thing to do in this situation is to at least say hello and maybe ask a question. Daniel made the excellent point that the best network we have is in fact the New Professional Network as those at a similar career level to you will often have more relevant information to share about job postings and interview questions than someone who has been in a job for twenty years.
I feel that only Jane Burns (@JMBurns99) could manage to state that we are living through the worst recession ever, yet still maintain a positive attitude and instil confidence in us about the importance of the work we do as Information Professionals. Jane’s talk was absolutely bursting with good advice on the best ways to utilise and promote our skills. She pointed out that often people working in other industries might not realise that what they need is a person with LIS qualifications so monitor the jobs being advertised outside the library world! Taking CPD seriously and adapting to change is essential to advancing your career, and Jane recommends volunteering in an area or contributing to a committee before committing to or investing in a course. We all need to play our part in supporting and promoting the profession and a top way to do this is to recognise and endorse the talent of those around you.
Overall the day was really useful, and it was lovely to meet others who have completed UCD’s MLIS and those studying for the Masters in DBS. Coming together to share our experiences and aspirations, and learning from more experienced members of the profession is really heartening and has given this MLIS student at least much food for thought…
Happy New Professionals Day!