Sunday, 23 November 2014

CILIP Update article

*Be warned – this is quite a self-indulgent blog post, sorry folks*

CILIP Update, July 2014

I first joined CILIP as a student while I was doing an MSc in information and library management. I can’t quite remember the exact year I joined, but it must be about 10 years ago.  Since then, the magazine would routinely drop on my doormat and make its way to my reading pile. Some months I’d devour it, some months I’d quickly scan it, other months I’d hardly open it at all. Despite my ever-changing reading habit, I’ve always had the same secret ambition, and this year I achieved it; to have an article published in the CILIP Update magazine.

I’d been leading a project at work which saw us migrate to a new authentication provider for our off-site resources. My line manager asked if I’d consider writing a brief piece for publication in a newsletter, and I did so during my Easter annual leave. By the time I’d finished, the piece contained 2,000 words and was far too long for inclusion in a short newsletter. I was surprised by how much I’d written, but the project couldn’t be outlined in any less. Pondering what to do with it, I sent it to CILIP Update on the off-chance and they replied in the positive!

I was very aware that the article is quite technical in nature and I didn’t want to bamboozle or bore people. I also didn’t want to make it too sector-specific, either. I purposely didn’t use jargon and tried to incorporate images whenever possible (I found these quite difficult to source considering the focus of the piece). I know technical articles don’t grab everyone’s attention, but I hoped it was of interest to perhaps a few people working on similar projects. 

We underwent intense restructuring at work this summer (which saw almost a 33% decrease in the size of the library team), and this gave me something positive to talk about when I was interviewed for my own job. It has also been an activity boost to my CV, LinkedIn profile and chartership revalidation portfolio. I felt proud showing it to my parents and grandmother – it was nice being able to show them something tangible about my work as a systems librarian. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to contribute to such a magazine, but I’m so glad I took a chance and submitted the piece. I know some people frequently write for publication and it is a standard part of their job, but for me it was a one-off, a biggie. This leads me to consider my library career so far, and there are a few stand-out moments which make me smile:

  • During my school librarian days - winning a borough-wide secondary school book quiz. We competed for five years and I was thrilled when my pupils won in 2010. It was a big boost for the school as a whole, especially as we were classed as Ofsted unsatisfactory and had beaten teams from schools with better Ofsted ratings. It was lovely seeing the library celebrated in staff briefings, school assemblies and the local newspaper. It boosted the pupils’ confidence and I know it was an achievement they will never forget. I remember telling the head teacher it felt like the pinnacle of my career! (I briefly mentioned it in this post.)
  • In 2012 I secured Transversal funding to attend a week-long study visit to Poland. My line manager encouraged me to apply as he had been on a similar trip the year before. I rarely travel abroad and the chance to travel to Europe added a lot to the experience. (I blogged about this here.)
  • This year I was the lucky recipient of the 2014 Alison Northover Bursary, awarded by ARLG. I didn’t think I stood a chance when I applied and was shocked to my core when I won. I used the funds to attend the ARLG 2014 conference – it was the only conference I’ve ever attended and an amazing experience. The award even meant the library cracked a mention in the college principal’s end-of-term address, something which had never happened before! (I must blog properly about it soon!)
  • And finally – of course – having this article published. It came at a particularly useful time as I was required to demonstrate my impact at work as part of the restructuring process. (Is it vain of me to admit I quite liked seeing my name in print?!). A copy of the article can be read here.
There have been negative times during my career too, though I prefer not to dwell on these if possible. I was made redundant from my previous role of school librarian and have since been formally ‘at risk’ of redundancy in my current role too (FE systems librarian). I’ve either been unlucky or this is indicative  of a shrinking profession. Although redundancy can sometimes be beneficial for the candidate, for me it was a dreadful experience I do not wish to repeat. Anyhoo, as I said, I prefer not to dwell on this and instead I’d like to think my future career has some more positive moments in store…

No comments:

Post a Comment