Thursday, 3 September 2015

Evolving CPD needs

Attendees at #hugsm15. Image by @HeritageUsers
Back in June I attended the Heritage User Group (HUG) meeting. These meetings are twice-yearly - this year’s Winter Meeting was held in March and the Summer Meeting held in June. I started attending meetings in 2011 and haven’t missed one until this year. (Previous HUG blog posts are here.) Due to changing jobs, I was unable to attend the March meeting. I was really disappointed by this and was glad to attend the next meeting in June.

Looking back, I can see that over the years the meetings have been of benefit to me in various ways. When I first started using Heritage the meetings were an incredibly useful source of information on how to use the software. I was thirsty for knowledge and the HUG meetings satisfied this need. Over the years, my knowledge of the software increased considerably and as a result my development needs changed also. Last year, I presented at a number of external events for the first time, one of which was a HUG meeting. I felt confident enough to deliver presentations exploring Heritage usage. By accepting the opportunity to present at HUG, the meeting met my development needs but in a slightly different way to how it usually did. I really enjoyed presenting and would like to continue doing this on occasions.

Now, in my new job, I find my development needs have changed again. I have left the FE sector and now work as a solo librarian in the HE sector. I am the librarian in a business school library at a small university branch campus in the Midlands. Being a solo worker comes with different opportunities and challenges, as well as different development needs. As ever, the presentations at the HUG meeting were useful, and it was a good opportunity to learn about software developments at IS Oxford, yet I did not find these the most valuable parts of the day. For me, the rare opportunity of spending a day with other library staff was invaluable.

I am happy to work alone, but do miss professional conversations with other library staff. There are two other library staff at the university branch campus in London and these are the library colleagues I work most closely with. We discuss issues via the phone and email as and when needed, but I have noticed I miss interacting with other library staff in person. The rare chance to do this is what made the HUG meeting so valuable for me, and I enjoyed this element of it immensely.

Since starting my new role, my CPD activities have shifted. Physical attendance at events is not as simple as it was in my previous employments, as it will mean arranging cover for the library while I am away. Therefore, I have had to alter the type of CPD activities I engage with. I now partake in online discussions (via Twitter, for example) more than I used to. (Perhaps HUG could facilitate a monthly Twitter chat?) I also watch webinars more often; I tend to watch recordings rather than live events, as this can be done during quiet periods. Learning takes place in many forms and often arises from spontaneous conversations throughout the course of the day. This is what I miss, and therefore events such as the HUG meetings have taken on a new significance for me. I may not attend events in person very often, but on the rare occasions I do, I get far more out of them than before.

Good ol’ HUG. Whatever my development needs, HUG meets ‘em!

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