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Rising Star Award: a winner’s reflections

This year Sam Wiggins, SLA Europe’s president-elect, was recognised as one of SLA’s Rising Stars of 2014 alongside two other young professionals. Sam journeyed out to Vancouver, Canada, to receive his award and also to attend the 2014 conference.

How did it feel to receive the award?

Receiving the award was a great surprise – I initially found out via a telephone call from Kate Arnold – SLA’s president – that I had not only been nominated, but also chosen to receive a Rising Star! It did not feel particularly real at first. I think this is partly due to the title of the award – I don’t feel like a star! It was nice to be recognised within the profession though, especially alongside others who have done some great things so early in their careers.

Once at the conference, the surreal feeling continued. Seeing my face on a billboard outside of the main conference room was particularly odd, as were the many congratulations I received from the other conference attendees. The SLA conference is very different to UK conferences – primarily due to the scale of the event. As a result, receiving the award on stage in front of several thousand people was quite an experience.

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You’ve attended the SLA Annual Conference before – did attending as a Rising Star change the feel that the conference had for you?

I think this year’s conference had a different feel to it anyway due to being in Canada rather than the USA. The two countries have a very different culture, and that fed through to the conference. I really enjoyed this year’s conference, and speaking to a range of people who had recognised me from the award was great. It meant that I was able to meet a lot of people from a wide range of sectors and geographies with whom I might not otherwise have had a conversation were it not for receiving the award.

Has the award helped with your career?

I don’t think it has, and I don’t necessarily think it should. I see the award as a recognition of what I have done so far in my career – not a foretelling of what I will do. Simply having received the award doesn’t affect my volunteer work with SLA or my mentoring, although it is nice to have been recognised! The award was recognised in my workplace though – it served as a useful way to help integrate myself into a new position that I started in March this year, and to help win the trust of those who use the research services.

Are you worried that having received an award so soon in your career, are you likely to burn out?

I certainly hope not! At present, I volunteer in a number of capacities because I enjoy it, and feel energised from my involvement. Volunteering and giving one’s time shouldn’t feel onerous. I believe that as long as I enjoy volunteering and giving my time, then I’m not at risk of burning out.

SLA Europe Board Members

 

SLA Europe, the European Chapter of the SLA, announces its leadership for 2015:

 

President elect:                                    John Coll, National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh)

President:                                              Sam Wiggins, Berwin Leighton Paisner (London)

Past President and nominations:     Don Roll, Alacra (London)

Treasurer:                                              John Latham, (London)

Secretary:                                              Marie Cannon, Norton Rose Fulbright (London)

 

Other board representatives:

 

Awards Chair:                                   Laura Williams, BBC (Salford)

Conference coordinator:                Simon Barron, University of London (London)

DigiComms:                                      Katherine Schopflin, (London)

Events Planning:                              Anneli Carter, Macquarie (London)

Membership:                                    Seema Rampersad, British Library (London)

PR:                                                      David Byrne, British Telecom (Derby)

SLA Board Liaison:                         Bethan Ruddock, MIMAS (Manchester)

Sponsorship:                                    Stephen Phillips, Morgan Stanley (London)

 

Regional Representatives:

 

France:                                      Marie-Madeleine Salmon, Publicis (Paris)

Ireland:                                     Lauren Lawler, A&L Goodbody (Dublin)

Scotland:                                  John Coll, National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh)

USA:                                          Tracy Z. Maleeff, Duane Morris (Philadelphia)

 

Further information on our board members will be available with the launch of our new website in December 2014.

 

I would like to extend my thanks for the continued hard work and support of our board and volunteer committees that delivered the Chapter to the European library and information community in 2014.

 

And, best of luck to the 2015 board as they work to continue that legacy.

 

Stephen Phillips

Nominations Chair and Past President SLA Europe 2014

Member interview with Stephanie Hung-Gretarsson

Stephanie is a Canadian Archives, Library, and Information professional, currently living and working in Stuttgart, Germany. She has kindly agreed to answer some questions around her background, her views on the profession and her volunteering work for SLA.

 

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Can you tell us a bit about your background and how did you first become involved in the information profession?

My background is a bit of a mix – from academic to non-profit/Arts to government to the private sector and currently, I suppose it is back to what you might consider as “non-profit”.  I’m working as a Librarian in a Children’s English Library in Stuttgart, Germany. It is registered as an “eingetragener Verein” which means ‘registered society’, or ‘registered club’. The trajectory of my career path really started out serendipitously. In my second year of undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto in Canada, like any student, I just really wanted a job and some pocket money! I figured finding a job on campus would be a great idea.  I ended up by chance at the university library homepage and I was really lucky because I happened to see the postings that were only up for two weeks, and applied, and went in for an interview and got a job as a Student Library Technician (Now they call it something different, Student Library Assistant, I think) in the East Asian Library.  In a way, that started it all.  It’s funny when I look back on it now because as a teenager in high school, I tried to apply for a job as a Page in the Toronto Public Library system, and I had this one bad experience with a librarian (which now escapes me, I don’t even remember what it was about) that I swore to myself, “I’ll never apply to work here! /I’ll never work in a library!”.  Funny how things turn out :-)

Can you give us examples of where you have worked and in what sort of roles?

As I mentioned, what really put me on the career path that I’m now on, was the Student Library Technician (SLT) job at the university.   I worked there from my second year of university to the end of my graduate studies, and one year after that as a newly minted graduate in Library and Information Studies, which was six years in total.  Although, I should mention that my roles changed from being an SLT to a Graduate Student Library Technician (GSLT) both part-time, to a Senior Access Services Associate and Derived Cataloguer, full-time.

The second year of my graduate studies, I worked part-time on a Digitization project where I co-ordinated the digitization of the materials (books, drawings, newsletters, articles, publications) from liaising with InternetArchive for the scanning, our internal ITS (Information and Technology Services) team at the university library for tips and guidance on how the metadata should be constructed (DublinCore®), our external partner, at Simon Fraser University on the west coast of Canada in British Columbia, and copyright experts within the library community including a Canadian Research Chair on Internet and E-Commerce law.

One summer as a graduate student I also worked as a Library Assistant for Cataloguing at the Art Gallery of Ontario E.P. Taylor Research Library and Archives.  By far, it was the best job I’ve ever had.  I loved the environment because of the collections and secondly, because of the great supervisor that I had.  After I graduated I managed to receive a publishing internship at the University of Toronto Press, Academic Journals division.  For four months I assisted staff in editorial work, proofing and making changes on drafts, proofreading and assisting in marketing strategies.  It was a great experience and I worked with a great bunch of people, some of whom I keep in touch still.

So, after publishing, I was head hunted to work for a provincial government agency that worked in preservation and conservation of natural and cultural heritage, such as monuments or buildings, or protected and significant lands.  During my time as a Records Clerk at the agency, I researched provincial directives, conservation standards and guidelines and ISO publications on how to maintain and manage photographs and audiovisual materials.  I developed a report and made suggestions on how to carry out this process.  I also maintained the day-to-day records management tasks, and assisted in weeding out old records according to the retention schedule.

I was also lucky to gain some work experience in the private sector in the information management area – particularly in metadata management, which was somewhat a continuation or development from my skills in the Digitization Project I had worked on.  My duties in the role of a Digital Asset Management and Merchandise Coordinator, essentially was to ensure the product images were up to date in the database, and that the metadata for each image was standardized and accurate.  I worked on-site, at the client headquarters but I was an employee of a print and publishing firm.

You have volunteered for SLA in the past. Could you tell us about what you did and what you have found to be the benefits of volunteering?

I was involved with the SLA Toronto Chapter back home, and I volunteered with event sign up, promotion and coordination.  I would physically attend the events and welcome the attendees, take down names, give out nametags, mostly administration tasks.  That was quite fun because I would get to not only meet my fellow Information Professionals but also meet the speakers.  The speakers are also part of the SLA community, and they gave really informative and insightful advice for new graduates.  I really appreciate and respect that about the SLA community.  Members share information, are genuinely helpful and dedicate their time to help one another.  I’m currently assisting the Membership Chair for SLA Europe and I’m so happy to be involved, not only to meet and correspond with the SLA Europe community but also learn through others and improve on my own skills and what it means to be an Information Professional.

What excites you more about the profession today?

Big Data!  That’s something buzzing around in all areas of specialization, and lately in the literature, I’ve been hearing that a lot.  That is an exciting area that is growing.  An acquaintance I know of at the moment, is working as a Data Scientist in Silicon Valley, California and he confirms that big companies are looking for people with serious analysis skills, but not just gathering data and analysing it, but actually seeing significant patterns and extracting information from these patterns into applicable knowledge.  I think it would definitely be an area to invest in, and for Information Professionals such as ourselves, it is important to hone and develop skills that would not only provide what employers seek, but to strengthen and move forward our own profession.  There are some great articles in the May/June 2014 issue of Information Outlook on Data Science, and I recommend it for those who haven’t already read it, to do so.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out as an information professional?

As a general starting point… I would say…

 … be open-minded to new (work) experiences.  If an opportunity comes along, and it doesn’t seem half bad, take it and run with it.  Work hard.

… similarly, seek out opportunities.  Cold e-mail companies or people that have similar interests as you, and take a chance.  I’m still working on that myself and so far, I’m happy with how things have turned out and are continuing to turn out for me.

… accept rejection but not defeat.  It’s not meant to be, but never stop trying.  The next thing, just might be the next big thing in your career. Even if it isn’t, you will still learn something from it.

… show up on time.  Volunteer for conferences.  Show up in person, have a good handshake. Leave a good impression.  Be respectful.  Smile.

… be informed, read articles, read literature, not just on libraries or information, but on all area, business, arts, law, be informed and interested in the world.

… always be kind and professional, you will move on from one job to another, but always leave your past employer and colleagues with a good impression of you.  Likewise, if you disliked the job, find a silver lining and appreciate something about the experience.

What are your plans and expectations for the future?

I still have big dreams.  I still one day want to work for UNESCO, or something similar.  In an area that I am interested and passionate about.  My plan is to slowly work towards that.  If there’s something I’ve learned while being in a new country and having to start from scratch, is to “do what you can, with what you’ve got”.  I’ve been learning German for a year now, and am finally comfortable conversing in it, and using it in daily life.  I’m semi-fluent.  I may not know it now, but perhaps I can use it in the future.

 I also expect to be involved with SLA and continue working on future collaborations! :-)

Event review by Katharine Schopflin: Internet Librarian International 2014

Katharine Schopflin has a wealth of experience in library and information management in sectors including broadcasting, government and non-profit.  She has recently joined the Board of SLA Europe as joint Chair of Digital Communications and she has kindly accepted to write about her experience at the ILI Conference that was held in London on 21-22 October. 

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Top takeaways from Internet Librarian International 2014

I’ve always enjoyed Internet Librarian International, when I’ve had the opportunity to attend, not least for the networking opportunities and chance to chat with information professionals from across the sectors. I like to take an open mind with me as, at first glance; the major conference themes can seem less relevant to those of us working in the corporate world. This year, I wasn’t sure I would get much from topics such as digital inclusion, open access and discovery search, yet I still came away with useful insights from unexpected places. I won’t say the quality of presentations was universally top rate. Time limitations, organisational restrictions and speaker inexperience mean that some stopped at ‘this was my project’ before getting to ‘this is what I learned from it’ and ‘this is how you can apply it’. But I left the conference feeling refreshed and inspired. Here are some of the things that I learned:

Think small on technology projects

Jennifer Smith’s talk on the agile approach to technology development was convincing. Having worked in many environments where such projects become hungry beasts, sucking up money and expertise from the organisation the advantage of shorter time-cycles to achieve incremental solutions seems clear. Nobody knows everything they need to before embarking on a project, but agile allows us to learn and apply as we go on. If the money suddenly runs out, some benefits should already have been achieved, a marked contrast to panicky overspends on large projects because ‘we’ve come so far and invested so much’. And agile tries to involve users from the outset, a contrast to the often-resented mighty project teams working ‘over there’ in separate project offices.

Standards and certifications are about the journey not the award

Sarah Wolfenden described Brunel University Library’s work towards achieving the Customer Service Excellence Standard. Although at the time of the presentation they still had not yet achieved it, her description of the process showed how valuable it was. It forced the library to examine how they engaged with users and to offer more opportunities for feedback. They learned as much about staff as they did about students and benefited from the opportunity to articulate problems and address them. Too often we think of applying for certifications as an extra chore, to be avoided if not part of our performance measures. But this talk demonstrated that they could be directly aligned to things that we need to achieve in order to be successful.

Don’t count everything

Ben Showers’ refreshing take on organisational metrics warned us to stop counting the easy things and start measuring what really matters. In the library world we tend to count things such as user numbers and budget spend, rather than the outcomes achieved. Ben emphasised that you shouldn’t measure things unless you are prepared to act on them (unless ordered to by higher authorities) – skills, time and effort should be applied to understanding the implications and working on them. If someone else can do the counting and analysis, or it can be automated, so much the better. He added that we should make as many results open as we can. We should respect users’ privacy, but they may be interested in results too – and we won’t know until we ask.

Get involved with enterprise search

Helen Lippell offered some excellent advice for information professionals about implementing of enterprise search. We can bring our experience to engage with users and persuade them to title their documents properly, but we shouldn’t be tempted to leave the technical side to developers. We are in a position to know our intranet’s content and how it is being used, and should be working with them to decide how searches should be configured, how results should be displayed and how best to get users involved. It isn’t always possible for information professionals to ‘own’ search technologies, but they can make themselves accountable for ensuring that colleagues can find what they’re looking for when they use them.

There was much else on offer at ILI and I’d recommend anyone to look out for opportunities to attend. Volunteering may win you a place and why not think about submitting a paper next year?

Business Information Review: call for editor

 

Call for Editor(s) Business Information Review

Expressions of Interest Welcome

 

home_coverBusiness Information Review, established in 1984, is the only journal devoted entirely to the practice of business information provision. Its content is especially tailored to the needs of business information professionals – whether information managers, librarians, knowledge managers, researchers, analysts,   consultants, print or electronic publishers. Its readers are to be found in the corporate sector, in government agencies and other public institutions, in the not for profit sector, in private consultancy, and in universities and business schools.

Outgoing Editors, Sandra Ward and Val Skelton, are seeking to handover editorship after several years leading the journal forward. A single Editor or two co-Editors (working in a job share) will be considered.

The journal is published four times a year in print and online at bir.sagepub.com/.

Responsibilities of the editorship include:

  • Leading the strategic development of the Journal with the support of the Editorial Board
  • Managing and developing the Editorial Board
  • Actively commissioning content and exercising responsibility for the selection of submitted articles
  • Managing the receipt of submissions, liaising with authors, and editing articles. The Editor/s review papers and are responsible for   content quality and relevance (More information on the journal’s peer review policy can be found here)
  • Tracking how the information world is changing so that the journal continues to be aligned with the needs and interests of readers       and potential readers
  • Liaising with SAGE Publications, ensuring the delivery of copy according to agreed production schedules
  • Responsibility for the journal’s blog. twitter feed and LinkedIn group
  • Representing and promoting the Journal, with the support of the SAGE marketing team

The new editorial position will be available from March/April 2015 to enable an effective handover with the current editors. An editorial remuneration is offered and the Publisher is seeking an initial 3-5 year commitment.

Applications are welcomed from experienced information professionals who are well networked and who have expertise and experience in the provision and management of information, content and knowledge in organisations (both external and internal content). Applicants should be able to demonstrate a current appreciation of the issues that face those dealing with knowledge and information services and the trends influencing these. Both those working in the relevant sectors and those with academic experience are welcome to apply.

SAGE invites expressions of interest by 30th November 2014. Those interested in making an application should send a brief CV and covering letter.

All enquiries and expressions of interest should be directed via email in the first instance to:

 

Miriam Hodge

Associate Editor

Event: Information is Our Business – Why Businesses Need Information Managers, Tuesday 18 November

 

When: November 18 @ 18:00 – 21:00pm

Where: Edinburgh University Main Library, Edinburgh

SLA members: free

Non-members: free

Please register via Eventbrite

 

Information is Our Business: Why Businesses Need Information Managers

Speaker event with Katharine Schopflin

In the modern workplace, many people have to make decisions about where they create, manage and store information. Moreover, they are offered a plethora of information repositories in the form of email inboxes, collaboration spaces, fileshares, document management systems and private storage space. As a result, valuable corporate information assets can be irretrievably lost, while server space is filled up with out of date or useless information.

There are a number of reasons why people do not effectively manage their information assets:

  • They lack a knowledge of the principles of good information management
  • They lack an understanding of the value of information and the risks of losing it
  • They appreciate the value of information but are unwilling to share it

 

In such an environment, how do you work with end-users to capture and utilise high value information?

This talk will consider practical approaches and persuasive arguments for effective information management. It will be of key value to any information professional who works in an organisation which creates as well as acquires information.

Katharine Schopflin has 18 years experience in library and information management in sectors including broadcasting, government and non-profit. She is the editor of ‘A Handbook for Media Librarians’ and ‘A Handbook for Corporate Information Professionals’, which will be published by Facet Publishing in December 2014. She writes and speaks regularly on a range of information issues including knowledge management, professional development and managing media assets. She has recently joined the Board of SLA Europe as joint Chair of Digital Communications and was formerly on the committees of NGLIS (Network of Government Library and Information Specialists) and AUKML (Association of UK Media Librarians). This year she graduated from University College London with a PhD in Library and Information Studies.

 

** The talk will be followed by drinks and nibbles kindly sponsored by SLA Europe which will give attendees an opportunity to network.

 

Any questions? Please contact:

 

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Event: Responsible Business for Information Professionals, Tuesday 18 November

SLA Europe presents a Panel Event on Responsible Business

 

When: November 18 @ 18:00 – 21:00pm

WhereGlasgow Caledonian University – London Campus

SLA members: free

Non-members: £15.00

Please register via Eventbrite

 

How information professionals can support and shape the strategic importance of responsible business

Every major business, government and educational organisation is seeking to ‘do something’ on the issues of responsible business practice, sustainability and environmental care. Sustainability and CSR features in almost every mission statement and strategy document. It has moved from a ‘nice to do’ to a ‘must-do’ issue, demanded by customers, investors and regulators alike. But strategy and intention in this field needs to be driven by verified information and knowledge.

This session brings together three short presentations by: the leading specialist publisher in the field, Greenleaf/GSE Research; a library professional with experience in both commercial and academic organizations; and a practitioner with a unique and engaging story of how her business seeks to ‘do well, by doing good’. These presentations will include time for discussion, Q&A, and networking, alongside drinks and canapés hosted at the unique Glasgow Caledonian University London campus in Spitalfields.

 

PANELLISTS:

John Peters

John Peters is a Director of GSE Research Ltd, based in Leeds, England, publisher of the Sustainable Organisation Library online collection in sustainability and responsible business; and of Greenleaf Publishing, the leading publisher of books and journals in sustainability. He is a Visiting Fellow at Nottingham Trent University, England and Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland. He has previously held visiting academic posts in the UK, UAE, India and Australia.

John worked previously in publishing, consulting and management development in the UK, Canada and Australia. He has founded and run a number of businesses.

He has written, lectured and presented widely on topics including publishing, sustainability, business, management and learning.

 

Heather Marshall

Senior Librarian at Glasgow Caledonian University, Heather is responsible for the academic subject support and liaison services. Promoting and developing the library’s service and content to academic staff, students and researchers. She sits on School Boards and academic committees to develop the service in line with the teaching and research needs of the University.

Heather teaches information literacy skills and helps users navigate the wealth of information available to them.

Before Glasgow Caledonian, Heather worked as a law librarian and for the London School of Economics.

Secretary for the West Branch of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS).

 

Val Lowman

Val has nearly 30 years’ experience of the Construction Industry.

Since 1996 she has created partnerships with the public sector enabling over 18,000 local people with barriers to employment access sustainable construction jobs through employer-led training.

In January 2007, Val founded Be Onsite, a Lend Lease not-for-profit company, to directly employ and train previously long term unemployed local people. Be Onsite consolidates and sustains Lend Lease’s collaborative approach and was awarded charitable status in 2012.

Val is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of Cross Industry Construction Apprenticeships Task Force and sits on the leadership group of the Ministry of Justice’s Employer Forum for Reducing Reoffending.

Val was awarded the OBE in the 2009 New Years Honours List for services to the construction industry and skills training.

 

 

OUR SPONSORS:

GCU London logo

 

 

 

GCU London is a professional postgraduate university campus of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), located in an ultra-modern environment in the heart of London. Situated in Spitalfields, one of London’s most attractive locations, GCU London is in close proximity to the capitals globally recognised financial and fashion industries.

The campus offers a range of MBA and MSc courses, high quality teaching and links with international businesses.

For more information, please visit www.gculondon.ac.uk
gse-logo-world  Greenleaf Logo

 

 

Together, GSE Research and Greenleaf Publishing gather and disseminate research and best practice in the fields of sustainability, CSR, responsible investment, governance and environmental management. We do so via ourSustainable Organization Library (SOL) and Greenleaf Online Library (GOL) collections as well as our printed books and eBooks. We support environmentally sound, socially just, ethical, and sustainable growth.

For further information, please visit www.gseresearch.com

 

Any questions? Please contact:

 

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Call for Nominations: SLA Europe President-Elect 2015

Dear SLA Europe,

 

As Past President and Nominations Chair for SLA Europe, I would like to request nominations for the position of SLA Europe President Elect for 2015.  The role of President Elect is a 3 year commitment; you will be required to stand as Chapter president in 2016 and past president in 2017.  If you would like further information on the role, please contact us at the email below.

 

The Chapter has received one nomination from John Coll (National Library of Scotland), John provided the following biography for his candidacy:

 

John Coll Graduated with a degree in history and politics from University College Dublin and then a post graduate diploma in Librarianship from the College of Librarianship, Aberystwyth.

 

He has over 20 years’ experience in the field of information provision in both the public and private sector.  He has worked in legal and financial institutions, as well as the National Library of Scotland.  He was responsible for setting up a national business information service at NLS and is currently Head of Access at the Library.

 

John is an active participant in SLA Europe, sitting the Events Committee, has presented at the SLA Conference and has been responsible for managing a range of events /talks in Scotland. He is currently the Scottish regional representative on the SLA Europe board.

 

We invite you to provide your nominations for the role of President Elect 2015.  The deadline for submissions in October 31st 2014.

 

In the absence of any other nominations, John Coll shall be considered duly appointed.

 

If you would like to support the work of SLA Europe, you should join one of our committees. Our committees focus on communication, events and conference awards, we also have regional/country based representatives.  Delivering our offering to colleagues in Europe is a great opportunity to extend your experience and broaden your network.

 

If you would to submit a nomination or would like more information, please contact us via

 

Thank you,
Stephen Phillips

SLA Europe Past President 2014

New podcast: interview with president-elect Jill Strand

Jill Strand - President Elect

Jill Strand – President Elect

In this podcast we catch up with president-elect Jill Strand. Dennie Heye talks to Jill about her travels around the USA to visit different member libraries and events. Jill shared what she learned from these visits and how this helps her learn what members are looking for in SLA. To wrap up this podcast interview, Jill also looks forward to the SLA Conference next year – she is excited about what is being offered for different levels of members plus other changes based on member’s feedback to improve the conference.

You can find this podcast on the podcast episode page.

 

 

Member interview with Sarah Wolfenden

SLA Europe member and previous ECCA winner Sarah Wolfenden, currently a Subject Liaison Librarian at Brunel University, kindly takes some time to tell us about her upcoming presentation at Internet Librarian International 2014, her views on the profession and the benefits of becoming a volunteer. Sarah keeps a regular blog at The Wolfenden Report and can be found on Twitter as @SarahWolfenden 

Can you tell us a bit about your background and what sorts of roles you have had?

Sarah WolfendenAfter my undergraduate degree in English, I moved to London where I worked in a variety of retail jobs, including one in a children’s bookstore which was lovely and another selling beauty products which was less so. It was this customer service experience that helped land me my first job in a further education college library. After revelling for a while in no longer having to mop floors past midnight or work over the Christmas period, I decided to look around and see what else I could do. I decided to continue working full-time and completed a Masters in Library and Information Science part-time over two years at University College London.

Immediately after, I worked in another further education college – supporting students completing degrees this time. This role was initially very interesting as I was responsible for creating a satellite site from scratch, which involved training and developing staff and continuously improving the ways we could support the students we had, many of whom had been out of education for a long time. I am now in a university where students can access so much more than those undertaking degrees in colleges and it’s part of my job to help them realise this and to get the most out of them.

You currently volunteer for SLA Europe and CILIP. Can you tell us about what you do and you have found to be the benefits of volunteering?

I started volunteering for CILIP in 2011 when I offered to become the liaison officer for the London and South East region of the Colleges of Further and Higher Education Libraries Committee. This role was varied and provided me with many training opportunities which I was then able to use in my professional life, such as learning how to use social media, presenting, and organising events. After a merger with another group in CILIP, I became the web editor just as they changed their website software – this quickly became another opportunity to learn some new skills! At the same time I also became involved with the London and Information and Knowledge Exchange helping them, primarily, with the social media aspect of their conferences.

I found out about SLA through a CPD23 event on the benefits of professional organisations and promptly started attending their events and webinars. I found them very beneficial as a new professional at the time and was thrilled to win an Early Career Conference Award to attend the SLA annual conference in Chicago. It was after this I joined SLA Europe’s Digital Communications Committee. I would greatly recommend volunteering for anyone who’s considering it; it’s a great way to learn new skills, to find out what people do in other sectors, and to make useful connections.

You will soon be speaking at the ILI conference 2014 – can you give us a sneaky preview of what you will be presenting on?

Oh ok, just a little one then! I will be presenting a case study under ILI’s theme of Measuring Excellence. I’ll be talking about the Customer Service Excellence Standard and how Brunel University London Library have been using the process of completing it to engage with students using a variety of social media and with staff through collaborative development sessions on customer service, hostmanship, and motivation. More can be read about it via this Info Today Europe newsletter.

What excites you most about the profession today?

I think it is now much easier to keep developing professionally which is fantastic – there are webinars, twitter chats (including #SLATalk) and events available on almost any topic, many of which are free. Library and information professionals are a sharing and caring bunch of people and this has been made much easier as many blog and tweet.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out as an information professional?

I have three pieces of advice (actually that’s a lie – I have loads but I’m going to stick to three for the purpose of this interview)

  1. Get on Twitter. It is a fantastic way to keep up to date and stay connected with the strong network of information professionals who reside there.
  2. Apply for conference bursaries. There may be lots of competition and there may be none; however, it is always worth having a go as it could be you who gets it. The ones where you are asked to write it up afterwards are especially worthwhile as it can be a great way of reflecting on what you’ve learned and paying it forward for those who couldn’t attend.
  3. Don’t be scared of steep learning curves. Some of the best opportunities I have received have been in jobs or situations where I have initially thought ‘scary, but has potential’ and generally it has worked out in some way or another.

What are your plans and predictions for 2015?

I have lots! In my day job I have been given some new responsibilities so will be doing my best to fulfil these new duties to the best of my ability. Additionally, I’ve been asked to write a few articles for a couple of library and information journals and to submit some book reviews so I will be continuing with this and with my blog.

On a more personal level, I’ve recently moved out of London so can now have a garden! I will be busy clearing nettles, growing vegetables and finding ways to be as self-sufficient as possible for the foreseeable future. I am also expecting my first baby toward the beginning of 2015 so I will be away from my job for a few months while I take on what I predict will be yet another steep learning curve.

Translation


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