Thursday, 2 June 2016

A little bit neglected...

OK, so looking at the date of my last post, this blog has been somewhat neglected. I don't think you're meant to leave 13 months between posts. Are you?

I seem to have put more effort into blogging about work whilst on maternity leave than I am now that I've returned to work. There are all the usual excuses of course - I spent 3 months in the US last summer; being on maternity leave got in the way of thinking about actual work; when I finally made it back to work I spent time catching up and fitting back in again; not to mention doing the actual work (rather than writing about it).

However, in this case I think the final excuse is actually true. It being a (relatively) quiet Thursday afternoon, I've had a think through some of my work-related achievements since May 2015. In an attempt to show that I've been doing something, I'm going to list the things I think are most relevant below.
  • My first mentee became Chartered in September 2015
  • I'm currently mentoring three Chartership candidates, all at different stages of their chartership. All of these mentee relationships began last winter (2015), and they range from a cataloguing librarian in an academic library to a school librarian in Bath and a school librarian in Bermuda.
  • In February 2016 I reviewed my action plans for the next 5 years, writing additional 3 and 5 year plans and reflecting on plans I had written 1 and 3 years ago
  • I was a judge, for the third time, for the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition in March 2016
  • I revalidated, for the second time, in May 2016
These are all things I achieved outside of my normal working day - now I've been back at work for a couple of months day-to-day ideas and projects are stating to take over a little. For example, ORCID (Open Research and Contributor ID) integration takes up a big part of my thinking space, as does working collaboratively with other teams such as subject librarians and the Research Office. I'm also back to attending a wider range of training sessions - in the past two months alone I have had PDR (Performance Development Review) refresher training, done online e-learning courses on fire safety and bullying and harassment in the workplace, and attended webinars on bibliometrics and altmetrics.

After that whistle-stop tour of my working life over the past 13 months, I'm  going to try and stay a little more on top of things with this blog, and actually update it when I have something to say, or have done something interesting - and not five months after the fact!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Sometimes it's good to say no...

... Many of us are guilty of saying 'yes' a lot at work; things sound great, we want to help, we can see how amazing something could be with our contribution. Our team (and many others) are incredibly guilty of saying yes at work, ending up with more work than we can ever possibly manage to complete, and then looking like we haven't put in any effort because we're trying to do too much.

Whilst Ned Potter's post 'Five Questions to ask yourself before you say yes' focuses specifically on professional development, in particular giving talks and presentations, the same advice can equally well be applied to other types of professional development and work-based scenarios. Definitely worth a read.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Working whilst on maternity leave

This will be a relatively quick post, because I'm currently at home on maternity leave with a 7-week old baby (and a toddler, just to make life easy for myself). Oddly enough, my brain hasn't really been in work-mode. However, I have just managed to read over and comment on the first draft of a mentee's Chartership evaluative statement. How good it feels to do something that uses my brain again! Especially as it was a pretty good statement, and quite enjoyable to read. Although I'm pretty sure I've gotten a little stupider in the last 3 months...

Whilst adding this activity to the CILIP VLE to go towards my next Revalidation submission (Look! It's like I'm almost on top of things! Some days...), I also realised that I had done something else I could add to the VLE. Back in March I acted as a judge in the first round of the BBC 500 Words Competition. God knows how I managed to achieve that with a week-old baby, but somehow I did. I just hope I did the kids who wrote the stories justice, and wasn't too harsh on them!

I'm really pleased that I'm managing to do some work-related activities whilst I'm on maternity leave, even if it's only little bits here and there.

Friday, 6 February 2015

A (further) quick update: Reviewing my Personal Development Plan

After mulling it over yesterday, I decided that I did want to write a Review of my action plan from 2012. Somehow not doing it just didn't feel quite right. Looking at the action plans from 2012, the obvious one to review was the 3 year action plan covering Jan 2012 - Dec 2014. And so I went ahead and wrote a Review!

I was pleasantly surprised to note that I had basically achieved all the professional competencies listed - including securing a promotion, which at the time seemed like a pretty ambitious goal. I'm pretty sure that was mostly just down to luck (and a bit of badgering on my part for an additional role at a higher level in our team I guess).

The goals I struggled with a little more were the personal attributes - I have totally failed to keep my language skills up-to-date, or acquire a First Aid at Work certificate. These are both things that, for the time being, just aren't top priorities. Work don't currently need an additional First Aider, and in terms of updating my language skills, much as I would love to do this, something at home just had to give!

Finally, there was one last thing that was bothering me. I am aware (and every time I check this blog I become more aware) that I essentially have two personal development plans on the go. The one I've been referring to in this and my previous post, and the one I update in November.

Now, these plans do something quite different - the one I update in November lists specific actions that I want to complete at work (such as running a '23 Things for Research Support' activity work, or implementing a data repository solution), and comes out of the cpd23 course I did back in 2011. The January plan is much more general, stating where I would like to be professionally in 1, 3 our 5 years time (what job I would like to be doing, how good I want to be at certain elements of that job). So I don't think having both is necessarily a bad thing - but I did want to acknowledge that both existed, and when I would review and update them. With that in mind, I've written an updated list of the tasks I will carry out annually for my continuing professional development below (the initial list appeared on my post entitled Recording continuing professional development (CPD) for Revalidation).

1) Write a Review of my 1, 3 or 5 year action plan (depending on what is most appropriate)
2) Update my development plan (my 1-year, 3-year and 5-year action plans, and the broad activities I need to carry out to achieve this)
3) Update my CV

4) Complete the PKSB (Professional Knowledge and Skills Base)
5) Submit Revalidation CPD log and supporting evaluation statement

6) Update my CPD23 Personal Development Plan

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Development plan and CV update

In my last post, I mentioned my awareness of the fact that I hadn't yet managed to update my CV or write a development plan for the coming years, even though I was due to do it in January. Well, in a fit of enthusiasm (or perhaps boredom - I've been on maternity leave for 3 weeks now, and no baby yet...) I finally spent this morning updating everything.

I actually found the task really enjoyable - as long as I'm in the right frame of mind, I find thinking about my future career goals quite aspirational. It also reminds me that, for the most part, I love what I do!

I began by writing a personal development plan (or PDP) stating what I would like to achieve generally. This included things like increasing my understanding of research support, improving my staff management skills and seeing one of my Chartership mentees successfully Charter. For each goal, I wrote two or three ways in which I hoped to achieve it. All of this is pretty similar to the performance and development review (PDR) I do at work every year, which I could use. However, I like to make this one a bit more personal and include things that I might, sometimes, choose not to mention at work!

Once I had written the PDP I wrote a basic 1-year, 3-year and 5-year action plan. The 1-year plan is a little odd this year because I know I'll be on maternity leave, so the list is relatively short. However, it doesn't mean I can't do things like keep in touch with my team at work and continue to mentor Chartership candidates. From past experience I know that I want to maintain an awareness of what is happening at work and in my general area of expertise - I really missed having so few work links for a full year last time, and don't want to repeat that experience. But  my personal situation does mean that, in contrast to previous years, my 3-year and 5-year plans are more in-depth.

The next two tasks were writing a Personal Statement and updating my CV. These two took a bit of work, as my job changed in November, so there was a fair bit to say and update. But it is great to have an up-to-date CV, so I know that, if I need it (not that I have any plans to swap jobs in the near future), it's there and ready to go!

Finally, I even put a little bit of thought into what will need updating next year. I didn't bother to write a review of my previous action plans this year because they were so out-of-date (I will admit that the last time I wrote an action plan was January 2012, when my job was very different. It has taken me a couple of years to get used to life with children, and find time for things like this). However, I plan to write a review next year. As I have also changed the system I use for recording my continuing professional development since revalidating, I will start to include my training logs from January 2015 (when I have some)!

All this did take a while to put together (about 3 hours in total), but I really believe that it is worth the time if you can find a spare morning or afternoon. It really does give you some focus, and it's a great way to figure out what YOU want to achieve in the next few years (rather than your employer/ your husband/ your dog informing you). The great thing is that it's personal to you, so if you don't achieve it or change your mind, it doesn't matter! And even if all you do is update your CV, how much less work is that if/ when you apply for a new job?

Friday, 30 January 2015

Recording continuing professional development (CPD) progress

Back in October 2014 I wrote a post detailing how I would record my continuing professional development (CPD) in preparation for submitting my next Revalidation application in the autumn of 2015.

This follow-up post aims to reflect on how well that is going.

Firstly, having set up an iDoneThis account has really helped - those weekly Friday e-mail reminders to record any CPD done that week have forced me to spend some time (usually no more than half an hour on a Friday afternoon) looking back at what CPD I've done over the past week, recording it in a Word document and then e-mailing it to my iDoneThis account. In all honesty I don't really need to add it to the iDoneThis account - it's the e-mail from them that is needed to prompt me to write the thing in the first place. The Word document is clearer and easier to refer to, which is why I continue to use that. [NB: Having said all that, I've just discovered that I failed to transfer the file with my CPD activities from my work PC to my home PC. Being able to refer to iDoneThis on-line to check what CPD I have undertaken in the past few months was actually really helpful. So perhaps the extra e-mail is worth it after all].

I have also managed to, once a month, go through the activities I've listed weekly and add them to the CILIP VLE. This is up-to-date as of the end of December 2014, which I think is pretty impressive given that Christmas got in the way, and I headed off on maternity leave in mid January! I've managed to list between 2 and 6 activities per month since Sept 2014, when I began recording CPD activities for my next Revalidation. This is likely to peter out over the next few months (what with me now being on maternity leave), but I'm hopeful I can add a few activities to the list - like (hopefully) helping my first Chartership candidate to finally Charter!

The things I haven't done are those that I've suggested I'll do annually. I'm fully aware that about now I should be updating my CV and development plan for the coming years, and it is on the to-do-list, but quite honestly, it's not at the top. If I get to it before the imminent arrival of a certain somebody, great. If not, it will have to wait. I'm being pragmatic here because my to-do-list is quite long (if decreasing)!

Luckily, completing the PKSB (Professional Knowledge and Skills Base) and submitting my Revalidation CPD log are September activities, so I've got a while before I have to worry about them too much. Hopefully by then life will have settled into enough of a routine so that I feel able to do both! If nothing else, I am keen to at least have submitted my Revalidation log - I think getting into a habit of doing it annually can only be a good thing.

PS Acronym reminder time:

CILIP: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
CPD: Continuing Professional Development
PKSB: Professional Knowledge and Skills Base
VLE: Virtual Learning Environment

Sunday, 30 November 2014

2014 Personal development plan update

Back in November 2013 (I can’t believe it was a year ago now, but it was), I reviewed my PDP (Personal Development Plan) to ensure that it was up-to-date. Well, in the last year things have moved on, and the plan needed reviewing again. My first job was to review the 2013 plan and see what I had (or hadn't achieved):

Of the eight goals on the list, I’ve fully achieved five of them, and partially achieved three. The five I’ve fully achieved are listed below:

1) Prepare an updated staff development hour session on open access, research data management the repository
I prepared this with my line manager in preparation for a session in May 2014. Whilst I wasn’t able to help run the May 2014 session, we updated it again for Open Access Week in October 2014, and this session I did run. I was able to learn more about research data management, learn how the newest version (version 5) of Turning Point works, and gain confidence in my ability to both present and discuss open access and research data management in detail with my colleagues.

2) Determine the best referencing managing software to store and organise my references (assess Zotero, Mendeley and RefWorks)
Not longer after I wrote my last PDP, I investigated a range of reference manager tools, and came to the conclusion that RefWorks was my preferred tool. I have been using RefWorks since, although admittedly somewhat sporadically…

3) Understand more about the new CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals) rules and regulations
Reading the new CILIP website, talking to colleagues and attending an online training event have all enabled me to understand the new CILIP rules and regulations in relation to both Chartership and Revalidation. You can see the proof of this in goals four and five…

4) Become a CILIP mentor with 1 or mentees
As of January 2014, I have been a CILIP mentor. I am currently mentoring two Chartership candidates, and hope that at least one of them will successfully Charter in the next six months.

5) Register for Revalidation
I have not just registered for Revalidation, but actually successfully Revalidated (as of November 2014). I’ve written more about my Revalidation experience (albeit before I discovered I was successful) at

And the three goals I’ve been a little less successful with:

1) Keeping my cpd23 blog up-to-date
I wasn’t doing too badly with keeping this blog up-to-date. I was trying to write at least one post a month and, on the whole, I was succeeding. Or at least until August of this year I was. Since then I’ve only written one post (in October). This has largely been due to the nature of what’s been happening at work and in my personal life (more about that in a minute).

2) Engaging more with Twitter
I have actually been using Twitter more, but primarily for keeping up-to-date. I read a lot of other people’s post, and have begun to tweet and re-tweet more often – but certainly not once a week. It’s more like once a month on average. Some weeks I go mad and tweet four or five things; other weeks I’m deadly silent.

3) Learning more about research data management
I’ve certainly learnt a fair amount about research data management, both through working with it more closely on a day-to-day basis at work, and through a range of reading I’ve done (for example, reading Graham Pryor’s book Managing Research Data). I’ve also begun the RDMRose training module, but I’m barely half way through. And whilst I have found some other training materials, I haven’t had the time to work through any of them.

So, what next? Well, there are a couple of things affecting what now appears on my updated PDP. Firstly, I have a new job. I’m still working in the same team, but I’m now Research and open Access Librarian, rather than Research Repository Support Librarian (better know as the Repository Manager). Basically it’s a promotion with our Library Research Support Team. So my responsibilities have changed a little - I now have more of a focus on research data and open access generally, and less of an exclusive focus on the research repository.

Secondly, I’m due to go on maternity leave again in January 2015. So whilst there are plenty of things I’d like to do in the next 12 months, I know I need to be fairly realistic about what I’ll actually be able to achieve. Therefore, there are only six things on my PDP this time around – most with timescales somewhere between six and fourteen months away. In some cases, I’m also relying on partnerships with others to achieve the final goal. For example, one goal is to determine how the HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) OA (Open Access) policy affects our current repository workflows, and update these accordingly. Whilst I can advise on our current workflows and whether or not the policy means they need changing, I’m unlikely to be in a position where I can oversee any changes.

I'll aim to come back and review the PDP on this blog next November at the latest - and write related posts about specific goals in the mean time...