Sunday, 24 July 2011

23 Things for Professional Development: Thing #7

So, what about face-to-face networks then? I'm a member of a couple of professional organisations - the most obvious one being, of course, CILIP.

But perhaps the organisation I engage with most, and I find most useful in my day job, is UKCoRR (the UK COuncil of Research Repositories). That, combined with the RSP (Repositories Support Project) is where the majority of my opportunities for networking come from, along with a lot of training and development opportunities.

I've been able to attend a number of UKCoRR and RSP training events, and I've learnt a lot from other repository managers and speakers at all of them! Sometimes it's just confirmation that I'm not the only one with a specific problem. Other times it's good ideas on how to improve the repository and make it more valuable to our researchers. I'm pretty certain that without these organisations my day job would be a lot tougher. I'd also feel a lot more isolated than I do, as I've met a lot of other repository staff via these events, and that can really help when you're the only person at your university doing your job.

I use CILIP more for professional support with gaining qualifications (I've just submitted my Chartership portfolio), and for the publications which give me the chance to learn about what is happening in many different types of libraries, not just academic ones. The CILIP events I have attended - especially those related to my Chartership - have been really helpful, and a great way to meet people going through the same thing as you.

One other thing I would say about face-to-face networks is not to forget about the institution you work for. I'm lucky in that my institution provides a lot of really helpful training events (on how to give better presentations, how to give good appraisals etc.), and they're well used by the university staff. Which means that at these training events I've met staff from all over the institution - HR managers, people working in finance, academics, people from the Reseach Offices and Academic Registry, even other library staff I've not met before. Some of these contacts have turned out to be invaluable in my day-to-day work; and, because I have a one-track mind, have also been a great place to engage academics and let them know how great our repository is!

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