80 New Professionals Walk Into a Bar…

04 Oct

Actually, they weren’t ALL New Professionals, maybe 10% of them had never worked in libraries at all; plus it wasn’t a bar, it was CILIP HQ, although later, a lot of them did go to a bar….

Friday saw the first of the New Professionals Information Days for this year (to read about how they came about, check out this earlier post) and I had a great time; everyone else seemed to do so, too. Kathy Ennis of CILIP’s Membership Support Unit put together a little organising committee to plan the day, which I loved being part of. We tried to plan a unique day and one that improved on the previous years’ Graduate Days and I think it worked – I liked the structure, I thought the content was useful, and most of all I liked the combination of speakers. We tried to ensure that New Professionals ran the workshops, but the keynotes were from inspirational leaders in the profession. The result was a day that, hopefully, wasn’t like any other library event this year – and I’m certain you won’t find another programme that good without paying considerably more for entry than nothing at all, which is what Friday’s event cost the delegates…

I really enjoyed Lex Rigby (link below) and Katie Fraser‘s presentations (I couldn’t see any more because in a late change I ended up doing a session myself, which I wasn’t looking forward to but went fine I think) and I loved the keynote presentations from Phil Bradley and Maxine Miller, which I thought dove-tailed nicely. It was exhilerating stuff! Highlights for me included:

  • Phil saying “all bets are off”
  • Phil saying “this is the most exciting time EVER to be a librarian”
  • Phil saying “don’t assume people know more than you – at least don’t take it on trust. If someone says ‘I’ved worked in this industry for 20 years’ they may just have worked the same year 20 times…” (I didn’t take notes at the time so aplogies Phil if those aren’t exactly right)
  • Maxine giving a talk without notes which was, she later told us, completely different from what she had planned! I don’t want to make too much of her ethnicity as the awesomeness of her talk had nothing to do with that, but it was so nice to see a non-white face presenting at a library conference! Also to be in charge of the Tate’s library is a pretty cool job, too…
  • Attempting to use Muffins as a bribe to get the audience talking, and finding the one audience member who was so allergic to chocolate she couldn’t even have the spiced apple one because it had been in the same bag.. (thanks for speaking up anyway though!)
  • Using my iPhone for my notes rather than a piece of paper – I only did that because of #epicprinterfail but it actually worked quite well
  • Meeting new CILIP CEO Annie Mauger who popped in at lunch time – impressive considering it was her first full day in the job!
  • Lots of people saying how useful they were finding the day

After the event there was a LISNPN meet-up in the pub around the corner from CILIP. There were many reasons that I loved this – getting to meet people properly and get to know them was one, seeing information professionals coming in out of the rain, not really knowing anyone but turning up and throwing themselves into the fray, was another. Plus, marvelling with Chris Rhodes that the network we’d created had progressed from online to face-to-face events so quickly, and not only that but events that were nothing to do with us! That’s absolutely awesome – if all LISNPN members can take it upon themselves to organise regional meet-ups, using the network to advertise them, then that’s just fantastic. The network is so much stronger if it is self-organising. Thanks so much to Bethan and Laura who’ve organised spontaneous events so far! Final highlight was meeting a very nice bloke in the pub who said he’d been wondering about librarianship for a while, applied for a few things but not got anything he wanted, and today was make or break for him in terms of pursuing it as a career. And we made him! (Rather than broke him – I don’t mean we forced him…) He really enjoyed the day, it opened his eyes, and made him really want to do it for a living.

So 80 New Professionals went into a conference – I think the veterans among them were inspired anew, the brand new ones found out there was more support and engagement than they’d imagined, and the people who were not librarians at all at the start of the day either ended up committed to the profession, or scared off it entirely – and I’m fine with that; better to find out now what it’s all about than get a job and realise it’s much more intense than they realised later…

If you’re in the North of England, book on the Newcastle one now! November 23rd, Newcastle City Library. Even if you have to take a few hours off work it’s worth it; it really will be a great day…

Other stuff relating to NPID2010:

- thewikiman

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  • Ned Potter October 4, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    [New #NPID2010 Post] 80 New Professionals Walk Into a Bar… – via #twitoaster

  • CILIP October 5, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    RT @theREALwikiman: [New #NPID2010 Post] 80 New Professionals Walk Into a Bar… – via #twitoaster

  • Libreaction October 5, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    More power to your elbow Ned. What a great initiative.
    As I just posted on GirlintheMoon’s blog, I’m insanely jealous of this opportunity for NPs. Back in 1995 there was precisely nowhere to get fed like this and what’s more I was considered outrageously ageist for even thinking that there should be a support network/events for new profs. And Phil is dead right about the 20 years thing although for me its 15 years. I spent 5-6 years in the middle doing the same thing year after year. However, over the past 3-5 years I have found myself in an engaged space again. Apart from finally being in charge of a service, its unquestionably social media, and specfically contact with new professional blood via social media, that has made me enthusiastic and motivated again.

    Don’t understimate the value and significance of what’s going on right now with the new professional voice because its very special indeed.

  • Ned Potter October 5, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    New Profs Information Day blog post – – also contains links to TEN other #NPID2010 related blogs / presentations!

  • thewikiman October 5, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    I don’t underestimate it – in fact I work pretty hard to build on it… (Four days of annual leave for NPID2010, for example – two planning days and then both the actual days themselves – and a lot of my spare time helping organise the New Professionals Conference, and run LISNPN.) I think it’s a great thing and I love being part of it – and it does seem to be a relatively new phenomenon. But I have to say, and I don’t want this to turn into a comment love-in, we New Profs are really enthused by you guys too. It’s flattering to us that you are re-engergised by what we have to say – and it gives us confidence when you and Phil and Biddy and so on take the time to treat us as equals… so thank you for that! :)

    The ageism thing is still tricky – certainly the term ‘young professionals’ would cause more trouble than its worth. But hopefully with LISNPN at least we’re making it clear we have no wish to only talk to each other and want to hear other voices as well.

  • [...] advice, as part my role as a New Professionals Support Officer for CILIP, and as a follow up to the New Professionals Information Days where people have emailed me asking for guidance (and some of the below is stuff I said in my talk [...]

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