One of the blog posts which has disappeared down the virtual sofa during Operation Move House is my talk at CILIP’s New Professionals Information Day (NPID)(an annual event aimed at new information professionals, students and the information-profession-curious). This ran in London in October (at CILIP HQ) and Newcastle in November (at the rather beautiful Newcastle City Library.
I was going to upload the slides for my talk after the event, but without the context of the talk they felt rather disjointed, so I thought perhaps a blog would capture it better. The two days also influenced my current professional activities to some extent, which I wanted to reflect upon: but more on that later.
I was asked to speak at this event because of my work on CILIP’s Defining Our Professional Future (DOPF) as a new professional. I was given the suggested title ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: Working with people at all levels‘ but in the end the talk was more about how neither part of the title applied to me!
- Feel the Fear: I wanted to talk about how positive my experience working with senior professionals in DOPF had been. The project board was inevitably made up of people with an enthusiasm for CILIP, but who felt it could do better. I wanted to point out that working with other information professionals (senior or otherwise) seems intimidating, but it’s actually probably easier than working across disciplines, and that there’s no reason (or stigma) in getting involved even at a very early stage in your career.
- Do it Anyway: this talk actually persuaded me to reflect on the way I become involved in professional activities. Enthusiasm always hits me before fear: I commented in the talk that my motto is like ‘Agree to do it, and then feel the fear afterwards’. This means I get into some random situations, but nearly all of them have been positive for me, so I wanted to talk about harnessing that enthusiasm!
The conclusion of the talk was what a great experience getting involved in the wider profession had been for me, and to make it clear that CILIP can be a great option (if only one among many!) for getting involved in professionals activities.
The talk sparked some fascinating debate about CILIP from sceptics in the audience: I emphasised that I was focusing on the positives of getting involved in the Institute, but that I wasn’t a CILIP representative, and that I knew it was only one option among many.
My favourite moment of the discussion was in Newcastle where, together with Maria Cotera (Past President of the Career Development Group), I persuaded Phil Bradley (who was then still running for president, and in the audience as he gave one of the NPID keynotes) to say a little bit about why he’d rejoined and become active in CILIP again: he gave a lovely speech about the importance of professional bodies and the opportunity we have to do something great with CILIP.
It was fantastic to see the enthusiasm and response for running this event in both north and south, and there was some great speakers to chat to, but it’s sobering to realise that this could be the last year that the New Professionals Information Day might not be around next year due to budget constraints.
I suppose the major long-term outcome of the event for me was, having reflected on how positive my experiences getting involved with CILIP were (in DOPF and also as a previous member of CDG Yorkshire and Humberside) led me to resolve to become active more regularly. I’m going to take over on the UC&R East Midlands committee for my institution next: unlike some of the things I’ve become involved in during my professional development, this is a stable commitment (which I think will do me good), but also I’m looking forward to helping develop some random plans on the committee once I start!