Summary: Thursday 18th Aug 2011: Breaking down barriers within the profession
Summary of the 4th #uklibchat session:
There was a little bit of trouble with the hash tag search, but aside from that little niggle, it was yet again another lively chat session!
1. Do you have experience of working in more than one LIS sector? Do you think this has helped or hindered you?
- Those who have worked across different sectors have a favourable response to it
- It is good for understanding the issues that arises for other sectors, seeing the common issues and how other people manage these problems, and also for preventing an insular view of library work
- Working in a public library helped to give insight into customer care
- It also lowered the tolerance for a lack of professionalism. Compared with other sectors, the public library rely more on untrained volunteers and did not make librarians do CPD
2. Do you feel that professional bodies provide a sufficient range of opportunities to meet and discuss librarians from other sectors?
3. Do you ever meet and discuss issues with librarians from different sectors? Is there a need?
- Inspire has a management board with representatives from across the regions and library sectors. They also has a newsletter that covers all sectors. To get email Sally at inspire2011[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk
- Informal meetings occur, and they help people to see the similar issues face by different sectors
- Library schools is a good place for cross-sectoral discussions
- Cambridge Libraries Group has events on different topics but they are mainly social gatherings, but getting to know librarians socially is a way of breaking down barriers http://www.cambridgelibrarygroup.org.uk/
- Networking can be as simple as going into the local library and meeting librarians
- Becoming a member of groups for other sectors is valuable for discussing issues
- Meeting people in different sectors help you see the variety of jobs that are in LIS and can lead to actions like trying out new products
4. Is there a big sectoral divide within the profession? If yes, what do you think causes it?
- There is a lack of understanding, rather than a divide
- Some sectors feel under-represented when compared with academic and public libraries. There appears to be resentment against CILIP because of this
- Public/academic librarians don’t understand that information officers are librarians too.
- Some academic librarians also feel under-represented, and become lapsed members of CILIP
- Everyone complains that everyone else is ‘over-represented’ it appears very subjective.
- Only those in the ‘under-represented’ sectors can make the change by being more active, yet at the same time there’s the issue of paying membership for a body that you don’t think is representing you
5. How can librarians from different sectors help each other? (In what way, with what?)
- Librarians need to stick up for each other via advocacy when each other’s library services are threatened
- Seek out what is common
- A useful part of graduate traineeship has been visiting libraries in other sectors and seeing how they do things. After they are doing the same tasks but in different ways, so you can ‘steal’ good ideas
- Working in a public library you are not allowed to advocate for your own council’s library services, as this is deemed political
6. What are the common values of library and information professionals?
- Putting users/people at the heart of what we do
- The mediation of information
- Getting the right information to the right people at the right time
- “Our Enduring Values” by Michael Gorman was recommended as a good read for this.
- From the New Professional Conferences, the skills that came up were: good communication, professionalism, prioritising/time management, team player, and internet skills
- Finding information and organising it
7. + 8. How easy do you think it is to move from one sector to another? Are there any sectors which you think are particularly hard to get into?
- It appears to be hard for most sectors as job adverts ask for experience in that field. This includes, academic, law, and corporate libraries
- There’s an impression that it used to be easier
- It may be easier to do at the lower level of seniority/management
- It may not be hard to move into public libraries so long as you had experience of serving the public
- Sectors can benefit from employees with experience other sectors, but won’t take the risk if they see someone already with experience
9. Are there barriers between any other groups? (e.g. “new” profs/”old” profs)
- Not at a professional level, but if you’re new to a network meeting, it’s about breaking into established social groups
- There’s experience of public library managers not being interested in social media
- There is a divide between those who are on twitter vs those who are not, but it may be broadened out to those interested in new technology and those who are not
- Some people in other sectors see libraries as not ‘intellectual’ enough, it may the reason why it’s harder to move from public libraries to other sectors
10. What is a leader? Not the same as management.
- Leadership has an ethical aspect.
- “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right thing”
- Need a vision of where an organisation is travelling.
11. Do you have any suggestions of ways in which to break down the barriers between different sectors?
- Informal job shadowing
- Cross-sector mentoring
- Organising groups, events by theme, not sector
- Shared advocacy
- “Be the change you want to see in the [library] world”. Do things like write articles about your job and put it into CILIP Update etc.
- Informal get-togethers with cake and gin!
The suggestions for the next #uklibchat topic are:
- Reflecting and recapping on previous #uklibchat
- Looking at library routes/roots
The following are links that were included in the agenda document:
(space set up after a debate Aug 2010 entitled: The Fragmentation Death of the Information Professions) . Included documentation of the debate.
SINTO – the information partnership is a regional consortium of LIS organisations which supports cooperation.
SWRLS- South Western Regional Library Service is a cross sectoral library organisation which encourages cooperation and resource sharing and discovery.
A big thank you to everyone who participated in the chat, which I think are a great example of cross-sectoral sharing and collaboration! For those who weren’t there, I hope the summaries give you a good flavour of the things discussed, and I hope that you will come along and join us. Lurkers welcome! Feel free to leave your comments here if you have anything you wish to say about the topic or to the #uklibchat team. ^_^