The inaugural New Professionals Day 2013 took place on Saturday 2nd March in Pearse Street Library. This free day was planned to provide an opportunity for those attending to network and begin to build their own professional network here in Ireland. The audience comprised current students at UCD SILS and DBS, alongside at least one person considering entering the profession and some who had been in the profession for less than five years. We were assisted throughout the day by Kevin Mullaney as our photographer and Bryan Whelan who assisted with registration and live tweeting.
Starting off proceedings – our MC Daniel Duffy (who was also a workshop host) introduced Michelle Dalton (@mishdalton) and her workshop/presentation on interacting on Twitter – Tweet your heart out. Michelle is a firm advocate for Information Professionals in Ireland utilising Twitter to enhance their own CPD.
Michelle gauged the audiences ‘Twitter Temperature’ with a quick game complete with coloured post-it notes. Providing an insight on how to best utilise Twitter in your working and student life, Michelle also illustrated the power of Twitter as an information resource. Highlighting that over 10k scholarly articles are shared on Twitter daily, a useful way of keeping your finger on the pulse of developments within the wider field of the Information Profession. The other top tip from Michelle – don’t keep changing your avatar it is your brand – people will associate it with your tweets and look for it. Michelle also highlighted the importance of following and engaging in #irelibchat and #uklibchat – an informal exchange of ideas, experience and current thinking within these islands. Check out Libfocus.com for more information on #irelibchat and do join in on the next chat on the 12th March.
Following on from Michelle’s engaging workshop, our next session was followed by David Hughes (@usernameerror) and his ‘Getting ahead in the Cloud’ workshop. David who is the Systems Librarian at Dublin Business School provided a great (Prezi) presentation on how we can utilise our IT skills to enhance our career path. The majority of us have smartphones, laptops, tablets and we understand how to operate these in our daily interactions – so don’t be afraid to put that knowledge to use within your work. As Information Professionals we can locate information to resolve IT issues, follow basic steps and assist our patrons. Become more familiar with your LMS – see if there are ways that you can address any issues with it and assist your IT department – they know the tech but we know what the LMS is required to do. Keep an eye on developments – utilise Twitter to keep yourself updated – David recommended that the audience follow @PhilBradley. The CILIP President is a firm advocate of keeping abreast of new technologies and all Information Professionals harnessing and utilising technology to our own and our patrons advantage. David’s workshop included some thought-provoking games that really assisted the attendees in thinking outside the box and also networking as they worked. David also advocated what should be our mantra – there is no need for us to reinvent the wheel – by being aware of what is already out there and working already, we can model and develop solutions. We are not required to be programmers, but we should know enough so we can assist our patrons and enhance their information seeking experience.
After the break we started back with Daniel Duffy (@dangleroughly), as a recent graduate of UCD SILS class of 2012, Daniel is the newest to the profession amongst our panel for the day. Daniel had a previous career within financial services prior to beginning the MLIS and is now employed in the legal information sector in the UK.
Daniel’s session focused on explaining what networking is and then expanding on what networking isn’t. A quick ‘networking’ word association game engaged the audience into articulating their understanding and sharing their thoughts. Daniel then broke these ideas into the very basic – explaining that we already have networks – social networks via Twitter, Facebook, Lindkin et al. However, we should utilise and engage with our professional networks – LAI, CILIP, SLA, ALA to name but a few. Top tips from Daniel on how to build our own professional network – attend events (like NPD Ireland) they are usually free and have refreshments where you can interact with others; attend events with a colleague or friend – but talk to others; say ‘hello’ – what’s the worst that can happen? Whilst virtual networking via Twitter, Linkdin et al are really helpful, nothing beats the face to face interaction.
Our day finished on a motivational high with our keynote speaker Jane Burns (@JMBurns99). Jane has a wealth of experience and knowledge within the Information Profession in Ireland, traversing every sector within her exceptional career portfolio. We asked Jane to be our keynote based not only on her career experience to date, but from our brief time within the profession here in Ireland, we all appreciate what an amazing advocate and role model Jane is to new information professionals.
Jane introduced the audience to her career path and experience, expanding on the various aspects that she has developed over the years within the field. Providing an insight into how diverse this profession can be not only for the work involved, but for the constant learning and personal development available as you progress through your own career path. Jane then expanded on all of the transferable and marketable skills that she has developed over the years and impressed on us all how important it is to develop and evolve as a professional. Jane advocated taking charge of your own CPD – it is an investment in our own personal development and requires time, money and effort on our part. Jane also highlighted how we can locate patterns and links from our previous and current roles and this will enable us all to market ourselves better.
One of the key aspects of Jane’s approach to her advocacy of new professionals is her realism – which we and others appreciated – this is the toughest recession ever and the library/information field is changing and under threat. We have choices though, we can give up or we can expand and develop our range of skills, continue to hunt and evaluate the job field. There are possibilities out there, many in areas you may not have already considered, the MLIS knowledge and skills are transferable to a myriad of jobs and areas. Jane’s concluding thoughts are worth repeating – be open to new possibilities; never stop learning; maintain a life/work balance and network, network, network!
A wonderful presentation that gave us all so much and a fantastic end to a very enjoyable day. The professional networking continued at The Lombard and then onto Kennedy’s with great interactions taking place between the students from both UCD SILS and DBS as well as the other newbies.
A huge ‘Thank You’ to all our hosts and our keynote for participating and providing such engaging sessions which evolved into an inspirational day. The NPD Ireland team are also grateful to all attendess for their initial interest, their engagement and interaction on the day and for making it such a worthwhile endeavour.