Reflection (in Norway)

Last week I passed revalidation of my CILIP Chartership. The process was simple and all done through the CILIP VLE. I did it in an afternoon. Quick and pain-free!

I hadn’t used the VLE before, as I submitted my Chartership portfolio just before they changed the regulations. At first I struggled to work out where to populate my online portfolio, but I think that was simply because I hadn’t used it before. If you were using it as a CPD log to record your activities, I can see that the revalidation process would be very simple indeed. As it was, I uploaded details of my CPD activities, and write a short reflective statement on them. There is a PDF guide on the VLE too, which takes you through it step-by-step.

You only need 20 hours of CPD activities, which when you start adding everything up isn’t very much. I had more than was necessary, and was therefore able to cherry-pick the activities which fit best the criteria for my statement.The statement is only 250 words, compared to 1000 for Chartership, so ditch any descriptive writing and stick purely to reflection. This is easier when you consider you have a log of your activities for the assessor to refer to.

Having revalidated a year after submitting my Chartership portfolio, it was an interesting experience to reflect on my first bit-more-than-a-year in this job role. I have done a lot of CPD through work to get myself up to speed with healthcare libraries and information, and I am glad to cement that through my revalidation achievement.

I’m Chartered!

Back in April I wrote the post Chartership submitted, and now the wait, but thankfully CILIP didn’t make me wait too long to find out that I’m now a Chartered Librarian!

However, I did have an agonising wait for about a week and a half – I wasn’t in when the postman needed a signature for my certificate, so my neighbour kindly signed for it. But we didn’t manage to cross paths before I jetted off to Vancouver for the SLA conference! I could see an envelope from CILIP through his window – so close yet so far away! Thankfully, a friend spotted my name in CILIP Update and put me out of my misery.

The Chartership process was valuable and I’m glad I’ve done it, although it was hard work at times. It formalised my continuing professional development activities, encouraged me to reflect on my work, and gave me an excuse to pursue activities and training that weren’t strictly related to my job but were an area I was interested in or felt I needed to develop.

I got through Chartership fairly quickly, taking a little over a year. I had a good motivation to tie it all up, having started a new job partway through the process – wait too long, and I’d need to re-do a lot of my PPDP. In the end, the majority of my portfolio was from the time in my old job, with a smattering of things from my new post. In fact, comparison of the two provided a nice structure for parts of my statement.

So what’s next? I’ve put a reminder in my diary for about a year’s time, to look into revalidating. I’m keeping a log of my CPD to make it easier when that rolls around. I also want to become a CILIP mentor, so I am excited for when training dates are announced.

Chartership submitted, and now the wait…

I’ve submitted my Chartership portfolio! It feels like I’ve been working on it for ages, but actually I’ve submitted a little over a year since I started the process. Hopefully I’ll hear back soon whether or not I’ve been successful.

During the last year, I spent a lot of time Googling blog posts about Chartership, so I thought it would be only fair to contribute a post of my own to the mix.

In terms of the overall experience, I am glad I have gone through it. I have now got into the habit of recording my continuing professional development (CPD) activities, and it was useful to identify gaps in my knowledge and actively work to filling them. It was a tough slog at times, and could be frustrating, but hopefully the changes to Chartership under the new regulations will streamline the process for new candidates.


  • Collect evidence as you go along. Collect everything – it’s better to have more than you need and select from that, than have a mad scramble to find a piece at the end.
  • Find a support network. That might be on the mailing list LIS-CILIP-REG, or the #chartership chat on Twitter, or other local candidates in your workplace or area. When I started, three other librarians I worked with also started, so we had a ready-made support group.
  • A new edition of Building your portfolio by Owen and Watson is coming out in August, which has been revamped for the new professional registration regulations.
  • I found Dropbox useful to store electronic evidence and documents, so I could access them at home as well as at work.

What will I continue?

  • I am going to keep recording my CPD in a diary or log, which will be useful for revalidation and for appraisals in work. The new CILIP VLE has an option to do this, so I am going to take a look.
  • I found using the SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound) model really useful for putting together my personal and professional development plan (PPDP), and I’ll continue to use it in my work.

Plans for the future

  • A celebratory drink for submitting!
  • I’d like to train as a mentor, so I’m keeping an eye out for upcoming training dates (provided I pass Chartership, of course!)

Good luck to everyone going through professional registration!

Chartership progress

I have been working on Chartership with CILIP for a few months now, so wanted to write a post on how it’s going. Last week I spoke at a CILIP Thames Valley chartership meet-up about my experiences as a candidate, which was a good opportunity for reflection on what I’ve achieved so far, what has worked, and what hasn’t.


My PPDP (Personal Professional Development Plan) is possibly longer than it needs to be, but I’ve been approaching it as a working document – adding things here and there, including more than I’ll need for the final portfolio. It’ll be much easier to take things out at the end than add stuff.

A good piece of advice came out of the CILIP TV event, which I can really encourage and have found so helpful in building my PPDP:

Think about what you do in your everyday job – you do something every day which you can use in your portfolio #cilipTV#chartership

— Natalie Guest (@nataliepicken) September 4, 2013

I’ve made my PPDP quite worked-based, as during this first year of my first professional post, I’ve learnt so much and attended so much training. I’ve also made points quite specific. This has been a conscious choice after learning about SMART goals at a training event for staff annual reviews. For me, the more specific and attainable the goal, the more likely I am to actually achieve it. For example, I am more likely to ‘do online tutorial for using the internet for history research [link]‘, than ‘look into resources for subject liaison‘.

Find a support group – or build your own!

I am fortunate that the Library I work in really encourages Chartership, meaning there is a structured programme. There are also three other candidates working towards Chartership, so we have a ready-made group. If you don’t have others doing Chartership at your work place, there are plenty of other support networks available.

  • The #chartership hashtag is a great collection of others going through the process, as well as those who have completed it to offer advice and answers. There is a monthly #chartership chat, but the hashtag is also in use between these. I’ve found it helpful for getting opinions, and for reassurance!
  • The Jiscmail mailing list for Chartership is also invaluable. The candidate support officers often respond with advice and official information.
  • I’ve found face-to-face events, such as a the CILIP TV one last week, useful to compare and contrast progress. I’ve attended two Chartership events, and both have had past portfolios to leaf through – always helpful! These events are advertised on Jiscmail lists, so it’s worth signing up to a few that interest you.

The four of us doing Chartership at work meet for monthly meetings with a member of senior management to discuss a chapter of the New Professional’s Handbook by Corrall and Brewerton. As enlightening and informative as these sessions have been, I am not recommending this particular book – Published in 1999, it’s fair to say it’s now out-of-date! Nevertheless, these regular meetings were a great chance for the four of us to catch up and compare notes. This led to our arranging monthly Chartership workshops. We’ve booked a PC lab so we can work on our portfolios, chat about progress, and share useful information we’ve got from our respective mentors. Blocking out time like this, setting it aside for just Chartership work, and getting away from my desk, has seen my productivity soar!

I hope sharing these thoughts are helpful to my fellow Chartership candidates out there, or those considering starting (if you are, read up on the upcoming changes here). Let me know your hints and tips in the comments if you’d like to share!

ALISS Visit to Institute of Education, London

On 16 April I visited the Institute of Education Library in London with ALISS (Association of Librarians and Information Professionals in the Social Sciences), to hear about their special collections, archives, and digital archive of official publications Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA). As liaison librarian for Education, this was an excellent opportunity for me to learn about other Education subject-specific collections and resources. DERA, in particular, will be a useful resource to point students towards.

The day began with a talk from Nazlin Bhimani, Research Support & Special Collections Librarian, about the Library generally and it’s special collections. The Library collects everything published on education in the UK, with a representation of other countries, as well as curriculum resources, such as reading materials for use in classrooms and a ‘literature’ collection – books with schools or education featured or as a theme, such as Harry Potter!

Special Collections
The special collections include libraries of individual scholars or significant figures relating to education, as well as historical collections on a particular subject (for example, music, physical education), and historical textbooks. To promote the collections, Nazlin uses LibGuides, attends inductions, hosts library and archive study days, and uses social media.

Some items from the IoE archives and special collections

I enjoyed Becky Webster’s presentation, as instead of slides she projected some interesting images from the archive collections while talking us through some of the aspects of the IoE archives.

Their collection development policy is deliberately broad to cover education as represented in all areas. Their main areas of enquiries are school architecture, politics of education (gender, moral education, student activities), and gender and education.

Tiny models of classroom furniture – adorable!

Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA)
Emma Alison works with the British official publications collection, and spoke about the collection and it’s digital archive.

What’s in the collection?
The core is crown copyright and parliamentary copyright, but also includes quango publications and others.

What isn’t in the collection?
Letters, speeches, technical guidance, press releases, subject development materials.

DERA is a permanent digital archive of largely born-digital government publications. It has been a solution to the movement of many documents to electronic-only and ‘link rot’. The items turn up in Google, which is how the majority of users find DERA. Some possible future plans include investigations into formats to expand file types, possible expansion of organisations included, and enhancement of features and visibility.

We rounded off the day with tea and a tour. It was great to have a snoop around, including the midly terrifying stacks with a mesh floor. The Library itself is light and airy, and seems like a great place for students to work. It was great for me to see first-hand their collections, as I can now feel confident in referring our students there through SCONUL Access if our own Education collections are not sufficient for their research needs. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between the IoE library’s and our Education collections.

Reviewing the reviews

As part of my role as liaison librarian, I am the shelving supervisor for the Social Sciences floor. Mostly the shelving ticks along nicely, but I am often involved in arranging cover for busy periods (like right now!). Another part of being shelving supervisor is delivering annual Staff Development Reviews (SDR) for our part-time shelvers. This year, I was responsible for two SDRs. This was the first time I have been in a supervisory role, and my first experience of a formal management responsibility. I was feeling quite nervous, but also fairly excited.

The university is very good at providing opportunities for personal and professional development, and to my great relief provides workshops for both new reviewees and new reviewers. Although I fell under both categories, I only attended the workshop for new reviewers, since there would be a significant overlap in content. I had expected this workshop to be full of management jargon, but in actuality it was incredibly helpful.

The presenter was knowledgeable and relatable. All my concerns and questions were addressed, and I came out of it much more confident and relaxed about delivering my two SDRs. Some of the advice I found particularly useful (though not exhaustive), and things I learnt from the two SDRs included:

  • Block out time for writing up too – The SDRs took 30-45 minutes, but I blocked out an hour and a half of my time, so I could write up our discussion straight-away. It stops you forgetting things, but also I feel it demonstrates your commitment to their professional development.
  • They should be talking 70% of the time – ask open ended questions, which are far more conducive to discussion than yes/no answers. In my first SDR I found myself slipping in this regard, which leads me to…
  • Plan what you will talk about, and practice– that might feel a bit weird for a one-to-one discussion, but remember that the more prepared you are the better you’ll feel, and the better they’ll feel. There’s nothing worse than your manager rifling through papers trying to remind themselves what exactly it is you do!

In particular, I received some great advice about SDRs with staff who have been with the institution much longer than you have:

  • Frame it in light of changes – This was easy for me, as we are about to have some major rewiring and refurbishment, and had just undergone some significant book moves.
  • Might be related to objectives from your own SDR – we were advised to have our own SDRs before setting the agenda for theirs, as our own objectives may well feed into theirs.

Additionally, I found Simon Barron’s Idiots Guide to Annual Staff Reviews both helpful and comforting. The later comments about impostor syndrome were, too, very reassuring!

I am glad I did these SDRs, as it is very likely I will be in a job role in the future which also involves the supervision/management of staff and therefore carrying out annual reviews. Now I have done them, they are not nearly as scary as I had thought. Plus, it’s a useful addition to my Chartership portfolio.

Beginning Chartership

I have embarked on Chartership, CILIP’s professional qualification. Although I had originally intended to wait before starting Chartership, a number of others at my workplace are also starting it. My Library runs a structured programme of seminar style discussion and support, so it made sense to take advantage of this and the peer support of those colleagues also embarking on Chartership, rather than waiting and doing it on my own.

Chartership involves setting yourself professional development goals, and compiling evidence to support that you are working towards them. This all comes together into a portfolio, tied together with an evaluative statement.

So where am I currently at in this process? I have registered, and have a mentor. I have a few rough ideas for my Personal Professional Development Plan (PPDP), which will soon become actual training and development needs and proposed actions. I’ve attended a Chartership event with CILIP, which was really helpful (and compulsory for Chartership). It helped get the process straight in my head and showed me what I need to include. I recommend attending one of these sessions early on, as it answered a lot of my questions.

In order to audit my skills, to show my strengths and potential areas for development, I filled out the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB). I was surprised that I had a large number of areas where I scored myself 0:

1.4 Ontologies
1.7 Subject indexing
1.8 Information architecture
1.9 Database design and management
2.3 Data management
2.6 Organisational information/knowledge assets
3.4 Data analytics
5.1 Information governance
5.5 Information ownership and accountability
5.6 Information risk management
5.7 Information assurance
6.2 Retention and disposal
6.6 Curation
6.8 Web information continuity
8.4 Writing, numeracy and creativity
9.5 Partnership development
9.6 Influencing key stakeholders
10.2 Business planning and asset management
12.3 System design and development of systems
12.8 Language skills

Some of these are quite technical or specific, but it still came as a shock. Nevertheless, with so many areas it gives me a lot of scope for developing my skills, knowledge and expertise. Points in my PPDP will involve reading around areas to bring some 0s up to 1s, and things I can do to bring 1s and 2s up to 3s. Worth bearing in mind, too, is how developing some of these areas will help me in future, by broadening my skill set and therefore broadening my job-hunting ‘net’ (my contract is fixed-term, so this will become more pertinent for me in a couple of years).

When filling out the PKSB, it would have been useful to have concrete examples. It was sometimes hard to know what a section was actually about. I may have scored myself 0 on some points, when in actuality I may know a little about it but don’t realise I do!

So what now? Once I have firmed up my PPDP I will inform CILIP. Then, it’s just a case of actually doing those actions to meet my training and development needs, and collecting the evidence to support it. I am lucky that my employer is extremely supportive of those doing Chartership, and offers a great deal of opportunities and flexibility for attending training and events.