Why NLS6 has changed my views on Professional Development

I’m still a relative newbie in library land, but NLS6 has been a critical turning point for me. The themes of NLS6 really resonate with me. Be Different. Do Different.

For me, that translates to Be Myself.

I struggle to follow the herd. I struggle to toe the party line. I struggle to be part of the cool crowd. I struggle to be part of the mainstream. I struggle to accept ‘because that’s how we’ve always done it’.

It’s not so much that I want to be or do different deliberately, I just find that mainstream thinking doesn’t match what I want or need professionally. I want things to be better than they currently are. Yes I know that there are always others factors & constraints (budgets, people management, strategic plans, politics) but I am an idealist at heart, and I do believe that there’s often a better way. It might be that now isn’t the right time for those things to happen, but I do believe that there is always a better way.

While NLS6 is not the first time I have self-funded for Professional Development, my experiences as part of Heroes Mingle along with NLS6 have changed my views on Professional Development. Well, perhaps not fundamentally changed so much as solidified my position on PD.

I’ve been lucky to have had the generous support of previous organisations (hats off to Christchurch City Libraries) for a wide range of Professional Development opportunities, and many supportive managers along the way. I certainly wouldn’t be this far along my own professional journey without their support. And I fully acknowledge that organisational support has shaped where I am today.

It is now up to me to capitalise on those earlier PD opportunities, to give thanks for their part in my PD journey, and to now forge my own Professional Development pathway.

I choose to fully take ownership of my journey.

I choose the PD roads ahead of me, instead of having them chosen for me by an organisation. I choose to create and participate in non-workplace supported PD opportunities. I choose to participate in non-library PD opportunities. I’m stepping outside the safety net of organisational PD. And for me, I believe that is a critical part of my PD experience.

There’s no doubt that I will still participate in and support organisational & industry association PD events (I am Professionally Registered with LIANZA), but it won’t be my only pathway. To rely solely on organisational supported and funded PD opportunities limits us as individuals, as organisations and as an industry.

Some people might view it as a risk & a challenge to step outside an organisational-only PD framework, but for me, it is my way to Be Myself.

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5 thoughts on “Why NLS6 has changed my views on Professional Development

  1. This was really interesting, thank you! I’ve actually been thinking the opposite recently – not that I don’t do anything internally but I’m probably doing too much externally and need to link things more closely to the day job or I’ll run out of steam…

    • An interesting reverse take on things. Maybe it is more about seeking balance between internal & external PD opportunities. I also wonder if you couldn’t bring the external into the workplace – combining the two so your workplace could benefit from the “outside” lens.

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