Round-up for September 2013

A couple of days overdue on the September monthly review post, this round-up post has snuck into October instead.

The discussions sparked off by the series of posts about #mentoring have been great.

There’s plenty more discussions to be had to build on initial ideas – investigating the place of formal vs. informal mentoring, mentoring up & down, creating wider support networks for new grads, creating stronger support networks for first-time submitters for publication. It’s also sparked off ideas of how different approaches to mentoring might suit our diverse GLAM communities, and how we can make that happen.

I’m in the process of putting together my application to join up as a mentor for LIANZA’s formal mentoring programme – fingers crossed I will be accepted, and also that some new grads might actually want me as a mentor!

I’ve really enjoyed the conversations that these #mentoring discussions has sparked, & I’ve made new connections as a result. #win

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Stepping up #mentors

What began as a post reflecting on my journey of finding a mentor has morphed into a different post altogether.

I’ve come to realise that I believe more strongly (than I originally thought) that the mentoring of new information professionals is vitally important for the GLAM sectors going forward, whether it is inside the structured framework of a workplace program or under the umbrella of a professional association).

Structured mentoring is about actively supporting & encouraging those who are stepping out in their sparkly new shoes into the professional world, and we owe it to new graduates to provide a support network & to welcome them into the exciting world of the various GLAM sectors that we work in. Leaving newbies to find their own way might work for some individuals, but I think that expecting total independence & self-assurance might actually increase the level of floundering and leave many feeling quite lost & isolated, and wondering why on earth they decided to get into the gallery/library/museum/archives sectors in the first place. Continue reading

Mentoring outside an organisational framework #mentors

There’s plenty of debate already about whether we say “the art of librarianship” or if we call it “library science”, and I am not really interested in actually debating it any further*, but this post is more a reflection on a long interesting conversation with a friend who is an artist. We talked at length about the differences of being inspired vs. being mentored in the context of individual art practice, and it clarified for me what the differences are between peer mentoring, Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and teacher/learner mentoring.

Having a group of people who practice in the same field of art (e.g. photography, painting or sculpture), and who inspire & encourage you to develop your artistic practice is somewhat different to having a mentor in the same artistic field. While there is an overlap between the two groups, insomuch as having people in your world who truly believe in your art practice and who support & encourage you to develop your artistic practice, often the key focus of the teacher/learner mentoring relationship is the art practice of the person being mentored than of mutually developing each others’ art practices. Continue reading

Serendipity calling #mentors

At several points in my life, there’s been serendipitous moments when I have “needed” some guidance, and often the right person turns up at the right moment, or the right piece of advice has appeared. This stems from that whole idea that you’ll only begin to learn when you are open to learning, or that you’ll only receive guidance when you are willing to take it on board. Sometimes, we’re not ready to listen, accept, learn from others, and other times, we are open to the support that others provide. Continue reading

Who says I am a professional?

This is my personal perspective on it. I’m still working my way through this topic. My views may change. This is today’s reflection.

I completed the requirements for my M.L.I.S. in 2006. –> I became a new librarian.

I attended my graduation ceremony in 2007. –> I became a new graduate.

I became professionally registered with LIANZA in 2011. –> I became a new professional.

However, if I wasn’t professionally registered with the New Zealand industry association, would I still be considered a professional? I would definitely still consider myself a professional librarian, but I don’t know if Library Land would.

My behavior has changed little since my professional registration. I still read voraciously, I still actively participate in discussions, I still develop myself professionally. I now make notes of what I do professionally to fulfill registration requirements for my professional association, but I don’t think that makes me more or less professional. It does mean that I keep track of and reflect on my PD to fit specific criteria for specific assessment. It demonstrates to employers that I meet the benchmark for the industry (or at least it will when I submit my journal for successful validation in 2014 – I am thinking positively about the future!).

It will be an interesting challenge to determine what exactly is a new professional for the LIS industry. Is this year going to be a tipping point for NZ? Are Kiwi New Librarians emerging from their studies keen & ready to fully immerse themselves in the professional registration process? Will we see all NZ LIS graduates take up professional registration? Do we have enough mentors stepping up to support the 12 months mentoring scheme?

The embedding of professional registration will take time in NZ’s Library Land. It took time overseas for professional registration to become the standard for other Library Associations. Registration has become part of the fabric of other NZ industries, such as teaching (NZ Teachers Council – Registered Teacher Criteria), social work (ANZASW – competency & re-certification) and architecture (NZIA). No doubt there was initial resistance in many of those sectors. No doubt there is still not 100% registration within these industries. No doubt professional registration means different things to different sectors.

I can see lots of potential research emerging from this topic with the lens on new librarians and new professionals. I don’t think this research should only be undertaken by LIS students, but I’m not sure who would find funding for this research otherwise.

  • Investigation of the impact(s) that professional registration has on new librarians.
  • Investigation into why new librarians choose not to participate in the professional registration process (are the reasons similar or different to those of established librarians who have chosen not to register?).
  • Comparison of the NZ experience against overseas experience in LIS industry.
  • Investigation of whether or not being a professional librarian has an impact on salaries in NZ, and across different library sectors (e.g. school, tertiary, special, corporate, law, public).
  • Investigation of the impact of professionalism in the school librarian community, who are working alongside teachers who have to be registered to be able to do what they do.
  • Comparison of LIS industry with other professions.