A nice thing happened on the way to Chartership…

So the Chartership process is almost coming to a close, after all this time; I have spent the past few weeks updating my evidence, working on my evaluative statement and slowly but surely compiling my portfolio. I have written several entries for my journal reflections and managed to finalise my CPD log also. One thing I havent managed to do is keep my blog up to date. Which I intend to rectify now.

However, rather than starting where I left off, I thought I would jump in where I am now and work backwards to September…because that’s logical, right?

Yes. So, a lovely thing happened to me yesterday. Last year we had a graduate intern (X) in our team who took a secondment from her post on the library helpdesk team to gain skills and experience in working in our role. While she was with us, she was given lots of opportunities to do different things, one of which was to have input into the teaching we do. She already has a qualification and significant experience in teaching, but in a school environment, which is very different from what we do. For me, I was very happy to support her development in this and, after she had observed me in a couple of sessions (both as our intern and also previously when she had asked to shadow sessions as part of her appraisal), I was happy to let her take the helm herself. We agreed a couple of shorter first year classes that she would take, and also agreed that I would sit in, in case of need. But after the first one, I didnt think I needed to and so let her have free reign. It all went swimmingly.

Needless to say, at the end of the year we were all sad to see her leave us to return to her substantive post. But, as I said, yesterday something really lovely happened. She asked me if I would be willing to be her ‘buddy’ in our team, to help her to keep in touch and to not lose all of the experience and skills she had gained in her year with us. I can honestly say that I am deeply moved that she has chosen me for this (and fairly gobsmacked!). Having been in a management role for so long, but not for the last four years, I can say quite honestly that I do sometimes miss it. Being X’s buddy will give me the ideal opportunity to dip a toe back in the water in an informal manner. It will also give me an idea as to whether I really do want to become a CILIP mentor once I have my Chartership…Next steps are to have a meeting, where we will discuss what she needs from me and how we will manage the process, there being no formal policy in the University structure for this type of relationship (just to note: this has been agreed to by both of our line managers also).

I’m really looking forward to embarking on this journey with her. I have always enjoyed seeing people fulfil their potential and being able to contribute to the process is rewarding and satisfying in the extreme for me. We cultivated a very good working relationship whilst she was with us (and have continued to do so) and so I am very pleased that she is entrusting me with this opportunity to help her progress.

Now, working backwards from this week; a few key points…

  • The Chartership application has a little more work to be done (revise PKSB, couple of reflections in journal entries on CPD actvities, tidy up evaluative statement and have a critical friend read it – I have already sounded a Chartered colleague out for this who has kindly agreed – add extra evidence, etc) so I am hoping to submit in the next few weeks.
  • I’ve survived this years’ manic teaching schedule which has quietened down now, but will explode again after the Xmas break with the MSc programmes beginning.
  • We have had initial meetings to plan our reading project for next year, which is still in the initial phase (however, we didnt get any funding for it so we are on our own – more power to make it a success, if you ask me!!). I have been researching both the literature on reading and social isolation and other institutions’ promotions and also contributing my own experience of running the Feeling Fiction group (which is going to be incorporated now into the wider promoting reading agenda).
  • On the subject of Feeling Fiction – I have abandoned trying to get an organised meet and have moved the discussion onto our Facebook and Yammer pages. Each month I post a book and invite comments around the themes. Most of the discussion takes place on the Yammer site, though, which is only accessible by SHU staff…not ideal but at least there is a discussion occurring…
  • we have had an initial meeting to begin planning our next teachmeet for May 2019. This year’s theme will be ‘Promoting Reading’ which we can align with our own experiences of organising one, and also gain valuable insight into other institutions’ experiences of organising/promoting reading activities. Being part of both teams will be very useful.

The other thing that has recently happened is the creation of a library induction group, which I agreed to be a part of, to look at our current induction materials. We had an initial meeting last week, at which I suggested we could ask what students would have liked to know when they began University, about the library. This came about from my thinking that we think we know what students need to know but, in the face of a very rapidly changing and diverse student population, we may not be giving them what they really need. Sure, they need to know how to take a book out, but what else? Is the rest of what we tell them relevant? So rather than us directing the process, let’s give it over to the students! Ask them what they would’ve wanted to know…I’ve just come back from a staff/student committee meeting (captive audience!), where the suggestions came in thick and fast! Sometimes, it could be a case of be careful what you ‘ask’ for…one of the suggestions was a library tour, which I had to demur to. We dont have the staffing to support it and we cannot traipse large cohorts of 80+ students around the library in one go. However, I had a bit of a brainwave, which I will posit at the next meeting, about organising sign-up tours for students, in the way that we organise drop-in referencing sessions…we’ll see how that goes…

There’s been a lot of things happening up to the point I am at now, but it is going quieter over the next few weeks. Only three weeks until we break for Christmas and so the focus has turned toward the impending festivities. Unfortunately I cant make the team Christmas meal this year…but we are having a ‘Donut Day’ at Collegiate on the last Thursday before we break up (which I will participate in, but not eat the donuts – yuk!!) and we are possibly going for a drink after work, with our erstwhile intern too (we have another intern starting shortly, but we havent met her yet).

I also tried to gather some enthusiasm for #TShirtday (BBC 6 Music, wear your old band tshirt day) this year, but only a few colleagues participated. I wore my 30 year old Bon Jovi 1988 tour tshirt this year…and posted it on twitter (because Librarians rock)! But here it is in the flesh (and it’s still too big – I am quite tiny)…

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Very much looking forward to winding down now and having a drink with colleagues, then having a break from it all to recharge. And, of course, pressing the all important ‘submit’ button. On a sadder note, however, for us, we also found out this week that a colleague is leaving in March to take up a new post elsewhere. I wont say more here as doubtless there will be more in the weeks to come. Our loss is their gain, but we will all be very sad to see her go…watch this space…

 

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