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Professional Registration & Portfolio Building Workshop – 17/04/19

Branch: West Branch | Category: Branches and Groups

The following post is a blog entry from Alessandra Bortolato – a School Librarian at Linwood High School. Alessandra was one of the attendees at the recent Professional Registration & Portfolio Building Workshop run by CILIP Scotland and CILIPS West Branch.

On April 17th, I was delighted to participate at CILIPS’s Professional Registration and Portfolio Building Course at the very welcoming Glasgow Caledonian University.

Upon my arrival, it was a pleasant surprise to see some familiar faces – current colleagues, and former Information and Library Studies course mates from the University of Strathclyde were also there. I was happy to see how many of us have a common goal towards Chartership.

The course room was set up in a way that encouraged networking, in that we were sitting around tables in groups of 6. Surely the room was also arranged this way to facilitate groupwork tasks during the talks, which in turn led to more networking.

Candidate Support Officer Ruth Lyle started the session addressing a question that was probably on the minds of most attendees “Where to Begin?” – it certainly was on mine, as a newish professional, so the email on this course arrived with perfect timing. The answer Ruth gave to this question was thankfully very practical, starting with a distinction on Certification and Chartership. What I found most helpful in this first talk is the focus on what Chartership is ultimately about: reflection; reflection that is focused not so much on the achievements of one’s career path, as on the skills gaps the individual aims to address in their future practice. Another important aspect to ponder on is Evaluation: the assessment of someone’s accomplishments needs to consider a deeper understanding of the complexities these achievements entail, therefore being constructively reflective is crucial to paving the path on which you see yourself growing and improving as a professional.

Having now a grasp of the foundations of Chartership, Val Walker followed up providing guidance on navigating the online resources (VLE) on CILIP’s website; a suggestion I will particularly take on board is to focus not only on my current job, but also on the other skills you want to learn.

GCU Librarian and CILIPS West Branch secretary, Heather Marshall explained how we could keep networking with members of CILIPS West Branch after this course, by going to their Chartership cafes.

It was good to have the perspective of a newly chartered information professional – school librarian Stephen Macpherson. A great piece of advice from him was to find a specific interest outside your actual job sphere and read up about it, while also recording your reaction to the articles you read. This made me realise I need to start keeping a Chartership journal! I keep all my library documents in a folder, but I’ve never thought about writing my impressions on the library articles I read.

Not getting too sunk in in our current job role was a point which was also emphasised by Val Walker: branching out is important as it makes you more versatile in your broader profession and widens your perspective; that also applies to the search for the right mentor who doesn’t necessarily have to be from your area (both workwise or geographically!).

Anna Herron, from the Professional Registration Assessment Board clarified what her and her colleagues at the PRAB are looking for in the fulfilment of the criteria for Chartership, ie. personal performance, organizational context, and wider professional context.

Personal performance is closely linked to the PKSB and relates to the review and evaluation of skills and training as a good evidence of what you are good at – one should remember to collect at least 20 pieces of evidence to demonstrate their skills. Organisational context can be fulfilled with a SWOT analysis of the organisation you’re working for (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), properly evaluating how well your organisation is performing and identifying what improvements could be made.

Partaking in this course really fuelled me with enthusiasm, and gave me the spring I needed to roll up my sleeves and get started on Chartership. When I started working in libraries, I used to see Chartership as something that I would start at some point when I had gained more experiences (by “more” I mean “A LOT OF”, in a quantity-over-quality kind of way); plus, I benefit from orientation and structure before starting on big projects, and this course gave me the guidance and clarity I needed.  I have learned that Chartership is not simply an end result where you display how good you are as a professional – it is rather the proof of a work in progress, in that the focus on our professional future must not get blurred by the pride we take in our past achievements. I understand now that Chartership is a documentation of an ongoing path during which we really will widen our field of vision in terms of professional ambitions and interests.  It provides the opportunity to take responsibility for our role as librarians and the impact we want to have on our profession, and to document all of this – which is really crucial in this trying times where the many roles of librarians are often not understood. We all have a big, positive impact in our communities, and presenting a proof of that will serve as a permanent reminder of its importance as a contributing force to the community we live in.

I have started the enrolment process on CILIP’s website and am now looking for a mentor. When I was at the ILS course at Strathclyde University, I was advised to wait a year into my profession before starting Chartership – I feel now that no matter when you feel ready to start, 6 months or 2 years into librarianship, you should start collecting what you do and read as soon as possible (either in a scrapbook or in a computer folder), as those would most likely all be evidence you can provide to obtain your Chartership.

For me, events like this really help a lot in refuelling the enthusiasm and learning new ideas. Getting started is easy and everyone was very welcoming. I wish I hadn’t felt like I wasn’t doing enough to “deserve” going to these events or start Chartership in the first place. Probably someone out there reading this also feels this way:  don’t. Just seriously email CILIPS (you could find your local Scottish branch at https://www.cilips.org.uk/branches-groups/ and Go To Things) with whatever question, because it feels like they really are there to help us. Following them on twitter is also a good idea: https://twitter.com/cilipswest

The day ended with a guided tour to the GCU library with Heather Marshall which was a perfect way to end this day of exploration and learning!