CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Meet the Shortlist – Jennifer Findlay

Scotland's library and Information Professional of the Year Shortlist. Jennifer Findlay, 2023. CILIPS blue and grey logo. White paper background with mixed blue confetti around the outside.

Jennifer Findlay, Head of Library and Archives Service at the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.

Jennifer is currently taking part in the first CILIPS Career Mentoring programme, which launched in 2022, being paired up to provide support, guidance and a safe discussion space for an individual at the beginning of their information professional career. Being paired with a mentee based outside of Scotland has meant putting a lot of effort into planning meetings and discussions, as a virtual-only relationship could have made it more difficult to build the rapport which otherwise would have been created in person. The Career Mentoring programme has been a positive and impactful development, providing additional support to new entrants to the information management career. From January 2023 Jennifer also took up a role as a Trustee for CILIPS, as she wanted to contribute to discussions and developments in the sector, and ensure that a wide range of experience and expertise was available to support CILIPS staff in their work on behalf of the profession.

In 2021-22 Jennifer led a project to standardise job descriptions in Scottish Government libraries, which would enable library staff to more effectively advocate for their roles and appropriate grades for them by allowing clear and director comparators within the sector. Unfortunately this project was put on hold due to pandemic pressures but she hopes to revive it in the near future. Additionally, Jennifer wrote an article for Legal Information Management (LIM) journal which was published in 2022. The article explained the history of the court library service, its current role and future plans. It has helped both internally and externally to demystify the work of a library service which is often invisible and unrecognised due to its position as an internal support department within the civil service.

Since joining the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service in 2015 Jennifer has transformed the service from a two person team covering a small part of the organisation, to a five person service covering the whole organisation, while also leading the multiyear process of securing regrades of all posts to better reflect their responsibilities. In 2021 she drafted a Service Purpose statement which was agreed by the Lord President, head of the judiciary in Scotland. This document defines the library service functions, clarifies responsibilities, and helps to set expectations for users of the service.

Jennifer has recently undertaken the creation of a future archive of judicial writings, which will launch in Spring 2023 and will focus on gathering materials created by the judiciary to enable future access by researchers. Also leading in the creation of a Digital Doors Open Day offering for the Supreme Courts in 2020, expanding the content in 2021 and running it simultaneously with the in-person event in 2022 – she intends to continue developing this public engagement work. Jennifer has developed a schedule of decoration for library spaces and delivery of innovative engagement activities for other departments, which has cemented the positive reputation and support for the role of the library service within the organisation.

Jennifer has been involved in the profession in a number of ways over the course of her career so far, within recent years moving her focus from her own development to encouraging and supporting the development of others. Since becoming Chartered in 2012 Jennifer has taken on multiple mentees, with five mentees to date successfully achieving Chartership. After gaining Fellowship in 2017, she switched her focus to mentoring Fellowship applicants, successfully overseeing two mentees through the Fellowship process so far. Jennifer encourages and supports the professional development of her team at work, creating a focus on Professional Registration and wider sector engagement within the team.

Having also held roles in professional bodies relevant to her sector, from a period in 2006-2013 holding a range of roles including Convenor in the Scottish Law Librarians Group (SLLG), to being Regional Representative for Special Libraries Association (SLA) Europe 2013-2014. Between 2013-2017 Jennifer co-founded, co-ran and created relevant content for Informed, a website specifically created to allow a voice for those in the information profession on a range of issues. Since taking up her current post in 2015 she has worked with local universities to provide placement opportunities for postgraduate students on information studies courses. Through development of relevant projects they could take ownership of, Jennifer ensured that this process provided them with a useful and relevant experience to assist them in their future career.

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