cpd23: Thing 12 – Role of social media

For Thing 12, we are asked to consider the role of social media in building up networks and a sense of community.

  • Are there any other advantages to social networking in the context of professional development than those already outlined in the post?
    You get to know new colleagues, their opinions and attitudes as well as very useful resources.
  • Can you think of any disadvantages?
    If you wish, you may limit your participation to a passively engagement in the online communities. Shyness of the real world translates to the online world as well. You have to consciously decide what you want to make public and what needs to stay private. Gossip just can’t be shared online.
  • Has CPD23 helped you to make contact with others that you would not have had contact with normally? Yes.
  • Did you already use social media for your career development before starting CPD23? Will you keep using it after the programme has finished?
    Partly (writing posts in the BreBiStaT weblog), but not in a structured way. I will keep using it after the programme has finished.
  • In your opinion does social networking really help to foster a sense of community?
    Yes, but at a certain stage it also needs to be taken into the real world. I have added a few more weblogs and tweets that I will follow for a while.

Photo: Butterfly in Brecon Beacon NP, Wales, July 2011.


cpd23: Thing 11 – Mentoring

Thing 11 looks at mentoring providing great introductory reading tips. According to Teri R. Switzer’s “Mentoring: A First Step on the Road to Success“, good mentors:

  • “Provide support by being an attentive listener, offering encouragement about your potential for success, being willing to collaborate on projects, and creating a safe environment that encourages risk-taking and provides the opportunity to develop professionally and personally.
  • Initiate sponsorship and share power by encouraging participation in professional committees, offering
    to co-author papers or presentations, and endorsing your research.
  • Demystify the system by explaining how the library or organization works, who is who on the campus or
    within the community, what skills and competencies are needed to excel, how to advance, and what to
    avoid along the way.
  • Nurture your dreams and support aspirations by affirming your strengths and potential.
  • Foster networks by introducing you to others in the field and encouraging you to seek the advice of others.”

I think, the perception “that most mentoring takes place without either mentor or mentee thinking of it as a mentoring process.” (Shontz 2002) totally applies to me. I probably fall in the “self-managed mentoring” category (Freedman 2008):

“In this mentoring relationship, a mentee is responsible for and proactive about his/her own professional development by seeking mentoring-type relationships as the need arises. A person has a number of mentors simultaneously, each collaborating to develop the particular strengths of a mentee.”

I have some very encouraging library management as well as colleagues and friends in the library world and beyound, acting as informal mentors giving their opinion and advice freely on career plans and professional opportunities.

In the course of this week’s tasks, I had a look at formal mentorship programs. I had a closer look at

  • the BIB@Mento – the one-year BIB mentoring programme, but I have been working for more than 8 years in libraries and I am not sure, if I will still qualify as newcomer.

I might also look into mentorship opportunities for women in leadership. There are

I will keep these ideas in mind and put it on my agenda for next year. However, as I like the idea of reflecting on decisions, strategies and background information, I am going to start to keep a journal.

Photo: Breacon Beacons National Park, Wales, July 2011.

cpd23: Thing 10 – Routes into librarianship

For this week’s Thing 10, I am looking at my route into librarianship:
Why did I join the career?
Where am I now?
How did I get there?
What am I planning to do next?

Why did I join librarianship?
From a very young age, I have always loved to read books, combing through the great collection of the public libraries nearby. I loved the quiet and studious atmosphere as well as the idea of advising people on books and the best way to find the required information. During one of my school holidays, I completed an internship at the Department for Children and Youth Books at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – and it didn’t change my mind.

Where am I now?
I am deputy librarian in the Branch Library for Engineering and Social Sciences at Staats- und Universitaetsbibliothek Bremen. I am responsible for the collection development in various subject areas as well as information literacy instruction for several bachelor and master degree programmes. I like to be in contact with students, faculty and staff, providing individual consultations and pointing out important ressources.

How did I get there?
In Germany, in the time after the Bologna process, there are three levels of training in librarianship, corresponding with the middle, upper and senior grade of the library track of the civil service:

  • FaMI (Fachangestellte für Medien- und Informationsdienste) / media and information service specialist, a three 3 year state-approved professional training programme;
  • bachelor in librarianship, a three-year degree programme at a university (of applied sciences);
  • bachelor/master in another subject + (a master degree in librarianship OR the Referendariat, a two-year traineeship).

During the last few years, universities of applied sciences started to offer master programmes in librarianship that follow-on from the respective bachelor (konsekutiv). Although they qualify for the senior grade (höherer Dienst) of the civil service (if stated in the accreditation), it will be interesting to see how the job market and the libraries’ employment policies react to graduates with both the B.A. + M.A. in librarianship in the next few years. There has been quite a controversy what constitutes the characteristics of librarians working in the senior grade (see also the VDB statement on accepted alternatives).

For me: I completed a four-year diploma in librarianship at the Faculty of Information Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam in 2002 (diploma thesis) and a doctoral dissertation at the Berlin School of Library and Information Science at Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin in 2010.
Before my current position, I worked as technical services librarian in a smaller library at a private university, gaining comprehensive background knowledge about publishers and electronic resources.

What am I planning to do next?
In my current position, I am walking down a cul-de-sac: In my current grouping, I will reach the end of the pay scale in 2 years (with 30 years of my working life still ahead of me). Apparently, according to the regulations, my doctoral degree (following-on a diploma by a university of applied sciences) is not the admission ticket to the senior grade of the library track of the civil service. I have been strongly encouraged to complete a (university) master degree either in library science or in management.  Other roads to go:

  • to take part in continuing education courses in leadership (unfortunately, there is no chartership or certification),
  • to broaden my knowledge in information literacy instruction,
  • to expand my professional network
  • and – if the opportunities arise – to place some publications.

It is probably going to stay interesting for a while.

Further reading
„Broker von Informationsdienstleistungen“ – Berufsbild Bibliothekar (Goethe-Institut, Feb 2011)

Photo: At Talybont Reservoir, Wales, July 2011.

cpd23: Thing 9 – Evernote

Evernote, introduced in Thing 9, is completely new to me. Reading through the descriptions, I was reminded a little bit of

  • Delicious – saving bookmarks mainly for work;
  • reference management software (Bibliographix or Citavi) – saving references and screen-shots/pdf-print-outs of webpages as well as ideas.
  • WebCite – archiving webpages online and providing a stable URL

At first sight, Evernote looks nice. I like the option of accessing my account from every computer at work or at home. I am also intrigued by the Web Clipper, saving the image/website online.

I am starting to use Evernote as a tool for taking reflective notes, for archiving webpages on the latest professional development opportunities, reports and news in the information literacy area. It may also become my new to-do-list… Looks as if there is a lot out there that does the same thing – I just have to find out what works best for me.

Photo: Miere / Stitchwort, Harz, Germany, July 2011.

cpd23: Thing 8 – Google Calendar

I have experimented with Google Calendar (Thing 8) a few years ago. So far, I am still putting all my dates and meetings in a traditional calendar book, none of my friends or colleagues etc. are using it, conference or seminar dates cannot be uploaded automatically. Although I see the potential, I don’t see any additional value in it for me at the moment. May change in the future, though.

Photo: Quedlinburg, Harz, Germany, July 2011.

cpd23: Thing 7 – Face2Face Networks and PD

Thing 7 is continuing Thing 6 – taking networking from the online to the real world.

German library associations and formal publications
I am a member of the German librarians’ association BIB (Berufsverband Information Bibliothek e.V.). I am reading BIB’s journal BuB – Buch und Bibliothek, staying up-to-date on issues and current topics as well as following the news and publications of its committees and working groups. Although I receive the newsletter and subscribe to the mailing-list of the BIB regional group for Lower Saxony and Bremen, I am not actively contributing to any of the association’s groups.
In addition to BuB, I am reading the Bibliotheksdienst, journal of the Bibliothek & Information Deutschland (BID) (the German association for all library and information associations) and the VDB-Mitteilungen, journal of the Verein Deutscher Bibliothekare.
Others: Ver.di
The German union Ver.di may be another network for professional purposes. In June, they published the devastating results of a survey about working conditions in German libraries (Gute Arbeit: humble opportunities of advancement, low salaries). I am also disappointed by the quiet – and very late public – communication of the terrible results of the last negotiations on pay scale grouping for librarians (no opportunities of advancement for bachelor graduates, lower salaries).

German library associations and training and development & structured professional development and qualifications
I attend the Deutscher Bibliothekartag (celebrating its 100th anniversary this year) on a regular basis catching up with former colleagues, acquaintances from internships and fellow students from Potsdam and Berlin.
I also have a look at training seminars and other events organised by BIB and other library associations. However, most of the training opportunities are available with library schools as well as local training networks (ZBIW Köln, Weiterbildungszentrum FU Berlin, bibfin, bib-fib).

International organisations
As I am very interested in information literacy, I keep up-to-date by checking out publications of CILIPs Information Literacy Group, ACRL’s Information Literacy working groups as well as IFLA’s Information Literacy Section. I have been involved in the German translation of the IFLA Express in 2003. In the last month, I contributed to the German translation of the Information literacy logo marketing manual.

Informal organisations
I am one of the organizers of a librarians’ regular table in Bremen BreBiStaT. We meet once a month, chatting and visiting various libraries. I want to check out the Library Society of the World.

German library associations are offering some support and information. I hold a BIB membership that gives me the most benefit at the moment. I read quite a lot of publications, however I am not involved in face-to-face networks beyond my colleagues and former fellow students. Expanding this network is something I need to work on and I hope it will get easier over the years.

Photo: Kleiner Fuchs/Small tortoiseshell, Harz, Germany, July 2011.