Last Friday (1st October) I attended the New Professionals Information Day at CILIP HQ, followed by the inaugural London LISnpn meet-up – what a day!
Before I say anything else, I’d like to put on record that I have not read any other blog posts about this event yet – I’ve spotted a few but wanted to get my own thoughts down first. Incidentally, it’s actually been quite a good incentive to make me write this sooner rather than later, as I’m really keen to see what other people have to say about it all!
I started with a vague intention of tweeting from the sessions, but quickly realised that I couldn’t combine listening with composing and typing Twitter-friendly snippets. After 7 years in university education, I can happily take notes with pen and paper whilst concentrating more-or-less fully on the speaker, but clearly my technological skills are less well-developed. I also noticed that there were several other people tweeting the same points as me, so I decided to leave them to it and stick to committing my thoughts to paper. Next time I attend something like that I will probably try to make some time between the sessions to tweet instead.
Without referring back to my notes, I would say that the thing which struck me most was the consistency of the messages coming out of the various sessions and keynotes. Time and time again we were told that technology in all its forms is key to both our profession and our own professional development, and that promoting oneself is a vital skill. Online social media provides the ultimate overlap between technology and the ego, and we can use this to take control of aspects ranging from career development to how we appear to the wider world.
I realise the speakers weren’t chosen entirely at random (at least, I don’t think they were!) so I was expecting some kind of overarching theme to the day, but hearing such excellent speakers delivering essentially the same points in a variety of interesting ways left me with a really powerful sense of what I can, should and want to do as a result of it all.
(Having now looked through my notes, I’ve realised that if I try to do anything with them here this will turn into a monster post, so I’ll cover the sessions I attended in more detail in a separate account!)
Overall, I thought the day was very well organised; for me the only minor quibble was the lack of name badges and a delegate list. I do appreciate the reason given for the former – that no badges would encourage people to talk to one another – but I think they can often work as an ice-breaker, particularly when institutional information (& Twitter name) is provided. I really liked the format whereby attending for just half the day would cover all the main elements of the programme, though as I live in London I decided to commit the whole day and see as many of the sessions as I could. Choosing which to attend was really hard, and I’m hoping content from the two I missed will appear online at some stage!
Once the NPID had drawn to a close, a group of us headed off to the pub to continue the conversation, which merged seamlessly into the LISnpn meet-up as other people joined us after work. I don’t know about the other attendees, but compared to the networking sessions during the day I certainly felt that I was much happier introducing myself to strangers after I’d had a beer, and that the more informal atmosphere also helped a lot (it’s a bit difficult to be shy and reserved when crammed onto a sofa!).
This was a really fun and worthwhile evening, and I can’t wait for the next one. It was great to put Twitter names to real faces, to start to get to know some people whose blogs and tweets I follow avidly, to catch up with existing friends and to start making new ones. I also liked the opportunity to chat to librarians at various stages of their new professional careers, from library school students to those who’ve been in post for a few years now, and sharing stories has helped me to put a few things of my own in perspective.
Huge thanks to all the organisers of a fantastic day, and to everyone who participated so enthusiastically too. I left feeling inspired and invigorated, and very glad to be part of such a wonderfully diverse and interesting profession.
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