My first professionally significant action of 2013 was to take a deep breath and press send on the email carrying my chartership portfolio to CILIP for assessment. Now that it’s all over (at least for the time being), I wanted to set down a few thoughts on the process and its benefits.I registered for chartership in December 2011, and backdated evidence describing some of my activities from earlier that year, so although I have only officially been chartering for the last year the portfolio encompasses around 18 months of work. This allowed me to include a couple of achievements I was really proud of, and to put them in the context of my continuing development over the period.
I have to admit that at times I found the process less than enjoyable (to be honest, I threw all my toys out of the pram at least once). This was mainly to do with the lack of clarity in some aspects of it, and the fact that it can seem like a lot of work for an uncertain outcome. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I became (voluntarily) unemployed halfway through 2012.
However, even in my grumpiest moments, there were some inescapable benefits to the whole thing, and those are what I’d like to focus on now. The most significant of these is that the chartership process encouraged me to get more involved with professional groups, not just being a passive member but volunteering to serve on committees and work on project teams. I have taken up all sorts of opportunities as a result, and it’s been great. I’m actually quite a shy person, so dragging myself out of my shell has been a good thing in all sorts of ways, and I’m pleased and surprised to discover that the habit appears to have stuck – I’m now much more open to potential opportunities, and I really like it.
Another benefit has been reflective thinking. I never used to reflect on things, and now I catch myself doing it a lot of the time. As well as encouraging me to make more out of learning opportunities it has also helped me become more self-aware, and more sensitive towards others too.
So although I very much hope that my portfolio is accepted, in some respects it doesn’t matter whether I pass or fail – the main thing is that the process has allowed me to develop my skills and professional attitude, and to improve myself as a result.
These improvements have also been a huge help in my transition to life in the US. Whereas before I would have really struggled to pluck up the courage to get involved with anything, I now have the right mindset to overcome that (it’s still a bit scary but I know it’s worth the effort!). Consequently, I’ve joined SLA, put myself forward for membership of a committee, am planning to join ALA next month and book for their Chicago conference, been to a New York librarians’ social meet-up group, have applied for several library volunteering positions, and am now just about to head out to an SLA networking lunch 🙂
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