CILIP Yorkshire and Humberside and NLPN ‘Get Career Ready’ 21st March 2015.
As someone who has only been involved in the library profession since the commencement of my graduate traineeship in December 2014 it seemed that the CILIP and NLPN ‘Get Career Ready’ event in Sheffield would be a useful event to attend. I cannot actually remember how I found out about it, although I am pretty sure it was through CILIP or NLPN or most likely, Twitter. I am not sure if this counts as a conference but it involved meeting people and listening to presentations so I am going to count it as one.
I was encouraged as a graduate trainee to attend networking events and professional development events and this was a free CILIP event. I was able to attend the event on work time which I was very appreciative of. They also paid for my train tickets to go down to London to the BIALL, CLSIG & SLA Europe Graduate Open Day which was a free event aimed at new professionals, graduate trainees, early career librarians and students, so I have been really lucky in that I haven’t had to pursuade anyone to let me go.
The “Get Career Ready” event was the first conference I have attended since starting my work in libraries and it was a fantastic one to start with. It was a little bit daunting for me to enter a room full of library professionals and library school students (and prospective ones). I had a preconceived idea that everyone would be a lot more experienced and I would not have anything overly useful to add to the group discussions and activities. I was of course wrong as I felt comfortable engaging with the activities and networking with the group who were all very friendly.
I used the good old traditional pen and paper method of taking notes and I think I prefer it that way. I like to keep paper copies of my notes in files so I can go back to them at a later date. I can better express my opinions and ideas on paper than when I am typing notes so it’s more useful when I come to reflect on them at a later date.
People talked honestly about their experiences and their insecurities and this helped me to realise that I am not alone in mine. There were four presentations that were all very different and interesting. One speaker talked about her experiences and concerns about moving from public sector libraries to academic libraries. This made me realise that even super qualified and experienced people still have moments where they second guess themselves. You just need to be confident in your own abilities.
Other speakers talked about their first professional positions. Listening to the five talented speakers and talking to several others during the speed networking hour, opened my eyes to the variety of work available to library professionals. But the main thing I took away from the experience was that there are many support networks and networking events out there. People within the world of libraries are encouraging and supportive and are always happy to help.
I am attending the upcoming LISDIS conference which is a new conference where recent graduates can talk about the research they completed as part of their dissertations. I think it is a fantastic idea because so much time and effort goes into them and then they just end up on a shelf, unloved and gathering dust. I know my undergraduate dissertation is living in a box under my bed. I am hoping to get some dissertation tips and advice as I will be doing my own MA dissertation next year, so if I can get a leg up and find some inspiration that will be an added bonus on top of finding out about brand new research. From the events I’ve attended I will probably try and take better notes and try not to worry about meeting new people. I do find it difficult sometimes to just start conversations with people, but once we’ve said hello, it is usually all OK. I think meeting new people is something that will always create a tiny bit of anxiety but everyone is lovely and I’ve had no problems so far.