#citylis Focus on Alumni: Unchart(ership)ed territories by Kathryn Drumm

Focus on Alumni is our series of blog posts featuring or written by #citylis alumni. In this post, Kathryn Drumm writes about starting the CILIP Chartership programme.

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Kathryn Drumm at the City, University of London Service Desk

Kathryn Drumm at the City, University of London Service Desk

This year, I have embarked on the process of CILIP chartership. I have to get to grips with reflective writing, so I thought that I would resurrect my blog to chart my progress and to record the visits and training I undertake as part of the process.

I have to admit that I am still slightly sketchy on the whole process of chartership. I have signed on the CILIP website, paid my fees and borrowed a copy of Building Your Portfolio from the library, but I’m still paddling in the shallows of the process rather than launching myself into the deep end.

One of the main reasons that I decided to pursue chartership is that I still sometimes feel like I’m faking being a librarian. I spent 19 years working in broadcasting. I started out as  a subtitler, providing subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on pre-recorded and later live TV programmes. I then progressed on to positions where I trained and managed the subtitling teams – creating rotas, managing workflows, dealing with unexpected technical issues. Later still, I moved into a role where I liaised with clients, ensuring that we provided a service which met their Ofcom targets, their audience expectations and their planned budget. But after almost 20 years in the business, I was jaded and stressed. When a restructure offered the chance of redundancy, I accepted.

The question was, what to do next?  A few years before, intrigued by a neighbour who worked as a librarian for Time Out, I had researched library science courses. However at that time, you had to have at least one year’s experience working in a library to enrol. But by the time I started looking in 2013, City University (now City, University Of London) were offering a masters in either Library or Information Science, which did not have this requirement. All they asked for was a genuine interest and enthusiasm in the subject.

As luck would have it, they were hosting an opening evening the following week. I attended, applied and in September 2013, started my masters in Information Science.

Part of the way through the year, a post appeared on our Moodle notice board. The Library at City was looking for a SCONUL trainee. They had advertised two posts originally but only filled one, and so were offering the second post to our class. I applied, thinking that at the very least I would get some interview experience. Instead, I got the post.

In September 2014, I started at City. The role consisted of six months in the Cass Business School library, and six months in the digitisation and copyright team. Two months before my year was due to end, I applied for and got a position as a senior information assistant in the User Services team. All my experience of managing workflows and dealing with difficult clients translated nicely to scheduling the library service desk and dealing with difficult students.

It was great to be able to jump from an information assistant to senior information assistant role so early in my library career. But I do still get bouts of imposter syndrome. Am I a “proper” librarian? I’ve never catalogued a book. I still have to look things up when advising students on referencing. I’m a bit shaky on how to find resources for law or nursing students.

I came to the relisation that I need to address the gaps in my knowledge, and chartership seemed to be the perfect way to do it. The library sponsors one person a year to carry out their chartership, paying their CILIP membership and registration fees. Not only do I feel I have the support of the department, I also feel an added level of obligation to complete my chartership in good time. I sometimes need a little extra motivation!

So, I’ve registered and now I just need to take the first steps along the path of chartership. Next – how to work out exactly what I do know and, more importantly, what I don’t.

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This post was originally published on Kathryn’s blog, Off the Shelf. You can follow Kathryn Drumm on Twitter as @dourgirl.

If you are interested in studying Library and Information Science, our next Open Evening is on February 15th from 5.30-7.30pm – you can book your place here.

If you are a current #citylis student or alumni and would like to contribute a post, please contact our Editor, James Atkinson.  It would great to hear from other people doing Chartership or telling us about what they have done since graduation.

About James

Information Assistant (Academic Services) in the Library at City, University of London.
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