Career Development Day for Library & Information Assistants

In February, Amy, James, Sue and I attended this event run by CPD25, which was aimed specifically at Library & Information Assistants. The event was held in the Hardy Room of the London Mathematical Society on Russell Square.

The day was divided into two: in the morning Jeremy Clark from Sue Hill Recruitment held a workshop on practical skills, such as how to build a CV/Portfolio, tips on applying for jobs and interview techniques. His presentation was mixed with several exercises on self-reflection and identifying skills/weaknesses.

After lunch we were treated to three presentations which focussed on similar themes, but from differing perspectives.

Rob Wannerton, Customer Relations Manager at Brunel, and Gary Clark, Assistant Director of Customer Services at Middlesex University, both talked about their experiences of moving from the charity and private sectors into higher education Libraries. Their emphasis was on the transferable nature of skills across sectors- this was particularly highlighted by Gary Clark who talked about how he has based frontline customer services at Middlesex on the Apple Store model. Neither speakers had a professional library qualification when they moved into their roles, and spoke at great lengths about the importance of harnessing the ideas and experience of frontline staff in order to formulate effective policies and strategies.

The third speaker was Bethan Ruddock, Content Development Officer (Library & Archival Services) at MIMAS, who also works with CILIP. Her pitch emphasised the possibilities of ‘thinking outside the library box’ when considering future career progression: don’t just apply for jobs which look the same as what you are doing/have done- think about the skills you have, how they can be looked at more broadly and applied to other areas, and think about what you would actually like to do in your next role.

I would say the session was useful- I would have preferred the morning workshop to have focussed more on the practical exercises, as much of the presentation covered familiar territory. The presentations after lunch were interesting, and there was opportunity to ask questions/chat to people if you so wished.

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