I admit that this is my first formal revalidation. It’s not that I haven’t been keeping up-to-date, just I hadn’t informed CILIP. This year has been different for two reasons; they broadened the types of valid CPD, so time spent on reading, presenting, social media etc all count towards the minimum 20 hours; and at the end of last year they launched a virtual learning environment to help with the administrative process.
After some false starts with the VLE, at the start of the year I started recording time and yesterday I added my final entry for 2014. The accompanying 250 word evaluative statement is designed to draw your learning experiences together, and encourage you reflect on certain aspects of it. They helpfully ask you to divide your experiences into three areas; personal performance, organisational context, and the wider professional context.
I confess I found this a useful exercise. Writing this statement at the end of the year – both from a calendar and CPD point of view – is an excellent opportunity to review and reflect on what I’ve achieved. There were some clear threads and themes in my professional development for this year, revolving around honing my writing style, social media in a professional context, networking, and being aware of legal developments in the information world.
My personal aim this year was to tighten up my written skills primarily in the context of short professional articles. Writing for this blog has been an excellent experience. Working within a limited word count and coming up with interesting ideas is both challenging and rewarding and provided an excellent foil to the academic style required for my MA History of Art. My improved ability to edit and simplify has greatly benefited all my writing.
From an organisational view point, in my position as library and information manager I advise lawyers on current affairs developments and trends. Given my interest and expertise in social media, I was invited to join the firm’s Cyber Investigation Unit in 2013. Made up primarily of lawyers, I've been instrumental in producing, editing and directing content for the firm's website and specialist blogs, as well as advising and educating team members. Giving talks to the firm about how we can use social media has really raised my profile and has personally been very satisfying.
Naturally, writing blog posts and being involved with developing the firm’s practice has personal implications, but it is interesting to reflect on how I have assisted from a broader information context. By going to events, talking to people in the firm, being on social media, all require the dreaded networking thing. Both on and off line, it is a fundamental part of library roles; information exchange, working practices and emotional support are all offered by contact with peers. By confronting my shyness during networking and assiduously practicing how to talk to other professionals, I’ve been able to share my experiences through my blogposts and on social media through #UKLibChat, where we exchanged valuable tips and advice.