Career paths

Things 10 and 11 on the CPD23 programme are all about paths into librarianship and progression once you’re there. Two years ago I blogged about my route into librarianship – please go and read that post before continuing here, if only because it’s got my best ever opening line.

So now you’ll know that I fell into the profession. When I set out I didn’t know about the graduate trainee scheme, but I sure wish I had. I first heard about it when I started working at the University of Oxford; each year they have a cohort of around 20 trainees. From the outside it seems like a really valuable experience and a great way to learn some new skills and work out if librarianship is the career for you. While I was at Oxford Laura Wilkinson was responsible for the trainee programme and she set up the graduate trainee blog. In its second year it’s still going strong and is worth a read for an insight into what the trainees get up to.

A Path Through Darkness Often Leads to a by bbsc30, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  bbsc30 

I did a full-time Masters in Information and Library Management at the University of Northumbria. In the last few weeks I’ve learnt that this course is no longer running in this format and can only be done now by distance learning. On the whole I think that this is a good thing. While there were some great benefits of doing the course full-time – it only took a year and had face-to-face lectures through which a community was built up – I feel that I would have got much more out of it had I been working in a library at the same time. Some people on the course did work throughout but I think they would admit that managing the two was often a stretch. By far and away the best part of the course therefore was the placement where we actually got to put into prtactice the theory we had learnt.

Since taking on my first professional post I have toyed with the idea of Chartership. However I just can’t see the benefit for me. It’s a lot of work and these days I rarely see it as a prerequisite for jobs I might apply for. If I were to do any additional qualifications I think it would be in something more practical and useful to my career progression such as teaching or marketing.

Throughout my career I have had what I would consider to be two informal mentors; Andy Priestner and the aforementioned Laura Wilkinson. Whether they are aware of this I’m not sure. I respect both of them professionally and have sought advice from them on a variety of different topics. Where I feel they have helped me most though is as sounding boards. I will often go to them just to bounce ideas around and inevitably come away clear in my mind about how I will progress.

Everyone loves Evernote…

Reebok Stadium, Horwich, Greater Manches by Matthew Wilkinson, on Flickr23 Things for Continued Professional Development has done for Evernote what a 4-0 win on the opening day of the new football season has done for Bolton Wanderers – put it suddenly and unexpectedly at the top of the table. Having been on the fringes for a long time Evernote now seems to be taking its place alongside the big boys of social media.


One good thing about being a few steps behind the rest of the CPD23 participants is that I get to see what they are writing about a tool before I write my post. Most of the posts and tweets I have seen written about Evernote have been positive and if the authors are not completely sold on it then they are at least open to giving it a try. That seems like a pretty good achievement to me, especially when we’ve seen other tools like Pushnote that have hardly been given the time of day.

I’ve had an Evernote account for just short of two years. When I started using it I was clipper happy but that only lasted a month or two before my account went dormant. And for at least a year it remained neglected. Recently however I’ve started using it again in earnest and it’s become a valuable tool in my arsenal.

So what changed? Well the main thing was that I had a real reason to use it. It has become my digital scrapbook and holding pen for things I want to blog about. I keep a notebook of links for my monthly reading round-up posts and jot down ideas for posts as they occur to me. The other thing that changed was that I became mobile. For so many social media tools the ability to access them anywhere and anytime is a crucial factor in my use of them, and Evernote is no exception.

Bolton Wanderers’ future at the top hangs in the balance as they take on Manchester City this weekend. Can they win and hold their position for a second week in a row? Evernote is in a similar position; can it maintain its place as the web clipping tool du jour? The crucial test, for me at least, is whether Evernote will remain part of my everyday routine. If so, I think it has longevity, but I’m all too aware that my account could easily slip into hibernation once more.

Image credit:  Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License by Matthew Wilkinson

Calendar complex

I have a complex about calendars or more specifically, Google Calendar.

Calendars are great, especially online calendars which can be shared with colleagues or loved ones.

I am super efficient about updating my Outlook calendar at work. I use it not only for appointments but also to schedule in time when I need to be working on something specific. This calendar is shared with colleageus so they can see where I am and schedule meetings. I do not have a print diary, instead I sync my Outlook calendar to a Google Calendar which I can access on my phone. Some of my colleagues however are wedded to print diaries and that’s fine if it works for them. But oh how I wish they would also maintain their Outlook calendars, if only so that I can better help students and staff who are trying to track them down.

So you will see that I mentioned before that I do have a Google Calendar. This is my personal calendar and I am useless at updating it. I’m not sure whether that’s because in reality there’s nothing much I need to put in it or whether because I have access to my wife’s Google Calendar, and she’s so good at updating, that I rely on that to see where I need to be and when. I am taking this thing as a prompt to help me get better at updating my Google Calendar. It’s not like it’s difficult, or that I don’t have it when I need it as it’s on my phone which I carry pretty much everywhere. It’s about getting in to a habit of entering events as they are arranged.