Tag Archives: PTLLS

Looking forward to LibraryCamp!

I’ve had a busy few weeks between work and Brownies commitments (and a bit of a cake theme across the lot!) so it’s only today I’ve been able to say that the final countdown to LibraryCamp has started – it’s on Saturday!

There’s a list of proposed sessions available on the wiki and for this blog post I thought it might be nice to make a note of the ones I was thinking of attending – but there’s far more than I thought so the ones I end up going to will probably depend on my mood on the day!

  • Encouraging Innovation – My Library Service has actually won some  awards for innovation, so this might be interesting to see what everyone else is doing and share our experiences
  • Dramatic Confidence… – Doing presentations always makes me nervous so this could be useful to pick up some tips!
  • Learning to Teach – again I have some experience in this area having recently done my PTLLS qualification, so I might drop in and share my experiences of this
  • For Future Reference – this session is about modern library services and I think this is particularly relevant to Health Libraries as we try to encourage Evidence Based Practice and using up to date references – a clichéd view of ‘dusty old books in the library’ is not what we want!
  • Create a National Public Libraries Website – while I don’t work in a Public Library I do have experience of web development, so I might offer to lend some of my knowledge to this project!
  • Advance Social Media in Libraries – this looks like a useful one, especially for me with our Library working to promote our presence of Twitter and Facebook – and I’ll be bringing along my copy of ‘Building Communities…’ that I recently reviewed if anyone wants to have a look at this useful book!
  • Tips to Librarians of the Future – the idea here is everyone adds to a book with their tips on Librarianship – and as a budding Librarian I am very interested to see what tips I can pick up from the other LibraryCampers!
  • Open Source Toolkit for Librarians – again, web tools and techniques are right up my alley so this could be a very interesting session and hopefully I’ll come away with lots of ideas!

There’s over 30 session proposals at the moment, and I imagine there will be some last minute additions too so this list is by no means final! Other session suggestions include ‘How to engage reluctant readers’, ‘Copyright Ninjas – Rebels with a Cause’ and a game of ‘Mafia’!

It is also traditional to bring cake:

… bring enthusiasm. Bring ideas. Bring cakes.

but having recently baked cakes for the Brownies Christmas Fayre (last Saturday) and the Library’s charity cake sale (yesterday) I’m seriously considering no-bake cake as my contribution!


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My Experience of CILIP Certification

Earlier this week I attended a Certification and Chartership workshop – not as a delegate this time, but as a Speaker! I work locally with the West Midlands Candidate Support Officer (CSO) and he knew that I had finished my CILIP Certification at the end of last year so he invited me to come and speak about my experiences, and I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you!

The candidates I spoke to were mostly Chartership candidates, but I think that a lot of my advice is fairly universal (and one of the Chartership candidates told I’d been helpful so I’m obviously not too far off the mark!)


Read around for CV advice. There is tons of advice available online and from books (try your local library!) and without it I wouldn’t have thought to include sections like ‘Publications’ or ‘Professional Activities’ – have you written for a newsletter? attended a conference? do you sit on a committee? This can all go on your CV (and then get linked to evidence!)

Also – don’t be afraid to rearrange your work history. My library experience is dotted around having done voluntary work and then come back into the sector a few years later. So I had a separate section for ‘Library Experience’ and then ‘Other Work History’ in order to draw attention to the library work. I also focussed the job descriptions in my other posts on transferable skills that I use regularly in my library work.

Personal Statement

For Certification there is a template to fill in – but my advice here is not to be afraid to open a new document and start again. My final submission looks nothing like my first draft – only partly because I took on a new job role with new skills and responsibilities I wanted to talk about. Just remember to keep a copy of the previous draft just in case you change your mind or want to borrow a few things from it!

Personal Development Plan

Again, my submission looks nothing like my first draft, but this is because I changed roles and I identified things I needed to learn as a part of this. If you’re not sure what to put down, look backwards; you can backdate your portfolio to two years before your submission date. Look at what training courses you’ve done and add those in. Have a look at what courses are on offer locally and ask yourself how they might be useful to you; you might identify a need you hadn’t thought of before. You can also look at other portfolios (from your CSO, or on the CILIP website) and see what other people have put down. This was where I realised that you can include a long term aim, such as Chartership for Certification candidates, and list it as ongoing.

Supporting Letter

Obviously this is the section that people have the least control over – but if you have changed jobs while doing your portfolio like I did you may decide to have your previous Line Manager do yours. Having stayed within the same employer my Line Managers discussed this amongst themselves and decided that the previous Line Manager was in a better position to write the letter as he’d worked with me longer.


This is the main part of the portfolio – but also I think, the scariest! You can include everything including but not limited to:

  • photos – of display boards you’ve done, library visits you’ve undertaken etc
  • notes – of visits, meetings, events, trainings
  • publications – newsletters (local, national, internal), journals articles, blog posts
  • meeting minutes
  • certificates – especially for training identified in your PDP
  • screenshots – showing web editing skills or blog posts
  • flyers/posters/leaflets – especially if they’re new not just updated ones

I found it useful to have a folder full of options and I picked the ten or so best options, but find a system that works for you. I also tried to vary my evidence so it didn’t all look that same i.e. just notes or just certificates.

Top Tips

For Certification candidates my advice is to get a Mentor. It’s not compulsory, but it is extremely useful. I didn’t have anyone on my workplace with experience of Certification so I found it helpful to be able to ask someone if my Personal Statement was on the right track and if my Development plans were suitable. For Chartership candidates, it’s get a mentor early; the earlier you start this relationship the easier the whole process is.

I would also recommend getting a Mentor outside of your sector; someone who isn’t familiar with your specialist terms and work practices who will ask for more details (there’s no guarantees the assessors will be in your sector so it’s best to explain these things just in case!)

I also recommend that Certification candidates do the CPD Audit, which again isn’t compulsory. I didn’t think I’d done much CPD but when my mentor gave me the form I went through the last 12 months in my diary and wrote down everything from courses (internal and external), information days, library visits and was shocked by how much I had actually done! I recommend Chartership Candidates do this too, you may surprise yourself!

What’s Next?

For me and my Professional Development it’s Chartership, but in the meantime, and probably afterwards as well, I plan to continue making a list of the courses/ CPD events I attend. It’s a useful reminder for yourself, as well as being very handy when it comes time for your annual appraisal! I also plan to continue with the PDP; writing down goals, however long term, and setting myself a deadline is a system that works for me, and without identifying a need and setting myself a target date I wouldn’t have pushed myself to do the PTLLS course either!


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Happy Birthday!

I’m ashamed to admit, but I didn’t notice that it had been one year since I started my blog until a notification popped up from WordPress!

Screenshot of my Anniversary notification from WordPress

My Anniversary notification from WordPress

A lot has changed since I wrote my first posts – my first CPD23 post offers a nice insight into my progress over the last year: I’ve completed, and passed, my ACLIP Certification as well as carrying on with my blog past CPD23, a small goal, but one I’ve reached nonetheless!

Professionally I’ve joined the CILIP Career Development Group (West Midlands) committee and settled into my role as Vice-Chair. I’ve even joined the organising committee for our upcoming Librarians as Teachers event. The start of last year also saw me move into a new role at work, which I am now fully settled into – and still loving it! My new role has given me the chance to get involved with doing literature searches for clinical staff as well as get involved with the Training the Library runs.

This flows nicely into my next achievement; I’m now half way through my Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector (PTLLS) course, a training need I identified during my ACLIP, but haven’t had time to focus on until now. I’m learning lots of new things, and I’m planning a blog post to summarise it all when I have all of my assignments out of the way (so sometime in late June when I finish!)

Another skill I’ve learnt from doing this blog is using WordPress itself. It sounds obvious, but since I’ve started blogging our Library has redesigned it’s website – and we’re using WordPress.org as a Content Management System. I wasn’t responsible for designing and building the site, but I am one of the content contributors and being familiar with WordPress has given me a big head start in getting everything set up and posted. I also built a website for the Librarians as Teachers  event I’m helping to organise. We needed something, quick, simple and cheap – so to me WordPress was an obvious solution. I can add pages from work, or from home, and if we’d needed to I could have added other team members to the admin. It was also really easy last week to update it when we booked the last available place – less than five minutes later I’d logged in and updated the website.

It’s hard to believe a year has passed by so quickly, hopefully the next 12 months will bring lots more good news with it. To be honest, a majority of my aims for the next year aren’t professional, but once my PTLLS is out of the way, I plan on looking a bit more closely at Chartership – particularly finding out if I can undertake it in my current job role, which I’m hopeful I can. I won’t be able to submit until November 2014, but I think I can easily be ready by then to do so.

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Organising Events

Sorry for the long break between posts – but recently I have been so busy I honestly haven’t had time! I’m doing my PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) course at a local college as I’m hoping it will help improve my Training skills At the very least it’s a qualification, as well as being something I identified on my ACLIP PDP. Staying late at college on Wednesdays combined with my latest attempt to actually use my gym membership as well as all of my other usual commitments hasn’t left me with a lot of time lately, but I feel like I’m finally settling into a routine!

One of the commitments that’s taking up most of my thoughts, if not the hours in my day, is organising various events. For over two years now, I’ve been a member of the West Midlands Health Libraries Network’s  Para-Professionals group which organises training events for Library and Information Assistants. Last October I attended our event on High Impact Displays, which was very useful and we’re planning to running it again, although it looks like this will be next year now, so this year we’re planning to run a session on Information Search Skills in May.

I also sit on the Committee for the West Midlands Division of the CILIP Career Development Group and we are working with the Academic and Research Libraries Group (ARLG) to run a ‘Librarians as Teachers Event’ in June. I’m in charge of the publicity for this one, which includes the event’s website as well as posting to the CILIP WM Facebook page and promoting the event on Twitter  and co-ordinating sending messages to various mailing lists. I’m gaining invaluable experience doing this – even in my role with the Para-Professional Group our courses don’t get advertised this widely so I tend not to have the range of opportunities that the LAT event has opened up.

Moving forward I think that one day I’d like to get involved with organising larger, even national, events – although I might practise with local ones for a bit longer!!

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