Tag Archives: reflective practice

Pros and Cons of sitting on Committees

As a tangent on a CILIP Chartership reflection I started writing this list. Did you know that CILIP has 1700 volunteers doing 55,000 hours of work a year? Here’s my reasons for and against why you should join them!


1) You get to meet a lot of people…

In my various roles I’ve attended small local events and big national ones and I’ve met loads of people and had lots of different conversations with them. I’m a people person, I love doing this! Usually the conversation is library/work related (especially for conferences and workshops etc) but sometimes it isn’t and I enjoy this networking opportunity. I don’t always feel like I make the most of them all the time but sometimes I do, like when I organised a look around the new library in Telford: I met the person I needed to arrange it with at the CILIP AGM a few months beforehand!

2) …from lots of different sectors of librarianship.

Naturally some events are going to attract a specific type of librarian (for example the Librarians as Teachers events I’ve organised mostly attract academic and FE/HE librarians) but some are open to everyone and with a bit confidence you can find out about their sector. Most of what I know about Law Librarians came from a conversation with one at a CILIP AGM.

3) Visit other libraries

Maybe you’re like me and you just like seeing what other libraries look like, and maybe you want new ideas for layouts/displays/seating arrangements, but because most of our events are hosted in other libraries you get a chance to explore a wide range of them when attending and hosting events. Some events are even put on with this express purpose (see 1 above!)

4) Learn a range of skills

Want experience handling money? Be a treasurer (or start small and run the account for an event!) Want experience with Social Media? With event organising? Chairing a meeting? Join a committee! You can start small, chair one meeting when the Committee Chair can’t make it. Organise a small one-off networking event. Run the Social Media account(s) for a day because you’re at the conference anyway. Committee work is a great way to pick up new skills, brush up rusty ones or just do something for the love of it!

5) Improve your juggling skills!

I learnt this one the hard way, but juggling non-work commitments on top of work ones takes a little getting used to! Thankfully most of the tasks on a committee are flexible, and don’t take up too much time in one go.


1) Attending meetings

I always feel like this is the biggest hurdle for some people joining committees, and as one of the biggest commitments to the committee I can see why. Some bosses are less flexible about their staff attending on ‘work’ time, combine this with travel or childcare issues and sometimes I wonder why we bother trying to have physical meetings at all! But modern technology makes it easier to be on the committee even when you can’t attend meetings in person. The West Midlands committee have enough Academic Librarians on it to have been able to set up a JiscMail mailing list just for committee members (other emailing systems are available!), and we have a lot of discussion on it some weeks! We’ve also experimented with Skype meetings. When we have physical meetings we alternate the time of our meetings between daytime and evening so that everyone can attend at least two out of four meetings a year, and our travel expenses are paid by the committee, so you don’t need to shell out for these either!

2) Not having enough time

Some people genuinely don’t have a lot of time spare, I understand that (and some weeks I am that!) but it doesn’t mean you can’t contribute! A lot of roles lend themselves to job sharing (the previous CSO in the West Midlands was job shared) or even be a committee member ‘without portfolio’: which is just the posh term for being a committee member without a designated job/officer role. It means you can pick up tasks and odd jobs when you can, and still have a say in what goes on with the committee regarding bigger issues and events.


TLDR: Join a CILIP committee! You’ll get more out of it than you expect!
I have genuinely loved working on CILIP Committees, yes it’s hard work, but in my experience all the most rewarding tasks are! They are also fun! I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life (and library sectors!) and while organising events can be hard work, it’s always great to see them go off as planned and to hear how much people appreciate it.


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Filed under Chartership, CILIP

Sharing Practice

Last week I posted on my Library’s blog about our Healthcare Assistants Training half-day, in order to advertise the last few spots available for the session we ran on Tuesday.  This was the third such session we’d run in about 12 months and we’ve always had positive feedback about the session and it’s content.

On Tuesday, shortly after the session finished I was surprised to see an automated email from the blog about a comment being made on my blog post – we have a good level of subscribers to the blog but, with the exception of the book club posts, very few comments are made. It wasn’t from an attendee, as I originally suspected, but a librarian in Hampshire who was considering running a similar session for their Healthcare Assistants, and who wanted to know more about what we did.

As her email was including in the comment header info (NB this is not publicly visible, we use WordPress for the library blog, the same as this site) I sent her an email with a brief overview of what we included and a copy of the session plan. We had a nice, if  brief, conversation by email. The information I’d sent her was what she’d had in mind for her own session, and she appreciated that not all HCA’s would be comfortable with computers which I had warned her about. She also said they were planning to target some training at nurses, so I’ve asked if she can send me some information about this when they finalise it, as we’ve been thinking the same thing.

I’m recounting this because it occurred to me that we make a point of sharing good practice – we tell the world about what has gone really well, and what we’ve won awards for – but we don’t always tell people about the stuff that’s gone wrong, which other people can learn from too – or even the stuff that’s in the middle. Yes, we’ve had good feedback for our Healthcare Assistants course, but it wasn’t too far from our ‘standard practice’ that we felt the need to shout about it – maybe we should be?

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Filed under Misc

Thing 5: Reflective Practice

Even though I’m working towards my Certification I don’t consider myself to have done much reflective writing. After courses and training days I often make notes for myself (and have even used these as a basis for writing articles of the CDG West Midlands newsletter) but I haven’t considered it reflective writing as such, more a reminder for myself for the future.

In preparation for this Thing I found a Portfolio Building guide on the WiSH (West Midlands Information Service for Health) website – a site for sharing resources for the West Midlands Health Libraries Network (WMHLN) – which very helpfully included a section on reflective writing. There seems to be two approaches, one is to write it all out, starting with the context/description of what it was, writing out your thoughts and feelings and how this changed your behaviour. Another example given is a table for a reflective record starting with the date and activity at the top and then filing in the following sections:

  • What I enjoyed
  • What I found difficult
  • What I learned
  • What this learning connects with
  • Ways in which I intend to follow up this activity are
  • Other things I need to record

This seems like an easy way to start off reflective writing – answering the questions on the sheet to help you get the feel for it before you let yourself loose on the first style. I can’t shake the feeling that I should go back over my previous notes and make sure these questions have been answered; maybe that’s a job for the long weekend … or maybe not!.


Filed under CPD23