Achieving career excellence in librarianship OR 5 rules of engagement for librarians


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Presentation given at the PPM-LAS Joint Conference 2012, Mahkota Hotel, Melaka, 16 March 2012

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Achieving career excellence in librarianship OR 5 rules of engagement for librarians

  1. 1. ACHIEVING CAREER EXCELLENCE IN LIBRARIANSHIPOR: 5 RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FOR LIBRARIANSChoy Fatt CheongUniversity LibrarianNanyang Technological UniversityLibrary Association of SingaporePPM-LAS Joint Conference 2012, Mahkota Hotel, Melaka, 16 March 2012
  2. 2. What is career excellence?Attainment of high office and status?Help libraries/profession create impactMaking a difference to the intellectual lifeand learning outcome of people throughlibrary services
  3. 3. Will indicators of excellence be thesame in the future?LIBRARIANSHIPLibrariesLibrariansCollective memory?Preservation &transmission ofknowledge?
  4. 4. Important interdependentrelationshipsSource of legitimacy,trustworthiness andknowledge baseThe vehicle used bylibrarians to delivertheir expertise andservicesLIBRARIANPROFESSIONINSTITUTION123 Rules of engagement
  5. 5. What makes a librarian a professional?ExperienceContributionKnowledgebaseDelivery ofservice &expertiseEducation &training
  6. 6. How does the profession help us?Define ourdomainCollection of books forlending?Providing access toinformation?Enable independent & self-directed learning?Preservation and ensuringuse of collective memory?THE PROFESSIONMUST EXIST & BETHRIVING TO ENSUREWide recognition of the real rolesof libraries and librariansConstantly shaping the boundaryof the profession with the times
  7. 7. How does the profession help us?The “Profession” is abstract, whileprofessional association is concreteThe collective voice of librariansArticulate and advocate the role of libraries andlibrariansPrescribe competencies & standardsRecommend education & trainingSets ethical standards & behavioral normsSuccessful librarians have to participate actively ingiving strength and shaping the direction of theprofessional body
  8. 8. Libraries – an important institutionfor successCan librarians be separated from “libraries”– information brokers, independent info professionals, etc.Power of libraries derived from pooling ofresources – enable access to expensive resources,expertise, services and facilities.Librarians & informationprofessionals use thepower of libraries to dotheir work.LIBRARIES Users, Clients
  9. 9. Librarians - Learning from RanganathanFIVE LAWS OF LIBRARY SCIENCEBooks are for useEvery reader his[her] bookEvery book its readerSave the time of the readerThe Library is a growingorganism1. YEARS OF USER-CENTRIC VIEWFocus on enabling peoplewith knowledgeCater to people who havediverse interestsReaders/users are at thecentre of the libraryReaders seek knowledge toempower themselves
  10. 10. Librarians are experts1.5 RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FORLIBRARIANS (Choy F.C.)2. Every librarian a friend of users3. Every encounter with users should add valueto them4. Users must have high demand & expectationof librarians5. The Library’s critical role in knowledge workmust be widely recognized and acknowledged
  11. 11. RULE 1 : LIBRARIANS ARE EXPERTSExpertsdepend on anasymmetry ofknowledgeWhat is so special about the knowledge andskills of librarians?Do things that others cannot doDo things better than othersDo things others can do butdon’t want to doNeed to examine dominant skills of the past to assesstheir relevance in the future?Continued acquisition of new skillsCore skills that define librarians CISPIN RecommendationsProfessional DevelopmentScheme (PDS)
  12. 12. Encourage all librarians to remain competent in adynamic profession & information environmentLAS Professional Development SchemeConceived in 2006 and implemented in 2008Award of Practicing Professional (PP) status tolibrarians who have completed a series ofprofessional development activities - as indicatedby a minimum number of points achieved within a2 year periodA professional statement to our users &stateholders – we pledge to always upgrade andupdate ourselves to serve you better
  13. 13. Engage in activities to pick up points= 1,000 pts+ +Get gazetted as PP (Practicing Professional)ED (Expertise Development) 500ID (Industry Development) 400SD (Self Development) 1001000Within 2 yearsPDS Board5 membersappointed by LASSubmit records of activities for approvalMay submit inany quarterApplicants tallyup pointsBoard verifies& decideProfessional Development Scheme (PDS) IN BRIEFEntitled to usePPLASdesignationNames listed inLAS website for2 years1 mth public scrutiny of PDS records
  14. 14. Activity groups PointsCATEGORIES OF ACTIVITIESExpertiseDevelopmentED 500Activities that will help to upgrade and improve theskills and knowledge of practitionersIndustryDevelopmentID 400Activities that keep the practitioner informed ofcurrent developments in the information industrySelf (Personal)DevelopmentSD 100Activities that help the practitioner improve onwork productivity, management skills and generalknowledgeDescription
  15. 15. ED-EXPERTISE DEVELOPMENT - TYPES OF ACTIVITIES500TRAININGParticipate in conference, seminar, workshop,briefing – face-to-face or onlineParticipate in internship17 – 160pointsSpeaker at forum, chair of sessionPROFESSIONALACTIVITIESMember of committee of professional bodiesParticipate in mentorship scheme29 – 176pointsPROFESSIONALREADINGPersonal readingParticipate in reading circlesMaintain blogs on professional mattersEngage in independent learning project100pointsWrite paper for conference, present postersAUTHORSHIPPublish journal paper or bookWrite feature articles for news bulletin, officialblog50 – 220points
  16. 16. TYPES OF ACTIVITIESID & PD - TYPES OF ACTIVITIES1,000400INDUSTRYKNOWLEDGEDEVELOPMENTParticipate in talks, forums, discussionParticipate in product/service briefing &demonstration by vendors24 – 70pointsAttend library related exhibitionsStudy visit to other libraries100PERSONALDEVELOPMENTParticipate in any self development orproductivity courses not directly related tolibrary & information work26 - 32points
  19. 19. Prescribe 6 basic expertise areas for entrylevel librarians – Recommendations for “Library school”Ability to pursue or guide users in building updomain knowledge in specific subject areas ordisciplinesAbility to teach information skills and provideinformation services as expert informationseekers with strong skills in discerning reliable,accurate and authentic informationCISPIN recommendations – Basicexpertise of librarians
  20. 20. Ability to bring order and structure to a range ofinformation objects and documents so that theycan be retrieved, found, gathered and usedAbility to source for all types of informationresources through good understanding of theinformation industry and publishing tradeAbility to tailor library and information servicesthat are effective in meeting differentinformation and learning needs of usersAbility to apply information technologyeffectively to build solutions to improve libraryservices
  21. 21. Back to the Rules of EngagementRule 2 …..
  22. 22. Treat all users as friends – have their bestinterest at heartEVERY LIBRARIAN AFRIEND OF USERSRULE 2 :An attitude & approach rather than personalHave empathy with usersEach user is different – in knowledge state, characterand disposition – treat each differentlyExtend good working relationship with colleagues tousersPut yourself in the same mind frame of the user
  23. 23. EVERY LIBRARIAN AFRIEND OF USERSThink of users as friends in all areas of librarywork, not just for one-to-one transactionsRULE 2 :Benefits to this approachRemove communication barriersHow policies and changes affect our friend, the user!Greater satisfaction in serving “friends”Replace the word “user” with “friend”Lead to repeat visits and call for assistance
  24. 24. EVERY ENCOUNTER WITHUSERS SHOULD ADD VALUEA user wants something out of a transactionwith the librarian – we fail when he[she]goes away empty handedRULE 3 :Face-to-faceOver the phoneEmailSocial mediaFully satisfiedPartially satisfiedNot satisfied, but pleasantNo change
  25. 25. Seeking alternatives are opportunities todevelop creativity and resourcefulnessAim to produce positive outcome even whenwe cannot fully satisfy the userExplore alternatives, provide other added valueEVERY ENCOUNTER WITHUSERS SHOULD ADD VALUERULE 3 :Not a business transactionContinuous patronage of library servicesA noble goal - making a difference in people’s intellectualdevelopment and understanding of the world
  26. 26. Most people have low expectation oflibrariansUSERS MUST HAVE HIGHDEMAND & EXPECTATIONOF LIBRARIANSRULE 4 :Percieved as “book” people – loans and space onlyNot aware of multitude of servicesSurprised by high educational requirement of staffINDICATORS:Low expectations = low demand  erosionof economic value
  27. 27. USERS MUST HAVE HIGHDEMAND & EXPECTATIONOF LIBRARIANSHigh expectation = recognition of neededservice  high economic valueRULE 4 :Must not be worried about over-extending our workProactive – Generate demand for servicesMust have confidence in entering new territoriesTake criticism as confidence by user in deliveringhighly demanded serviceSeek opportunities to expand scope of workDo not be too cautious
  28. 28. THE LIBRARY’S CRITICAL ROLE INKNOWLEDGE WORK MUST BE WIDELYRECOGNIZED & ACKNOWLEDGEDMost people associate librarians with lowlevel & undemanding work – compared withother professionalsRULE 5 :Higher purpose in librarianship is not wellarticulated and recognized
  29. 29. THE LIBRARY’S CRITICAL ROLE INKNOWLEDGE WORK MUST BE WIDELYRECOGNIZED & ACKNOWLEDGEDLibrariesenableadvancementof knowledgeRULE 5 :Cumulated storeof knowledge (aknowledge base)Enable people toencounter &engage with ideasand thoughts frompast and presentAffirm andsubstantiateinformationEnableindependentlearningDiscover andexplore“If I have seenfurther it is bystanding on theshoulders of giants”– Isaac NewtonNeed to reframeour roles & workin a larger context
  30. 30. CONCLUSIONLibraries undergoing profound changes –affect the character of libraries & librariansAchieving career excellence depends on ourhow innovative we respond to unpredictablechangesSomething should not change – user-centricapproach – keystone of librarianship5 rules of engagement proposed as a guide
  31. 31. Choy Fatt CheongUniversity LibrarianNanyang Technological UniversityCONTACT: ENDTerima Kaseh