What Makes an Informational 'Professional'?


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Originally presented at the CILIP CDG New Professionals Conference 2011

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What Makes an Informational 'Professional'?

  1. 1. What Makes An Information 'Professional'? CILIP New Professionals Conference  20th June 2011 Sam Wiggins & Laura Williams
  2. 2. <ul><li>Our preconceptions and experiences of library 'professionals' </li></ul><ul><li>Survey results – how do professionals define themselves? </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Ways to address what we have found </li></ul>What are we going to talk to you about?
  3. 4. OUR IDEAS OF AN INFORMATION ‘PROFESSIONAL’ An information professional is anyone who works in a library Experience and qualifications are important
  4. 5. The survey <ul><li>Distributed via Twitter and JISC’s LIS-LINK mailing list </li></ul><ul><li>Aim of the survey; obtain perceptions of professionalism in the information sector </li></ul><ul><li>195 fully completed responses </li></ul><ul><li>A mix of 10 qualitative and quantitative questions </li></ul>
  5. 6. Q1. Do you consider yourself to be a professional within the library and information sector?
  6. 7. How Many Years Have You Been in the Library and Information Profession? Q2. How long have you been in the library and information profession?
  7. 8. Q3 & Q4. Do you hold any CILIP accredited qualifications?
  8. 9. Q5. How would you define an &quot;information professional&quot;?
  9. 10. Q6. What do you think qualifies as a professional level post or job role?
  10. 11. Q7. What do you think your job title says about your status as a professional?
  11. 12. Q8. How important do you feel a CILIP accredited qualification is to calling yourself a professional?
  12. 13. Q9. How important is a CILIP accredited qualification to how others perceive you within the library and information sector?
  13. 14. Q10. Do you have any other comments relating to professionalism in the library and information sector?
  14. 15. “ The idea that being a professional is tied to having a specific qualification is damaging to the profession as a whole - our skills and technical expertise don't make us special, it's our ethics and conduct that should make us stand out from all those other people who increasingly dabble in what we do.”
  15. 16. “ Too much emphasis on becoming a graduate-based profession and not enough on practical experience”
  16. 17. “ A strong sense of professionalism is vital - and to be a professional you need a professional body to maintain standards, promote and speak for the profession and generally act as a focus”
  17. 18. Interrelationships of perceived skills belonging to a successful new professional <ul><li>Attempted to make distinctions and highlight issues between the various sectors, as indicated by the survey </li></ul><ul><li>Information professionals need to be multi-skilled, similar to a “Blended Librarian” (Bell & Shank, 2004; Corrall, 2010) </li></ul>
  18. 19. Interrelationships of perceived skills belonging to a successful new professional Experience Networking Qualifications Vocational Approach Specialist Academic Public
  19. 20. Final thoughts
  20. 21. Final thoughts <ul><li>We think an information professional should fit the following criteria: </li></ul>Possession of qualifications, experience or skills, alongside an underlying professional attitude
  21. 22. Further research <ul><li>An examination into the perceived necessity of CILIP qualifications and the percentage of jobs that actually require them </li></ul><ul><li>Do definitions of an information professional vary across sectors? </li></ul>
  22. 23. Bibliography Applegate, R. (2010). “Clarifying Jurisdiction in the Library Workforce: Tasks, Support Staff, and Professional Librarians”. Library Trends. 59 (1-2), 288-314 Bell, S. & Shank, J. (2004). &quot;The blended librarian: A blueprint for redefining the teaching and learning role of academic librarians&quot;. College and Research Libraries News , 65 (7), 372-275. Bennett, M. H. (2011). “The benefits of non-library professional organization membership for liaison librarians” The Journal of Academic Librarianship , 37 (1), 46-53. Carroll, M. & Murray, J. (2010). &quot; Swirling students: A study of professional and vocational training avenues for the library and information industry&quot;. Library Trends , 59 (1/2), 188-207. Corrall, S. (2010). “Educating the academic librarian as a blended professional: a review and case study”. Library Management , 31 (8/9), 567-593. Crowley, B. (2008). Renewing Professional Librarianship: A fundamental rethinking . Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. Deepthi & Tadasad, P. G. (2010). “What do employers expect from library and information professionals”. Information Studies, 16 (3), 183-192.
  23. 24. Bibliography Miller, C. (2011). “Work Experience”, The Bradford Librarian, 21 May [Online]. Sheffield. http://thebradfordlibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/work-experience/ [Accessed 29 May 2011]. Orme, V. (2008). “You will be...: A study of job advertisements to determine employers’ requirements for LIS professionals in the UK in 2007”. Library Review, 57 (8), 619-633. Riddington, L. et al. (2008). Chartership – Yes or No?: CILIP’s Chartership Scheme . University of the West of England: Unpublished MSc Presentation.
  24. 25. Image Credits Librarian: http://www.bighappyfunhouse.com/archives/hothothotlibrianaction.jpg Nancy Pearl Action Figure: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdewey/2121562294/ Brain: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dierkschaefer/2961565820 Library: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hankzby/4272697578 Graduation Caps: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatcouldgowrong/4608963722 Business card as search result: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffmcneill/3243431754
  25. 26. Any Questions? Samuel Wiggins   @LibWig   libwig.wordpress.com Laura Williams   @theatregrad   theatregrad.wordpress.com