ruts, and the avoidance thereof…..

Being inspired – whether it’s by someone else (common), or through a good idea of your own (less common!) is essential to keeping moving in this job. Big or small, those lightbulb moments are make my day.

Finding, and keeping up with, inspiring people is key. So having a netvibes page of RSS feeds from interesting blogs (either from libraries or individuals) is great but you’re only ever hearing from the same people. Do I hear the dreadful clang of an echo chamber?

CPD23 and cam23 2.0 is going to be great for me as an opportunity to widen my horizons – to find new inspiring people. Perhaps they’ll be new people I don’t know yet:  like EAHIL journey – who’s going to the same conference as me in a couple of weeks time.

Or perhaps it’s through people I know/know of in “real” life, but might get to know better/differently in blog-world: Deborah’s CPD Blog – cause I know she does some great teaching in her medical library in Chelmsford. Or The Ayre Line – since I’ve crossed paths with him back in our Leicester days, or the Health Informationist since I follow him on twitter and he’s a big name in medical library circles.

but what about people outside health/medicine – really important to look beyond the subject side of my job, and look to learn from people who are doing the same generic teaching/service that I do (the research skills, the reader services, the general teaching/training skills)? I might need a couple more posts from people outside medicine to see if they’re going to be talking about things that I can learn from – it’s tricky so early in the game to spot the people that are going to drop the bombshells of learning. But I’ll be scanning around and hoping to read as much as I can of the (jings!) c.600 bloggers who are working their way through the CPD23 and cam23 2.0 programmes


15 Responses to ruts, and the avoidance thereof…..

  1. Libby Tilley says:

    Ruts are easy to get into and generally harder to climb out of – as you say it does take effort. I wrote about mini echo chambers and it sounds a little like this. I have concerns about all of this and really wonder whether we might start to see – to all intents and purposes – an elitist group of librarians, not just lots of mini echo chambers?

  2. ilk21 says:

    I think we already do have library elites (the #cliquegate ( and!/search?q=%23cliquegate ) which I’ve not really kept up with – was I out of the “clique” that was discussing it??) – whether its’ the same faces presenting at conferences (always interesting, but always the same???).
    I struggle – there is a layer of people doing interesting stuff – is that cause they’ve got the ideas and are being proactive? Or because they’re being offered opportunities that others are not (cue orwell quote….)

  3. Niamh says:

    It’s an interesting question, but as someone that’s just walked in (so to speak) in the past couple of years I haven’t had any trouble getting involved. Whether that’s because I was lucky enough to time my start here with the two Cambridge 23 Things programmes last summer or whether it’s just because I talk to much is another question…

    I generally find that librarians are pretty open – although sometimes I do have to get up the courage to start the conversation myself rather than waiting to be talked to. The LISNPN discussion is really interesting here, if you’re not put off by the fact that it’s happening on a site aimed at new professionals!

    • ilk21 says:

      ooh heck – am I showing my age and my fundamental introverted-ness by having my own sort of wall-flower clique (with no other members, of course!) – on the edges of a great big conversation but not able to jump in? story of my (anti-social) life!

      • Céline says:

        Does everyone basically believe they’re an introvert and think they’re on the outside? I definitely feel like that but am surprised you do too, maybe it’s how we all feel which is why this issue even arises?

        I think I used to think I had to wait to be invited to join things/get involved/organise a teachmeet 😉 etc but only now (quite late in my Jedi life) have I realised that you have to just go for it yourself and not wait for the invite.


  4. Céline says:

    I agree with Niamh and would like to point out how many people who took part in cam23 last year have gone on to present at a conference/meeting in the year since… So it’s not exactly elitist as it is open to anyone who is willing and enthusiastic enough to take part and the means of getting involved are all-inclusive, non-exclusive, free and open. Doesn’t meet my personal understanding of clique or of elite.

    I used to think Cambridge libraries were a closed clique that I just couldn’t “break” and that feeling only dissipated last year (when I’d worked here the best part of 12 years). Think it is more about the perceptions of the person feeling excluded than anything else, probably.

    • ilk21 says:

      you’re quite probably right Jedi Celine – I suspect there might be a dollop of fear of putting head above the parapet (to steal someone else’s blog title!) about looking old/cliched/silly/dull/repetitive in front of lots of bright non-jedi things (or worse still no body taking any notice of the gargantuan effort?)

  5. Céline says:

    On the other hand, I’ve been put off commenting on the discussion Niamh linked to as it refers to the non-new professionals as “old professionals”. I’ve been lobbying (on Twitter) for people to please use a different term – “established”, or “experienced”, at a push “mid-career” but my preference is definitely for “Jedi” as the opposite of “new professionals” 😉

    • ilk21 says:

      go Jedi!!!

      • Niamh says:

        I hope you noticed I use the words experienced or more established but never old! Besides, isn’t ‘new’ as much a state of mind than anything else? I don’t quite meet the definition, having “joined the profession through work or study” around 8 years ago, but I still go along on the basis of not being finished with the studying!

    • I haven’t got round to commenting on this #cliquegate business much at all, but when I think about it I only ever think ‘old’ professionals like that – with ironic airquotes around, because I think it’s a horrible term.

  6. passionatemedicallibrarian says:

    Coming out of university at 21 and heading straight into a post in a hospital library I was dismayed at how far it lagged behind what we’d been taught in lectures. Therefore things like cpd23 are great for making new contacts and gaining insight from those outside of the health sector. Everybody has their own take on things and we can learn from each other.
    I recently attended a social get together for ‘new professionals’ but as someone who’s been a librarian for 11 years I didn’t know if I qualified! What I did know was that there wasn’t this readily available network to support me in my early days. What I can say about the event was that it was a group of lively, enthusiastic people coming from a range a sectors to discuss libraries and our futures. I’ve recently got involved with the hospital research dept to discuss research repositories and meeting with the innovations manager I am now looking at patent information retrieval.
    The one thing I think we must do as professionals is to encourage other library staff to get involved, what’s to stop library assistants writing a blog for their certification. I work with a library assistant who has taken a great interest in grey literature and it now forms part of our information retrieval training programme for hospital staff!
    The future is unpredicatable but I’m excited and staying fairly positive!

  7. I would undoubtedly feel more connected if I read posts (by anyone, new, experienced, part of the in-crowd or not) fewer than four days after posting…

    I agree wholeheartedly that it’s worthwhile and exciting to find new people to read. And also that it’s hard to tell at the start who will be the person/people who make the most impact, either personally or on the wider world.

    I’m not sure if there are the ‘same faces’ always presenting at conferences – I haven’t been around long enough to tell, yet! I don’t think there’s a clique, but I can understand how any group of active and enthusiastic people might look a bit like one to someone new and shy and nervous.

    • ilk21 says:

      maybe my “same face” comment comes from attending subject specific conferences (ie health / medical) rather than more general ones – clearly there’s a much great pool of innovation and expertise if you go to more general/open conferences.

      • Ah, that’s makes sense. I dare say if I actually managed to get to more special collections events I’d notice that. In fact, even from the ones I have been to I think I’ve noticed it a bit.

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