Over the past few weeks I have had two opportunities to get out of the LRC and as there may be some people in my college who will say 'but you are never in there', perhaps I should have entitled it 'Getting out of school'. However as this blog was set up primarily to follow my chartership which after all is about my professional development as a librarian...well...you see the link I hope. Having said that, it is hard to get out of school full stop and because of your daily commitments to students, it should be hard as they are the reason we have a job. However I have found it harder to get out for reasons relating to my chartership. Despite having a supportive Vice Principal as my line manager who has positively encouraged my chartership, being a solo professional librarian in the college has its drawbacks as I have found it quite difficult in particular to justify visits to other library organisations. Perhaps I should explain where this has come from.
A few weeks ago, I met up with my mentor (my mentor now lives in London on a full time basis, so meetings between us only take place when she is down here on a visit home, with most of the mentor/mentee relationship taking place via e-mail and Twitter). When I met with my mentor back at Christmas, I was tasked with the next step of pulling together 4/5 bits of evidence to support each of the four criteria (see a previous blog post). Criteria 1-3 proved relatively straightforward - I had plenty of evidence to show (1) organisational and service evaluation, (2) training and professional development and (3) project management. I knew before I met up with my mentor that it would be critera number 4 where my issues would lie, hence the title of my blog.
My mentor acknowledged my growing (albeit at a very slow pace) participation with the new CILIP SW group (see previous post) and the evidence demonstrating my understanding of national issues relating to libraries (see a previous post for an email sent to my MP on Library Lobby Day) and suggested that I also reflect on some of the ideas and information gained as a result of following particular blogs, using the example of Bethanar's blog which recently encouraged me to write to my MP and some of the CILIP Communities Blogs (I am now a CILIP blogger as well). However, she was not so sure about whether the work I do with Careers SW (formerly Connexions) on delivering information, advice and guidance would come under this critera (I argued it on the basis that there are many librarians employed in Career Libraries etc). As a result, she was quick to encourage me to begin to make further links with libraries in other sectors, suggesting the corporate or legal sector as something completely different and introducing me to a librarian in this area, @tinamreynolds, with whom I am hoping to make some links with soon and when I tentatively broached the subject of it being difficult to get out of school, my mentor suggested that a transcript of a telephone conversation would work just as well as evidence.
All in all a productive meeting (yet again) with my mentor, although I do find it hard to maintain the momentum and enthusiam I always feel after meeting with her. Michael Martin of Michael's Quals Blog recently said ( on 26th March) that there were no excuses when it came to chartering. My response was that it is so hard when you are a solo librarian, to which Michael replied that we have to remember that "as well as benefiting our employers, reflecting well on our profession, we're doing this for ourselves" I think I need to remember this more, especially as my mentor has set a deadline date of the 31st August for submission.