An anniversary announcement

Last month, June 2015, was my 20th anniversary of working in law libraries. In June 1995 I started my first post library school job working in the library at the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow, from there I quickly moved on to the Faculty of Advocates to be a reader services library assistant. Since 1998 I’ve been in a variety of roles in two law firms, I’ve been at my current firm for nearly 12 years.

I don’t intend to blog on how things have changed in the last 20 years, others have already done this (see the posts on the Renaissance Utterances blog http://renaissanceutterances.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/twenty-years-as-law-librarian-admin.html and http://renaissanceutterances.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/twenty-years-as-law-librarian.html). Instead to celebrate this anniversary I am attempting CILIP Fellowship. CILIP describes Fellowship as –

“Fellowship is the pinnacle of professional recognition; a celebration of leadership and of significant contribution to the information professions.”

So why am I attempting this –

  • I’ve been a CILIP member since I joined as a student in 1993 and at times have felt that their perceived bias towards public and academic libraries is the case. A way to show CILIP that corporate sector librarians are just as good is to achieve their top qualification.
  • As a mid-career librarian Fellowship is the next natural step, it’s a long time since I Chartered and although I have revalidated my Chartership since I feel that the structure of Fellowship will be a good way to move forward personally and to make a difference to my organisation.
  • Peer pressure! A group of librarians I am friendly with are also attempting Fellowship and I can’t help but feel that if they can do it so can (and should) I!

And now that I’ve made such a public statement on attempting Fellowship I had better get started. Watch this space for thoughts as I move through the process.

CPD23 2012 Thing 10 – Graduate traineeships, Masters Degrees, Chartership, Accreditation

cpd23 logo

Before thinking about the various qualifications that may be appropriate for my role it is probably helpful to describe the role.  My job title is Librarian but that hides  the range of tasks I am actually involved in – legal research, research training, I buy books, deal with subscriptions, current awareness is a big part of my job, I also spend too much time on basic library admin, and then there’s all my knowledge management responsibilities too ….

As a bit of a studying junkie I have several qualifications, two are particularly relevant to my current job.

MSc Library and Information Studies

I believe that having a sound theoretical understanding of librarianship underpins a lot of what I do in my role.  We often adapt the rules to fit the specifics of this firm but to be able to do that successfully I need to know what these rules are in the first place.  It is also proving useful in the KM side of my job, at the moment we are working on harmonising and tidying up the taxonomy/taxonomies on the intranet so I am using skills I was trained for many years ago.

HNC in Legal Studies

Having a basic understanding of law is obviously very helpful when doing research for the lawyers, I found that although I was picking things up as I went along I needed to put some structure to my knowledge and fill in some gaps so chose to study this distance learning HNC.  It’s definitely been worth the effort, I still don’t have the same level of legal knowledge as even the trainee lawyers but I have enough to get me through!

Some other law firm librarians do have law degrees, for the moment I have decided that that’s a step too far and more than is needed for the job.

What else might be appropriate and which qualification might I seek next?

The two qualifications above are the closest to essential for my role.  However each year I have been with my present employer my job role seems to have widened and I wonder if I need to gain a little more background knowledge in these areas.  In particular other qualifications which might be useful and helpful are in the fields of IT, business studies and politics.  I have been toying with the idea of constructing an Open University degree around the most useful looking courses in these areas.  And of course a knowledge management qualification would be very appropriate.

What else?

If I decide to remain a CILIP member then I really must commit to it fully and finally revalidate (I chartered in 2002 so it’s long overdue).