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Professional Enlightenment


I am pretty new to this whole Librarian thing.  I only graduated in 2015 and can count the number of library jobs I have held on one hand - but my inexperience and untarnished idealism mean that I am keen to throw myself straight into the mosh pit.  I ain't afraid of getting few bruises, or perhaps a scuffed Dr. Marten in the chin.

Having just gained employment at both a public and academic library, I have so many "Professional Development" options to choose from.  It's kind of overwhelming.  I'm not even sure which career path I wish to take; but I do know that I want to keep up and keep learning.  Drink my coffee in places where all the interesting stuff is going down, the ideas are fresh, the music is good and (most importantly) the coffee is decent.  But being new to the block, how do I know where to go?

It seemed to me that the most obvious choice was to seek guidance from my professional association.  Enter ALIA (the Australian Library and Information Association;  I wasn't quite sure what to expect as it's not often that a professional association has much of a cutting edge, beatnik persona.  But I can happily eat my words.  ALIA has many, many sub-units and for the most part, it seems pretty forward-thinking.  I am guessing they serve good coffee.

In a moment of enthusiastic idealism I signed up for the ALIA Professional Development program. In so doing I have agreed to earn 30 points towards my professional development per year.  PD, according to ALIA, can be all sorts of stuff.  Lucky for me writing this blog (and reflecting on my profession) is included.  But the biggest step upon signing up is completing the Career Development Kit, a surprisingly in-depth undertaking which hopes to sort through your cardboard box of career ideas and figure out what should go in the attic and what needs to be taken out, polished up and given a bit of love and attention.

I have only taken a few stumbling steps along the PD path, but I am already finding it worthwhile.  I am seeing PD opportunities everywhere, and just like the obsessive Op Shopper I am my human nature is compelling me to collect more and more points.  Putting PD at the forefront of my career consciousness has meant that I am becoming a natural learner.  My quest for PD points means I seek out new information, read and reflect on what is happening in my profession, and most importantly it is helping me see new opportunities in both my workplaces.  It is also helping me to feel more connected to my profession, despite my relative newbie status.

If you're a new Librarian, I encourage you to give PD a go.  I think you might be surprised at just how stimulating it can be.  Just like a good cup of coffee.


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