During my first semester back at university I have participated in six workshop activities as part of completing one of my courses, INN634 Professional Practice. By completing these workshops I have learnt many things about what it means to be an information professional and the places it can take me.
During the first workshop in week 3 we had several guest speakers including Lynn Macallister and Kate Davis. I learnt about the significance of having a presence in the information profession and how an online portfolio could aid in my career development. From this workshop I discovered that there are many ways in which I could construct my own portfolio including using QUT’s ePortfolio or use Blogger or WordPress. After this workshop I did my own experimenting with the various systems available to me and decided to go ahead and set up my own domain name with WordPress as I found it easiest to navigate. Whilst listening to all the speakers it really hit home to me how important communicating my skills and capabilities to the wider community was in respect to networking and finding jobs. Workshop one was a great tool to push me towards starting my portfolio and really taking an interest in it as it will help me with my development as an information professional.
Workshop two also had a variety of speakers but they brought up the issues of what professions and information professional can fill. It was interesting at the variety of jobs the ladies all had including research assistant, web editor, records management and of course a library manager. As I want to be a librarian I had never really thought about the other career opportunities available to me after completing my Masters in Information and Technology. By listening to the ladies describe their jobs it really opened my eyes to how my studies could be applied. At the end of workshop two, even though I still wanted to work in a library, I found it very interesting and comforting knowing there are a wide variety of choices out there after completing my Masters.
Completing workshop three was an interesting and enjoyable experience for me. Our personalities were discussed and completing the online test I found out I am an ISFJ and that jobs that suit my personality include nursing, teaching, housekeeper and LIBRARIAN! When going through all of the personality traits an ISFJ has I found it scary how well it had pegged me. The majority of dot points associated with ISFJ described me exactly. I was so impressed with it I made all my friends and family do the test also. Most of the answers were so spot on it was freaky. This workshop was really interesting in showing me how different personalities are suited to different tasks, perhaps not jobs especially. Obviously I am on the right track according to my results!
During workshop four I heard from Ann Gillepsie, a Teacher Librarian. Coming from a science background myself it was interesting to hear about how the framework for research regarding Teacher Librarians. It was obviously different from the structure I am used to regarding biological scientific research strategies and I had not known there was any serious research being conducted by librarians. I find this reassuring as it shows that librarians still want to grow and make their field and the work they perform recordable so that others can see the results of their hard work. Overall I found this workshop enlightening and reassuring regarding the librarian profession.
Workshop five was interesting as it let me know about some further career paths that I had not considered. Elham Abdi talked about doing her PHD and why she is doing it. I had never considered doing this myself as I like to be actively out in the workforce, however I can see how it would be a good experience allowing yourself to learn a lot more comprehensively. I think overall though I would still prefer to be out in the workforce learning things practically and by being able to apply my knowledge to complete my job.
I really enjoyed workshop six which concerned the nature of ethics within a library context. By completing the reading and the case scenario it allowed me to see what some current ethical issues can appear in a library and what I should be prepared for in this profession. I think it is important if I am to ever have some responsibility in my future roles as a librarian that I become familiar with the ethic code where I work and also construct my own code of ethics regarding the library context in order for me to have a fulfilling and fair work environment.
During all the workshops a common theme always stuck out at me, how important networking is. This had not occurred to me at the start of my degree however now I can see it is a vital part of the career I wish to have. It worried me at first as I am a shy person by nature and do not feel comfortable approaching strangers. Over the last semester, however, I have learnt to accept the challenge of building my professional network. I hope by the end of my Masters I will be more comfortable with this concept and have started to build my own network through my current jobs and through the work placement schemes.
Overall I have found the six workshops very constructive and informative. It is always a great opportunity and motivation to hear from people already working in the professional environment that you wish to enter shortly. These workshops have motivated me immensely to build up my social networking skills, develop a professional portfolio and to make sure I stay current with all the issues surrounding the information profession such as research and ethical issues.
Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities