Just arrived back from an excellent day at the University of Warwick, more convinced than ever of the importance of teaching and training skills for librarians. Antony Brewerton started off by giving us a tour of the Teaching Grid, a flexible space within the university library. The area can be divided up into different sized spaces depending on requirements of a particular training session. Staff can also use this area to try out technologies such as interactive whiteboards prior to using them in a teaching context. I liked the Ladder of Loyalty as a way of thinking about library relationships with our users. Our challenge is to bring staff members into an active partnership arrangement with the library.
Debbi Boden gave the keynote speech, discussing the evolution of the profession. We need to know what we are in order to decide where we're going, and we still have that stereotype to fight. She argued that any librarian that is teaching needs some knowledge of the background theories, and suggested that HEA Fellowship may be more valuable than CILIP chartership for some library professionals. We need to know the language of teaching if we are to work in closer partnership with academic staff. The current economic situation can be seen as an opportunity to collaborate more, develop more online services and make more use of social media within a library context. Jo Webb continued this thread with some background to options for professional recognition through the HEA framework, but highlighting concerns about a shift in policy that appears to exclude librarians from the Fellowship framework. She argued that there is no dichotomy between HEA and CILIP qualifications- we have a dual identity as librarians and teachers.
Sally Patalong presented her experiences as student and later teacher of the PG Certificate. Her recommendations are to observe other people teaching from as many different disciplines as possible, to get feedback from students and to keep evidence of everything you do to reduce likelihood of being cut! After lunch we had some more interactive sessions, looking at the essential ingredients for teaching (Geoff Walton) and how we could use different types of space for teaching and training (Emma King).
The panel discussion at the end was great for pulling together the messages from throughout the day. It also helped me clarify a possible topic for my masters dissertation – I'd really like to look further into the teaching role of the librarian and what should be included within LIS programmes to prepare new professionals for this role. I'd love to hear from anyone with suggestions on this!