Saturday, 9 February 2013

Thinking about staff development

January was a hectic month - we completely revised how we present materials on our VLE and introduced a very simple method for Faculty to provide content for it (a tray in the photocopier room) with the result that the content coming in for it seems to have multiplied. This has meant writing a detailed procedure so more of the work of managing and uploading the material could be passed on to colleagues, and we've scheduled some proper training on all of it for the Easter vacation. It's been a lot of fun as well as a lot of work! The next step with this is to have a look at the VLE stats to see if these changes have resulted in greater use by the students themselves.

Meanwhile I've been plugging away at my Chartership, using Jo's method of using a Google form to reflect on each thing.  I've also set up a list of things I want to reflect on, not all of which will actually make it into my Chartership portfolio.  I'm finding this really useful, because every so often I just take a few minutes to put down my thoughts on another of the items on my list and I feel like I'm making some progress.  I still have quite a bit of work to do in transforming these snippets into documents that can actually be included in the portfolio and I haven't attempted the evaluative statement at all yet.  I've done quite a bit of work on my extended CV - it's so reaffirming to see all that I've been doing coming together like that. It's only when I look at things in that format that I realise just how much I've been doing both in work and in voluntary positions.

The Chartership process has also really highlighted for me how much I'm interested in staff development in general.  In hindsight it's obvious through my involvement in organising TeachMeet and 23 Things for Professional Development but I suppose I never really thought about it in that way before.  I also have staff training responsibility in work, but that often entails looking at training at point of need (new staff, recognition that refresher training is needed, introduction of new procedures and technologies, watching out for training that meets needs expressed during annual appraisals staff development and review meetings...)

I'd like to look more comprehensively at staff development in libraries, all the different areas of training that are needed, what's needed to progress from one level to the next and where this kind of training can be acquired.  I had a really interesting meeting with Jenny Cefai about all they do in this area at Anglia Ruskin University and she suggested that I look into the courses available through the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.  Another one to add to my wishlist.

PS Jo Alcock and I will be giving a presentation at Umbrella, looking at where the 23 Things for Professional Development overlap with CILIP's new Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (or whatever they're calling it these days).  Looking forward to planning it all out when Jo visits Cambridge in a week and a half!


  1. thought provoking and full of good ideas, as always.


  2. Great post Niamh. I also think staff development is a fascinating area, I think as individuals it can sometimes be hard to see the direction/training you need to be going in for yourself, so having somebody with an outside/bigger picture perspective can really help.

    Also I think staff development can often be a little ad hoc and random when it could work better with a longer term, strategic approach. Something I am interested in myself is encouraging librarians to present and publish more research which fits in with staff development too I guess! Thanks again for the post - lots to reflect on.

    1. Hi Michelle, that's it exactly! It's looking at all the skills and knowledge needed to run a library and how to meet those needs, and I'm sure there are some I haven't even thought of. One of the things that really impressed me at ARU was that they have two posts dedicated to this and very clearly thought out policies and development opportunities. They also have IT help desk staff working alongside library assistants on the enquiry desk so each can answer the basic questions relating to the other's area but that the more specialist advice is at hand as well.