PKSB Initial Assessment – Part 2

Carrying on my thoughts and feelings towards the PKSB initial assessment, which I am completing as I wait for my registration to Chartership to go through. This covers sections 4-8 of Professional Expertise. I have previously blogged about Ethics and Values and Parts 1-3. 

Well, this doesn’t get any less intense does it? I am currently jumping between feeling hugely positive about my contribution to librarianship (parts 7 and 8) and utterly desperate about the gaps in my knowledge and experience (all of part 5 and most of part 6). Although I am trying to remember that it is normal not to have done everything, or have knowledge of everything, especially at this stage of my career, it is easy to become disheartened. I have started to think about how I can incorporate the things I need more experience of into my day-to-day job as well. I really am lucky in this in that I have a very very supportive manager, who is really pulling some strings to make sure I can do things like look at metadata and authority files, and join different task groups such as those dealing with procurement and digital literacy, which I have not done so previously before in great detail. I cannot imagine how difficult this process would be if you didn’t have the support of your employer, or were even more restricted in your job role than I can be.

Some of my thoughts towards the document-the wording needs to be clearer. This may be the fault of the current propensity towards using buzzwords like ‘accessibility’ to mean various different things, but a more clearer explanation of context would have been useful at 6.4. In my world accessibility can either mean in the context of being open access, being easy to access (ie positive UX of the database), or to mean that it is available in different formats, such as audio, text-to-speech, large print, yellow paper, or braille.

My second major thought (and this may be sliiiiightly controversial)  is this: if this standard is how a well-rounded information professional should be evaluated, then why isn’t this skills base more fully reflected within the CILIP accreditation of a qualification? This slim document seems so much most thorough and with a much wider scope than the syllabus for the PG Dip component of my qualification, which was more theory-based than requiring reflection of practical experience, which is surely much more applicable to a job that requires such a hands-on way of working as librarianship. It is almost as though the MSc breeds academics, not working librarians. That is fine, if that’s what you want to do, but I wanted to be a librarian, I needed the qualification to be one, and so became an academic by default. Why doesn’t CILIP make it so the Chartership becomes the equivalent of the MSc, or only verify University programmes that are compatible with the whole of the PKSB? I in no way regret doing my MSc, I loved it, got an awful lot out of it, and was proud of myself at the end, but it just feels like I am going to learn much more about how to be a librarian from doing the Chartership, and I haven’t even started that.

My last thought as I finish the Professional Expertise section is that I am really going to have to look at managing my time, both at work and at home. At work I tend to get involved in projects that I am interested in, at the moment for example I’m planning a research project on UX within our libraries, having discovered UX at CILIP’s New Professionals Day and fallen in love with ethnographic research. This does cover parts of the PKSB, but not really the parts I need to develop. However, it is a worthwhile project for my workplace and I don’t want it to take second place to evaluating and editing our indexing authority file, which is definitely a massive gap for me and something I really need to hone up on, and also another massive, massive job. Being able to priorities and  juggle many large projects at once is a skill, important to my job, and something I think I will definitely  take away from Chartership.

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