My Step-by-Step Chartership (so far)

Ok so I’ve had a lot of conversations about how complicated and confusing Chartership is, and how people get really stuck knowing WHAT they’re supposed to do. So I thought I’d do a List Of Stuff I’ve Done in the hope of adding some clarity to this. I have no idea if this is right, everyone’s journey is different, and CILIP’s official guidelines may be completely different to this-feel free to dispute/add to this in the comments.

I found a mentor.

I emailed round I think maybe five or six people on the mentor list provided on the CILIP website, and my now mentor emailed me back. Now this list appears to be on the VLE, so you’d have to register for Chartership first in order to unlock it.

This wasn’t hard. I sent five emails, three people emailed me back saying sorry but they were full/not wanting to take on people/whatever. One person never got back to me. One person did, suggesting we meet for a cuppa. We did, and got on really well and now she’s my mentor and has been brilliant. Honestly, finding a mentor was the least complicated thing.

I gave CILIP lots of money

Registering for Chartership was my birthday present to myself last year. Submitting my portfolio is going to be my Christmas present. I don’t normally spend that kind of money on myself, but hey, I’m worth it.

I started this blog

I haven’t posted a shedload, but it has been a great way of sharing my thoughts, and I’ve had some lovely comments about it-thank you.

I downloaded the PKSB and filled it all in

Don’t do this, it will destroy your soul (see the first five posts on this blog from back in February). Instead, read it, decide what bits apply to you, your job, where you want to go, what you’re interested in, or any massive gaps that you’d quite like to fill, and fill in those bits. Then download the gap analysis thinger and it will all become clear.

The PKSB IS NOT THE CHARTERSHIP. It is a RANGE of professional competencies that make us Information Professionals. Unless you have super powers/absolutely no life outside libraries/have been working in libraries of all sorts for years you AREN’T going to have experience of everything on it. And you DON’T NEED IT. Chartering does not involve you going through every point and ticking it off because it is YOUR development and YOUR career and YOUR job and YOU DECIDE what that means. I am now filling in the PKSB again, as that’s part of the process, to see how you’ve developed, and I’m going to do all of it because I like torturing myself but also because I find it interesting how much more relaxed I am now about NOT knowing stuff than I was a year ago. A year ago I was three months qualified, in my first professional post. Now I’m in my second, and feel so much more part of the librarianship community-that’s the biggest thing I’m taking from Chartership-a feeling of professional competence, and honestly my health is better for it.

I thought about stuff I wanted to work on

I had some really good chats with my mentor about where I think  my gaps lay, what sort of librarian I wanted to be, what sort of things I could do to fill up my gaps. I also thought about what I enjoyed do within my job, and also what I could do to further my career and become a part of the wider librarianship community.

The thing that helped the most with this was simply talking to other librarians. My use of Twitter has become a lot more professionally focused this year-I haven’t reviewed a fiction book in about six months because frankly I haven’t had time-and yes this saddens  me, but these are sacrifices I’m willing to make to be the best librarian I can be. I joined in with as many #uklibchat #chartership and other hashtag chats I could. I joined the Chartership Faceache support group. I talked to my colleagues and friends about what sort of stuff they were doing, and I went to the pub after conferences and talked about what LIS needs and what we could do about that.

I can do this because I am able-bodied and have the privilege that surrounds that. I am (fairly) young, I don’t have any dependents, and I have been incredibly lucky in my career. This allows me to be semi-active within the LIS community online and occasionally offline (though not even a tenth as active or brilliant as some). My mental health has remained stable over the last year, for which I am thankful. In short-I can do this stuff, so I do do this stuff.

Not everyone can Do The Stuff. People have different lives, different priorities, and commitments. And these change. That’s why Chartership is flexible. There isn’t a time limit and doing it is six month doesn’t get you any more extra points than doing it in six years does. The PKSB is wide-ranging, as are the options for reflection. If you haven’t been to seventeen conferences this year, been published in an OA peer reviewed journal, and Update, twice, organised a Library Camp and finished a PhD all whilst working full time in four libraries and being on a CILIP committee you are not a bad librarian. Have you been there for your users? Do you listen and respond to the needs of your stakeholders? Do you manage and promote the use of information ethically, and are you interested and informed in new and best practices? That’s my mark of a good librarian, not how many times you tweet.

I did my job

Now, as I’ve said above, I’m lucky. I love my job. I get to help, I get to teach, and most of all I get to learn. I work with fantastically inspiring and hard-working people. I also work in HE. This all comes with a lot of privileges within librarianship, and allowed for me to Do A Lot Of Stuff like attend conferences and meetings I would never have been able to do in my old job. But even the day-to-day work allowed for me to think about my development. I did a big weed and wrote that up. I wrote about my work’s mission statement, and how my team’s yearly plan fit in with that. I met with a representative of the SU. This was stuff I would have done anyway, as part of my role, I just chose to incorporate that into my Chartership.

I wrote reflections on stuff

Every time I did something, I wrote some reflections down. I’m not going to go into reflective writing here because there is so much advice and guidance out there on how to do it. I think it got easier the more I did. I enjoy writing, and find it quite easy to do so this wasn’t a problem for me, but I know some people do find it hard. The best advice I ever got about writing was Get On With It and Write How You Speak. You can always edit afterwards.

I decided what evidence I wanted to include

This has been a fairly active and busy year for me (although again, this isn’t as much as some, we all have different versions of what “busy” is). I knew there were some things, like LISDIS, that I was really proud of and wanted to include within my portfolio. Other stuff I wasn’t too bothered about, other stuff I just didn’t have room for. You need around 15 pieces of evidence and these can be pretty much anything as long as you’ve reflected on them-mine include screenshots of emails, links to YouTube videos, blog posts, peer reviews of my teaching, and bog standard write ups.

I’m now writing my evaluative statement

This is the biggie, this is the thing that the people assessing your Chartership are looking at the most. The evaluative statement is in three parts, and is 1000 words. You have to fulfill three criteria

Criteria 1: Identified areas for improvement in their personal performance, undertaken activities to develop skills, applied these in practice, and reflected on the process and outcomes

Criteria 2: Examined the organisational context of their service, evaluated service performance, shown the ability to implement or recommend improvement, and reflected on actual or desired outcomes

Criteria 3: Enhanced their knowledge of the wider professional context and reflected on areas of current interest

You are writing reflectively about the Stuff You’ve Done, and referencing things in your portfolio that support this. Don’t include stuff in your portfolio that isn’t in your statement.

I’m finding keeping to 1000 words really hard, but I’ve had some very useful feedback from my mentor (you really need to have a good relationship with your mentor. Meeting with mine has without a doubt been the most useful part of the process-and it’s a professional connection local to me which is always nice) about not being descriptive and thinking about how what I did influenced what I now do.

I’m then going to re-fill in the PKSB, and go “ooo look how much I’ve grown”

Hopefully a fair bit! I definitely feel more confident in my knowledge of the wider community, teaching, organizing events, advocacy, ethics, and liaising with stakeholders.

I’m then going to give CILIP another load of money

And yes that grates a bit, but again, I’m worth it

I’m then going to submit everything

On the VLE is a really really good video of how you put your portfolio together. Have that open on one tab, and the VLE again open on another (how do people work without multi-tab browsing?) and just do it step by step.

I’m then going to have a break!

Yes, librarians are always librarians, even when not in the library, but Library Jess sometimes needs to be just Jess, and that’s OK too.

If you are having troubles, please please please ask CILIP for clarification. If people don’t know the thing they’ve created is confusing people they won’t do anything to change/adapt it. I personally have found the Chartership process complex, but relatively clear. I think sometimes it is easy to overthink stuff, but if you’re semi-active, professional, or if you vaguely care about your job and improving your service I think you’ll find it a valuable and worthwhile process.



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