Monday, 12 September 2011

Cpd23 - Thing 16 - Advocacy

Thing 16 is about advocacy and getting published.

I have not been published. I have been intending to get published for the last three years and for some reason something stops me from putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I have entered library competitions where the winner would have to write a piece on the event they attended - I never won. I keep volunteering to write book reviews just to get me started and for some reason this hasn't come off (although, fingers crossed, there should be something in the post soon from the editor of Managing Information). In the past, I have written pages of ideas and introductions but never completed them. I guess previously the only library 'stuff' I did was for my job and I was a little nervous about writing about this in case I said something that was 'the wrong thing'.

However, now I am much more involved in library 'stuff' outside of my job, it is a much larger part of my life. I have written a piece about a CoFHE LASEC event I was involved in for Eclipse magazine, the CDG LASEC publication, and I hope this is published. Blogging is also getting me into the habit of writing more; I should probably take much more care crafting beautiful sentences in case people think this blog is an example of my ability I write!

Reader, I could probably advocate more. I didn't know there were advocacy resources on the CILIP website and I've started looking at a few of these. While useful, I'm a little concerned how out of date some of them are. The HE in FE information, the area I work in, is from 2004. So much has changed on the last seven years, including the rise in tuition fees, the change in government, the controversial Browne Review followed by the even more controversial HE White Paper that someone from CILIP needs to go over all this material.

I advocate where I can and explain what I do when someone says - " you did a Masters in stamping books". When I've had the opportunity to go to events I've involved myself in conversations and talked about the work I do, not only in my current role but also for CoFHE LASEC. Advocacy is so important, especially when the impact of everything undertaken needs to be assessed. I have started ensuring I can do this. I am currently investigating how I can realistically assess the impact of inductions of student performance and have also set up procedures to assess the impact of displays and events within the LRC. While teachers are becoming focused on evidence-based teaching, it seems that we have to do the same too if we are to remain.

There has been a lot of work put into trying to save the public libraries, an incredibly important task if we are to save them for future generations. It seems like school libraries have all but disappeared  - how was that allowed to happen? As part of CoFHE LASEC, we are considering doing some work on ascertaining the scale of redundancies and unfilled posts within the FE sector. I guess what this shows is that we all want to protect our own little silo of the information world. It would be lovely if we could get together and support each other but at the moment I'm not sure if this is possible. Many people are just trying to stay afloat and sometimes even this can be very gruelling at times. I don't know what the future holds for the profession or for libraries, however, as long as we do the best we can in the circumstances we are in and give the best service we can to our users then I would suggest then I would say we are all advocates for what we do.


  1. I really enjoyed your blog post Sarah. You make some really valid points about the currency of CILIP's advocacy resources. You suggest someone needs to go over them. I am not saying you should if you don't feel comfortable doing so but I wonder if you have raised this with them? Perhaps that is an advocacy activity someone could take on! Academic libraries are going to face tough times ahead - I know we are bracing ourselves where I work, not sure of what the future holds. Some up-to-date guidance from CILIP would certainly help.

  2. Thank you for your comments Johanna. I will contact CILIP regardign the advocacy information. It would be a very interesting and worthwhile task to be involved in, however, I think my knowledge is probably too general and not specific enough to take it on. I'd be very interested to read the outcomes though.

  3. Hi Sarah, I think it is a bit general for me too. It probably needs someone with a bit more experience than me in the sector. It would be very useful to have though.