Professional development

I read a blog recently (and I’m sorry, I can’t find it again to provide a link… I’ve now got Zotero installed to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore) about the importance of making time in your day to catch up on professional reading.  I even commented on this blog post, as I am in the fortunate position of having time at work to keep up with professional development activities including reading – for the moment anyway.

My learning curve is very steep and as I’m an OPL I’ve got no-one handy to ask.  I have turned to the various resources available to me, most notably professional literature and blogs of interest.  Blogs in particular have sparked many happy hours of following an information trail as I attempt to track down information or resources that will assist me with my various projects at MPOW.

As each project starts to take shape, I am realising more and more that the sky is pretty much the limit with this job. Yes, we are a very small organisation – but there are plans to grow bigger and just because we are small doesn’t mean that what we offer can’t be great.  The international student market in Australia is very competitive and our advantage is our small size – we are able to treat each student as an individual.  I hope that if I can get services and systems in place that enhance that student experience, then the library can become part of the marketing package when we are out there selling ourselves to potential students.

There is of course a danger of becoming a jack of all trades and master of none – my day ranges across issues relating to ESL students, library instruction, records management, immigration and student visa policy, keeping up with subject specific material, collection development and maintenance, policy writing and money wrangling with the bean counters.  I am the library manager and the untrained library assistant – a position I know is understood by all the other OPL’s out there!

I’ve been thinking about all of this a lot recently – a major university near my home has just announced a faculty librarian vacancy and I have always said I wanted to work there.  Now, I have to decide if it’s really the right time for me.  I think I’m better off staying here, building my resume, developing my projects and gaining valuable experience that will help me move on to a larger organisation when I am more confident in my skills and knowledge.  As part of this decision making process, this weekend I’ll be spending time with ALIA’s Career Development kit (part of my PD obligations anyway) to see if that helps point the way.

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