To learn or not to learn? that is the question!
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn
~~ BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
The question proposed in Workshop 3 was whether the library and information science profession was a learning profession. It was also questioned whether individuals in the profession embrace the mind set of continuous improvement and development because currently here in Australia there are no compulsory professional development for LIS professionals, whereas other countries such as the UK and New Zealand do. Furthermore, the IFLA Journal article proposed for Workshop 3’s reading discussion, delved into the importance of mandatory ‘continuing professional development’ (CDP).
To aid exploration of these questions and discussion, the four guest speakers recorded in Helen Patridge’s Workshop 4 A Learning Profession 2013 audio recording, gave insight into exactly why these questions and others are exceedingly important to address.
The guest speakers for this workshop included Kelly Johnson, Sue Hutley, Lyndelle Gunton and Kathleen Smeaton all of whom were interestingly enough had studied at QUT in some point of their lives. For instance, Sue Hutley completed her library degree 20 years ago and had come back to the very same university to undertake a Masters by Research (QUT IT60) because her familiarity (and supporting network) with it initially. Lyndelle had completed her degree 15 years ago at QUT and she too came back university once she had reached the level of the ‘need to learn’ desire. The other two guest speakers, Kelly and Kathleen, were both new kids off the block that have taken the additional steps towards achieving an Advanced Masters and/or PhD once they had completed studying their first library and information science degree.
Combination of these guest speakers’ professional experiences confirmed the importance of adopting the mindset of being a reflective practitioner and also, one of a learning professional. The main commonality between them all (other than solidarity and advocacy of ALIA!) was how imperative it was to always be a ‘continued’ learner in some way or other.
I found what Sue Huntley had to say about the Masters by Research project she was researching was of great interest to me for several reasons. GLAMourous Digitisation: Australian content for the digital economy. GLAM stands for Galleries, Libraries & Museums, which I knew though didn’t really take into account as part of the ‘why’ I was attending a fieldwork placement (of a mere 36 hrs, cry!) with the Research Library, Art Gallery of South Australia, had additionally meant to me. It was like… connecting dots with a clunk of a dropped penny attached to my Career Planning!
It was confirmed by the entire panel of guest speakers that continued learning can be at varying levels of learning, whether its through a personal learning network (PLN), professional development mentor program (PDM) or through membership to professional bodies, community engagement and/or organisation locally, national and internationally. For example, each of the speakers utilised certain social media platforms they deemed suitable for their own professional (and personal) networking.
To answer the question of whether there should be mandatory professional development within the library and information profession…
I honestly believe that as an information professional or any other type of professional for that matter, learning solely lies upon the shoulders of the learner’s want to ‘learn’. A strong desire to learn is what drives a person forward into the embrace of learning.
Hwa is thet mei thet hors wettrien the him self nule drinken
[who can give water to the horse that will not drink of its own accord?]
~~ AS RECORDED BY The Phrase Finder
Original quote found in Old English Homilies (early 1175)
Personally speaking, what I’ve done to continue my professional development (CDP) has involved becoming a participant with the International Librarian Network (ILN) for the 2014/15 Professional Development Mentor program that the organisation administers.
Additionally, I am yet reminded again what needs to be carried out (for me) over the next 12 months, with some actions literally requiring action in the forthcoming weeks, such as membership with both ALIA and IFLA.
It’s all a matter of timing, isn’t it… !?
Mal Booth’s interpretation of Kathleen Smeeton’s Australian public libraries and social media ~ Are they using it? tweeted on the day the presentation was presented.
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