My name is Lisa Hutchins - I’m a new professional in the area of libraries and information science (LIS).
Spot the literary reference…
I’m somewhat wary of the term, however, since I am strictly speaking neither new nor professional. I have become involved in the library profession in the last couple of years (what could fairly be described as mid-career) after having the happy insight that my work as a freelance web content manager and information architect was coming closer and closer to what I thought of as “traditional librarianship”.
As a result I joined CILIP and looked into pursuing a formal information and library management qualification - something I am now just embarking on through a distance-learning Masters degree in Information and Library Management with Northumbria University. My current career plan is to become a chartered information professional in the next five years.
I am a member of CILIP’s UK e-Information Group (UKeIG) and the Career Development Group (CDG) as well as falling under the auspices of the Eastern region. I’m presently an Affiliated Member and work part-time as a library assistant at one of my local public libraries in addition to my online information work. .
I’ve found this invaluable in broadening my experience of the sector and I’m also working on demonstrating the value of my work as an information architect by pursuing certification, which strikes me as a prudent belt and braces-style approach in the current very uncertain professional and financial landscape. It is my intention to progress to chartership if successful.
CILIP has adapted a post I wrote for this blog and used it to illustrate what an information architect does on its career profiles page - you can read that here. If you are interested in talking to me about a web or information project you have in mind, please visit my company’s website here. My particular areas of interest in information practice are usability and the design of effective information portals, particularly for libraries, museums and archives. I am also very interested in local studies, and in the process of digitisation, which I am considering as a potential dissertation project. I spend one day a week working as a collections volunteer at a local museum and I have written the odd article for professional publications including CILIP Update.
Having been inspired by the people behind the Voices for the Library project, I was involved in setting up a friends’ group for my local libraries in North Hertfordshire, which saw a number of cuts in 2011, although thankfully no branch closures. I’m passionately convinced of the crucial role of public libraries to civic society and of the importance of advocacy to try and increase users and avert further cuts. I’m also very unhappy with the current narrative that library assistants and para-professional staff are not worth the salary we are paid and it being perfectly acceptable to replace us with volunteers. If you want a more informed insight into the complex set of skills, competencies and experience that you need to do my job, I’ll be more than happy to tell you about them.
I originally set up this blog to assist in my continuing professional development and to help me take part in the CPD23 project which I am very pleased to have completed. Its next function will be to help me record what I do as I progress towards chartership. In the future I would love to work in the areas of local studies and archives and do a PhD in a LIS discipline - but, hey, perhaps taking things one step at a time would be a good idea for now.
I’m keen to have a conversation with librarians, would-be librarians, professionals new and old and somewhere in between, para-professionals, information professionals, museum professionals, archivists, archaeologists, advocates, activists and everyone else involved in this fascinating information ecology that we all inhabit and work busily to find our niche in.
You can contact me by leaving a comment on this blog or by checking out this page. I look forward very much to hearing from you.