Tuesday, 22 November 2011

#cpd23 Thing 16: Advocacy, activism, getting published

I've had some success with publications, as you can see from my Google Scholar Citations page. You'll note that there's a serious (if not very good) academic article, a couple of papers about professional practice, and a Guardian piece advocating for libraries by highlighting the varied things that librarians do. I also regularly compile a bibliography for the journal Library & Information History and am writing a chapter for a forthcoming review book, and I've had a piece in Update (april edition) about the Fred Hoyle Project.

'Snowball' by Chip and Andy on Flickr
Did someone say advocaat?
Mostly these have come about through chance and luck, and not through serious planning.  I think, from a cpd point of view, I ought to work harder perhaps on writing about my main professional area of interest: rare books, special collections, and outreach.  I worry that my publication record so far is somewhat nebulous and disperesed, and perhaps doesn't give a focussed impression of what I'm interested in, or what I'm good at.

I've not been hugely active as an advocate for libraries, although I do try to do as much as I can (I realise, that if I prioritised differently then this would be a lot more. I shall write about guilt another time, I think). As well as the Guardian piece with Emma Cragg, I got involved with the public libraries day last February, and I made a (small) noise about the threatened (and now closed) Paul Hamlyn library at the British Museum.

I can see that advocacy and activism, as well as having positive benefits for society, can be useful cpd tools, as they give an opportunity to develop skills and experience in areas that you might not cover much in your working day.  Stealth advocacy is also an important tool: I talk to a lot of post-grad students one way or another, and I'm always trying to explain to them just how much the library can and does offer ('"do you know who pays for all those online journals...").  When I'm at orchestra rehearsals, and people ask me what it is librarians do anyway these days I make sure to tell them, not just to laugh of their annoying comments about Google.  Every little helps. I hope.


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