You spoke we listened…or what you can expect to see from EARLL in the future
When we first launched EARLL we were both in agreement that for the network to really succeed it had to be a true voice for its members. We wanted to offer opportunities for online networking and discussion, but we were also determined to hold actual ‘event’ days where career development discussions, networking and skills building can take place. It was important to us that these events be free, as we know first-hand that the limitations in library training budgets often hit lower grade staff the hardest.
In order to achieve this, we had two key objectives:
Ensure a strong web presence that will allow us to communicate with our members and our members to communicate with each other.
Hold a few key events a year, offered for free, that cover a wide range of CPD activities.
Those of you who attended the launch event on the 13th December will remember that we had group session to gather your feedback and asked two questions linked to the objectives above:
What kind of web presence would you like us to have?
What kind of events would you like to see from us in future?
There was some really great participation in this session, and you had some brilliant ideas about what you want to see from us! We’re now going to share our findings with you.
In terms of CPD events, attendees recommended that we keep an eye on topical issues in Academic Librarianship and plan events around them. Attendees want to hear from a diverse range of people with different routes and backgrounds into Librarianship. This is something that we will pursue for the blog and bear in mind for future events. One specific career path that came up was Academic Liaison Librarianship so we are looking at planning an event around this theme in the future.
Some Library-specific skills were flagged as of interest, including: teaching, information literacy and systematic reviews. Soft skills and practical skills were also mentioned, including: cross-team working, recruitment (improving interview, CV and job application skills) and presenting (particularly at conferences). It was suggested that we could have an event based around “Soft Skills”, which identifies the key soft skills and looks at how they can be acquired, applied and promoted to help further your Library career.
Attendees had some specific requirements for event scheduling with Wednesdays and Fridays being mentioned as the most convenient days. Attendees also favoured events scheduled outside of term time when it’s easier to arrange cover for service desk duties, etc.
The EARLL team had considered most of these requirements when scheduling the Launch Event and we intend to largely stick to scheduling in this way when possible.
Although the preference was for CPD events, the idea of more informal EARLL social gatherings was suggested by several groups. The idea of networking socials based around dinner and drinks or pub quiz nights were suggested. We’re looking at how we can facilitate this. We’ll try to always have an opportunity for drinks and networking after our events and we’ll investigate the options for alcohol-free socials too.
Tools and content formats
There were many suggestions for the different web tools and content formats that you would like to see us use, including: JiscMail list, frequent newsletter/roundup emails, Instagram, blog posts, Padlet, LinkedIn, Slack and even a Podcast!
Unfortunately, we were always going to be limited in what we could offer due to time constraints and with this in mind we’ve decided to focus on blog content for the website, a newsletter and a JiscMail list for now.
Those of you on our mailing list will already have received our EARLL Newsletter (if you haven’t already, you can sign up to receive it via our website and make sure to add email@example.com to your safe list!). We’re going to improve the design and standardise the format and frequency of the newsletter.
We’re also pleased to announce that, after a recent Doodle poll of EARLL members, a JiscMail list has now been created, watch this space for details of how to sign up!
A recurring request was that our website content should be informed by input from a diverse range of library professionals. You were interested in interviews/blogposts from senior members of the profession to learn about their career paths and tips for success, as well as “guest contributors” who may not be senior but have different experiences and insights into librarianship or took unusual routes into the profession. We’re planning our first guest blog post now!
Opportunities for EARLL members to contribute were also flagged as important. We’re happy to be approached with ideas for blog/website content and we’ll invite contributions on specific topics soon. We’d also love to engage with you via Twitter and help you to share your experiences, e.g we recently followed @librarian_ellen as she live-tweeted the CILIP Social Media & Marketing Excellence Conference in Birmingham.
If you’d like to contribute to the website/blog or live-tweet an event for EARLL then please get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising opportunities for EARLL members
There was a lot of interest for EARLL to be a central repository for information about bursaries/ conference places, new projects and working groups, low cost training and CPD opportunities, job shadowing, overseas internships and volunteering. We aim to identify and share these kinds of opportunities on Twitter and in our weekly newsletter. It was also mentioned that we could create a glossary of professional organisations and an ongoing list of bursaries that reoccur on an annual basis on the EARLL website, and we’re planning to implement this.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the time to curate a list of job vacancies due to the breadth and frequency of new job adverts in the sector. Instead we are planning a career guidance page on the website where we can direct users to job vacancy websites.
A lot of you said that you would like to see us working collaboratively with other professional organisations and we recognize the value of this (EARLL would not have been possible without the generous support of UKSG and the Innovation award!). We are working hard to establish links and collaborations with national organisations, so watch this space…!
Hannah Boroudjou & Claire Delahunty