Keeping up with it all…

I have made it halfway through my first semester and I find that keeping up with professional development is a time consuming task. There is so much information out there. Over the past couple of months, I have received several emails from other new academic librarians in their first professional job like myself. Professional development is always a topic that is mentioned and I would invite input from librarians with more experience as to how you manage it. I attempt to read a few journals regularly, receive digests from listservs, read blogs, and talk with colleagues. I have also attended the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans and thought that the presentations, poster sessions, and speakers were another source of information. Is there anything I am missing? Are there any other sources of information that you keep track of? Do you attend many conferences? Are their specific publications or sources that have proved themselves more useful than others? For those of us who are new to the profession, I think that dialogues with more experienced colleagues are a great source of information and know-how. After all, exchange of information is a two-way street. The other librarians that I work with have been tremendously helpful as I get through the first year and learn the ropes. I would value input and advice from other members of the profession.

5 thoughts on “Keeping up with it all…”

  1. Lauren – sounds like you are doing a pretty good job – certainly much better than many librarians that stopped trying to keep up a while ago. If I had to suggest anything it might be try to include some non-library resources in your keeping up regimen, attend local – not just national meetings, and take in a few webcasts. They are great ways to hear experts without expensive conference fees. And – be sure to visit the Keeping Up Web Site (staff.philau.edu/bells/keepup) for additional ideas. But you seem to have the right idea about the need for staying Kept-Up.

  2. I am in my first professional position as well, and understand your challenges! It is difficult to find time to keep up, but is vital in our profession. In addition to your ideas, I use technology to help me keep up–using RSS (Real Simple Syndication), for example, which gathers new content from blogs, websites, etc. in one place, like a personalized inbox for the web.

    Like Steven mentioned, virtual conferences/webcasts are also useful when time and funds are at a premium. Your comment about connecting with experienced colleagues is so true. I have found ALA’s New Member’s Round Table to be fantastic–they offer a mentoring program, and many state associations do as well. Good luck!

  3. Hi Lauren,

    You have the right idea. There is plenty of information and it is a challenge to know how best to spend your time. Yes! Dialogues with colleagues is an extremely valuable way to keep us. I recommend that you take a look at this September post from the LACUNY Blog (Library Association of the City University of New York) Here, Stephen Francoeur let’s us in on his keeping-up regimen using blogs and mentions some of the journals he reads regularly. http://lacuny.cuny.edu/blog/2006/09/professional-development-and-blogs.html
    Best of luck!/ Lisa

  4. First of all, let me say that after 15 years, I’m not sure I am keeping up. But, some ideas.

    * Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to keep up. Sometimes you will just have to pass on an issue of a journal or miss a conference. If the December issue arrives, and you haven’t read the November issue, don’t feel guilty about chucking the November issue unread.

    * Keep up with Higher Ed, by looking at the Chronicle, Inside Higher Education, etc. Don’t just read library things.

    * You can’t keep up in everything: try to focus in an area, and keep up there. Try to align your community service with your professional development with your area of interest in your job, and you will have a synergy. If you are scattered, you won’t get as much done. Volunteering at an elementary school and trying to keep on pedagogy if you are involved in liaison with the education department will yield more results. Volunteering at the Disease Society and keeping up on aerospace engineering if your main job is cataloging will quickly drive you crazy.

  5. Let me echo Steve Stone on the importance of staying in touch with higher ed issues through the Chronicle of Higher Ed and Inside Higher Ed (http://insidehighered.com/). You might also look at University Business; some, but not all, issues include articles very relevant to academic librarianship.

    And you can’t do it all. In time you will learn what sources are most valuable to you.

    Very early in my career in the pre-pre-pre-Internet days at an institution far from any major population center or a significant number of other librarians, one of my colleagues organized a series of in-house continuing education programs. Each of us would take a turn preparing a paper or presentation, present it to our colleagues one evening, and then discuss the ideas. One of my early journal articles grew out of that modest start.

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