Friday, 30 November 2012

Interview ideas and museings

I wrote about my first experience of being on an interview panel back in October with thoughts and ideas, but today I saw this post by the Letters to a young librarian about say this and not that, which said what I had been trying to fluff my way to saying very very well :-).

There seems to be an art to interviewing, to makes the right impression and to getting what you want to say across and sounding right. I am a firm believer in that personality is a must when interviewing, you have to be yourself as well as showing why your the person that stands out for them!

The task of doing/adapting to my job goes on and this month has brought more changes again and new responsibilities,  I now sign off forms and keep spreadsheets of hours up to date. This has me again waking at night worrying that I shall mess up. Sad to be mid Forties and still waking with worries but I suppose that it is just me :-).

Spent part of my morning helping the new Creative Ambassadors in the school, which was fun, but not as productive as I should have been :-). Will make a list for the afternoon! or I wont get all done in time :-(.

Tomorrow will be spent getting a car for my oldest as his birthday/xmas present (for years!) so my mind isn't wanting to do any work. Perhaps I shall finish the Professional knowledge matrix and get my mind back in library mode :-).

Farewell November;

    No sun—no moon—no morn—no noon,
No dawn—no dusk—no proper time of day,
No warmth—no cheerfulness—no healthful ease,
No road, no street, no t’ other side the way,
No comfortable feel in any member—
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,
by Thomas Hood

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sun basking and 27 days to Christmas

It has got to that time of year, the one when I get up in darkness, go to work in darkness, watch sunrise from my desk. The sun gets to my windows around now (11.30am) and is bright and low in the sky. The sky itself is pale blue almost white and so very sharp and pretty, gradually moving up to a deep blue above us. The sun makes me perk up and smile, I wonder if I am solar powered some days as I get so much done when it shines.

Then by 3pm its getting dark again and by 4pm evening! so I go home in darkness, get tea in darkness and go to bed in darkness... I like warm nights by the fire, I am happy to have my curtains shut and if no one is home at daytime they sometimes stay that way! But I do miss the sun, last month it was low in the sky and in our faces as we drove to work, so bad in spots that people are complaining about certain points in the road becoming black spots due to bright sun.

This is the time of year when we have a roaring fire and chat in the evenings, when we sit surrounded by the cats who find a way to coexist rather than get put out of the main room for fighting (again), I get one or other of the kittens in my lap, Mama cat sits in the back window sill, Silly cat sits on the couch and the other kitten (which ever isn't on me) sleeps against the fire heated radiator or in front of the fire.

I am aware though that we only have a few years at most left before my children leave for University, summer 2014 will mark two of them due to fly, and while I have said I am looking forward to it! Meh I shall cope, and I doubt I shall lose contact with them, may be even more chat than now, but we shall see.

 Winter is a time for going over what you've done and why and what your going to do. The long evening lend themselves to reflection. Few distractions, time to plan and sort, but little impetus to get up and do anything means lots of thinking time. Great summer plans of knitting things has faded to 'when I get round to it', working in the shed has no appeal in minus temperatures. Even if it is the only clear space to get out the sewing machine and to cut patterns.

I am ahead on presents and a few to get left and behind on cards, now where did I put my address book! I like to have them to send on the 1st of December, well hope for the 3rd of 4th at this rate and then, ackk too soon. The sun is so bright and pretty, its not worth worrying about cards now...

I know I enjoy summer with its sun all day and night long, but some primeval part of me that curls up with the cats in front of the fire, and basks in the winter sunshine is fulfilled. The bell has rung, back to work, Sun basking must end.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Weather and winter.

This weekend has been full of weather problems, from a few deaths and lots of people flooded out of their homes, rain and cold weather rules. Even here we have had cold nights and chilly days. On Saturday the day dawned cold and frosty and stayed that way all day, when I came home from Christmas shopping the sheltered parts of the road was still frosty and white.

The local towns have Christmas fun days and they are kind enough (and bright enough) to stagger them, so it was Wicks on Saturday and next week it will be Thurso's turn. They are 20 miles apart and the next large town is Tain more than an hours drive and two county's away :-) so the two towns are supposed to be rivals but more and more they are finding that by co-ordinating they get more and give more back.

The current climate of recession, of tightening your belt, and of judging the worth and value of everything has led to a strange sense of being judged. All I do and all I participate in is weighted and valued in my head, I make notes and keep track of whats worth doing and what isn't. I find myself in shops thinking that a thing isn't worth the money being asked for it, or that I don't want to pay the asking price for things. The whole way our society see's ourselves has been challenged and the result is gradually flowing over us all, from The Apprentice (which I am loving the young version of) to X-Factor (which will be the last series I watch after the mess of Ryland in and Ella out), I value my own time and even my 'fun' things get weighted and measured.

This has helped by the reflective practitioner things I have been doing as part of my own CPD, it has helped when looking at my own work and the wider world. Events a couple of weeks ago have helped bring this home to me. I sat and thought what, why and what next. I applied all that and did what I had to, when I ran what I had done and wanted to do past one of my colleagues, they were not sure, just as well I wasn't asking but telling :-). A week later I finally had all the information in place to do all I needed and because I had done it first all was in place. My own actions and reactions had been vindicated which was good for me but was a clear win for applying the do, think, change ideas.

The excess of water has been a problem for so many back in Devon where I come from, my poor brother has a bucket in his living room due to a leak. My mum hasn't done much as the local roads have been under water. I have been thinking about all that is happening and have come to the point were I know I can't plan for everything. The rain cannot be planned for only coped with, unless you built wrong in the first place. What you can plan and sort out is good as long as you follow rules and what is done is for a reason. And Finally (failing Ryland being voted out of X-Factor) we are much better working together and being with each other than alone. Co-operation, forethought, and hope, regardless of the weather, winter or current situation.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Portfolio Building Feedback

I was lucky enough to get to the portfolio building day in Aberdeen at the start of the month, due to many factors including a cold and unexpected work problems/issues I didn't get the write up finished until now :-).
I wont put it all up as the finished document with references is eight pages long! but I shall share what I got out of it the most. I also have copies of some of the power points which has helped me keep on track when writing my notes :-).

First Thing that came across was that the whole exercise is a measurement of your professional ability, and how it compares and contrasts to others at the same level. This means that it is less about your particular job than your own skills and abilities, you can see that a solo school librarian in the wilds of Scotland is using the same processes and ideas as an assistant librarian in a large research library in a major city. This was a relief as I worried that some bit we don't have up here may make us less likely to get our chartership but no as long as you meet the criteria your fine.

That's is my second thing, the criteria are all they can measure you against. As long as you meet them and show you have met them your fine, allot of recommendations was to use the 4 criteria as your organisation layout for the portfolio. I found myself looking at the Criteria again with fresh eyes and am happy to say I don't feel half as inadequate as I used to.

1, An ability to reflect on personal performance and to evaluate service performance. Reflect critically on personal and service. Needs to be made as an ‘I’ statement and opinionated.
2, Active commitment to continuing professional development. Active commitment to CPD, follow blogs, twitter and networking.
3, An Ability to analyse personal and professional development and progression with reference to experiential and developmental activities. Learning on the job, what worked and what didn’t.
4, Breadth of professional Knowledge and understanding of the wider professional context. Not just good at your own job but part of the profession, go to AGM’s etc.
See also
The CPD23 actually helps with so many areas and helps to get you thinking why and what next so much better.

The biggest area that could cause problems is being a reflective practitioner, this is one of the things that CPD23 covers in great detail by making you do a little of it at a time and then by the end your doing all of it, and in detail. best help for this is Thing #5 which gets you all the links to teach you more and how to get going. Librarians are very good at knowing that something needs doing, sorting, weeding or changing something which needs it but we don't go through the process of what we have done and why and what needs doing next. Most of us 'know' that something needs doing this just makes a more rigorous case for our own work. I did apply this to my Day to day things and it showed up a few things I like that should have been much lower in priority than I had them but there was nothing extra or missing just different order.

Most other problems seem to stem from either not following the criteria or not being ruthless with evidence, again its a 'what' and 'why' and 'what next' all the time. Why do I need two pieces showing the same thing, why do I have nothing showing this area. The nice gentleman from Cilip Michael Martin came and gave us a fab overview of what is needed and showed us some online tools that help, and audit sheet and PPDP which can be great start points and also end points. You need to start with a PPDP and then do one as you finish which will show development and change, also you can use the audit on the 4 criteria to work out if you have the right info in as your evidence.

They also spoke of the support of a mentor and I realised I haven't been as good as I could be, I have done some but I need to do more and soon. According to the wonderful Val Walker who is the Scottish Mentor Support Officer we are there to - Enable - Encourage - Enthuse which is quite a challenge! I after a wonderful session with some fabulous people full of enthusiasm and positive views, I came away determined to do as much as I can to to enjoy it too.

I hope my thoughts have helped, if you want more feel free to ask :-) I do have a many page feedback as well, but I must also mention Celia Jenkins Scottish Candidate Support Officer who organised it and spoke, David Main from Aberdeen Libraries who set up the venue. Jan Dawson and Julie McCue who gave us thoughts on their recent chartership. Ian Stringer from lots of different committees who encouraged us to keep on going after we pass and to stay involved as Cilip is us and we make it what we want. and Finally my favourite speaker of the day was Anna Herron, an assessor who has made me sit up and think 'I could do that', and given me a whole new idea of things to do.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Not What I planned for life

My next post was to be details for the Portfolio building course I went on last week. I so enjoyed it and have some stuff ready for it, but it was not to be what I planned.
Monday early brought an email with issues I have spent time out of work on, time on the phone and the odd sleepless night over. I love my job and I love helping others, I am glad to say I now have things in place to deal with the issues. It has taken me the bulk of the week to get my head round it, get every one Else's head round it and have things in place to get it sorted.
The returns are patiently waiting a clear 10 minutes to file away and my poor portfolio stuff is unfinished in the bag I took away with me. I am listening to the Children in Need Concert (due to being above the main hall!) and finishing the basic must get done every week chores. Lots of things got left aside while I sorted what could have been a big problem, and now I must pick them all up and finish them off too.
I grew up with a cartoon series which used to say 'Love is...' and then twee sayings like 'bringing fresh flowers' or 'doing the dishes' or my fave from then 'putting down the Loo Seat' This was followed by a similar one of 'Life is ...' which were less twee but also less sweet, the best one of these was 'Live is what happens while your planning everything else.'
That is my thought for the day, I had such high hope for plans this week and none of them (just about) got done. I went to a meeting that ended up cancelled because only two of us turned up (and it was her room) but it allowed me to finish time sensitive stuff I would have had to stay late to do otherwise.
So while you could look at my week and judge it not a success, I did get problems organised, issues sorted, and my head round some new ideas. Oh and listen to many rehearsals and then 3 complete versions of the Children in Need Concert. The 'old' spice girls were fun (all staff), and the own clothes day has been a success. They raised nearly £300 just on the Gunk a teacher bit! Sadly they Dunked a friend and her husband had set her up! He bribed his classes that the more she got the more cakes and biscuits he brought in for them! She wasn't pleased :-) I laughed.
Next post should be summary of the course, next stop weekend!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Chartership and Portfolios

I missed my normal Monday posting as I was very busy getting sorted to go to Aberdeen for a Portfolio Building day run by the CDG group and hosted by the Cilip NE group, both of whom are to be commended for the well organised day, despite problems the day ran well and I learnt so much.

I am in the strange place of not needing to write a portfolio, but after the course I feel like writing one just for fun. They made the whole process sound so much better and more acceptable, not scary or hard but more just a way of thinking that would enhance our own working skills. I will be turning all my notes (15 A4 sides) into some sort of guide to help the ones needing it for their chartership here in Highland. It was so nice to have people come from as far away as London to speak and to have people from Shetland north and Midlothian south to listen. I have been fired up and have great plans to try and organise one for the Highlands in the spring/summer (gives me time to sort it out) but I have to get notes typed up first :-).

While looking over my blogs in the reader of my choice I noticed a comment about chapowrimo, which has been coined on the Twitter #chopowrimo and is basically a version of nanowrimo, but the thing is you write your chartership portfolio in November! or at least aim to work for 5mins a day on it every day for the month. What a great idea! wish it was around when I was doing mine, took ages to get to the writing bit, and then found I had to cull so much of my evidence it felt like I had wasted some of my time getting that far! I have gone on to use everything form back then and most is now distant memories, but at the time it was the most important thing in the world!

I could wax lyrical for ages on the course but I think I may put my thoughts up online as one entry later in the week (when notes are sorted) with links to various places that may help and ideas I found useful, but I would like to thank all those who set it up and to all who attended for a wonderful event.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Changing times that stay the same.

I follow the Scottish Review which is an online paper sent out twice a week about events and happenings that touch and influence Scotland. I read most of it some is fab some is interesting occasionally I don't finish a piece and there is usually one I don't get round to reading. Today's had an interesting piece about life lessons and metaphors which I am sorely tempted to just cut and paste and give as a quote :-).

The winter always gets me feeling reflective, and I lost a very dear friend to Cancer at the start of December in 1988 and since then it is my reflective time for life. The piece quotes this " 'The toughest lesson life teaches is the difference between who you wanted to be and who you actually are. And it can take a whole life to teach it'" which is a very good way to look at life, You are not finished and must strive towards the best you want to be but keep an eye on reality too. whole thing is very interesting.

Work is changing round me and the past rules and expectations are all under review, some things are looking very good but others I have reservations about. So life is normal :-). Next week is full, I have meetings and workshops, travel time and waiting time. I will have covered many miles (one friend said I should fly it would be quicker, which it would) and stayed in various beds, from posh hotel to mates spare bed. But I am looking forward to it all, I do get very set in my own ways and I have found any thing that makes me knee jerk gasp, is usually well worth doing and gives me a wider view of my own world and often leaves me with a more humble view of life.

I wasn't going to blog today as its the start of NaBloPoMo which I am not taking part in and it could make the blog world a very busy old place. But I felt I had to share