Post-mortem: Professional Development Week 2008

27 May

Friday marked the end of CUL’s Professional Development Week, one in which my own participation was both less and more than I might’ve hoped. On the final day I sat on two panels and made a presentation, but the preparation needed meant I didn’t have time to go to many events during the rest of the week.

The first panel discussed the CUL Mentoring Program, which I’ve participated in since Fall of 2006. I’d only been invited to sit on the panel the previous week, but it was a fun opportunity to talk about a program I think highly of. My mentor, Jesse Koennecke, helped me get into library school and has provided great advice on navigating the ins and outs of CUL, so I was glad to get a chance to talk up the program.

The second panel was on Web 2.0, and consisted of the folks who taught hands-on training sessions for various 2.0 applications over the past year as a part of a program sponsored by the Committee for Professional Development. I taught a session on RSS back in November, and the panel led a great discussion on the application of stuff like blogs, wikis, Facebook, and within the library. However, going on about the potential for that sort of thing on a blog would be preaching to the choir, so I’ll just say it was good to share ideas, and move on.

My presentation was on Berkeley Electronic Press’s SelectedWorks, and the use it’s been getting at the Catherwood Library. The slides were sparser than usual for me, with more time spent on the SelectedWorks site itself. But the product speaks strongly to elements of Dr. Lankes’s keynote address, specifically in how it lets the library cast itself as a facilitator of faculty-to-faculty conversations. The level of use SelectedWorks has seen at Catherwood, and the fact that it was created specifically to fulfill requests from faculty, seemed to get people’s attention.

The case can be made that services like SelectedWorks are within the purview of the academic library, and represent a definitive service that such institutions can offer the academy going forward (which again ties into elements of Dr. Lankes’s keynote). The case I’m less sure of, and frankly one that I didn’t even touch upon, is that such a service likes within the purview of a librarian. I’d like to think that this sort of thing doesn’t just provide purpose to paraprofessionals, but my own lack of experience leaves me without the confidence necessary to claim otherwise. Hopefully, that will change as time goes on.

All things considered, PD Week was probably a good thing for me, in terms of discussing the work with others, learning about what librarians are working on, and getting my face in front of the people I hope to be working with for the foreseeable future.

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