So, week one of cpd23 begins, and participants are asked to set up a blog, if they don’t already have one. Well, I’ve had this blog (in it’s previous incarnation as “Jennie Law” for four years, so I think I’m good for the “setting up and getting used to blogging” part of Thing One 🙂
I set this blog up originally as just somewhere to share the interesting things I found around the internet, with no real expectation of many others finding or reading it (and hence very little thought about a good name). At the time, there were only one or two other law librarians that I knew of blogging, so it didn’t seem like it would be something long term, but for that moment, it felt good to be able to share some random thoughts with other law librarians, and to be able to learn from their blogs. I’ve stuck with it, despite a few periods of thinking “I’ve got nothing to say!” (and then finding a month or so later that I suddenly had a flood of things to say), and now that I’m able to contrast it against other methods of sharing thoughts like Twitter, I’m appreciating more the ability it gives me to expand on ideas though masses of words, meandering as they may be! And the interaction that comes through comments being left here for me, and me going off and commenting elsewhere.
Next up…so, why am I taking part in cpd23?
Well, I work in a law firm. Law firms fall into the category of “special libraries” along with health libraries, science libraries, and all sorts of other places most people don’t know exists, and they’re quite different places to work in, compared to the “usual” libraries, ie public, school, academic. Typically in Scotland, law firm libraries are staffed by only one person, or if you’re lucky, a few people: despite having many firms with multiple offices, often serving multiple jurisdictions, Scots law firms libraries do not have the luxury of lots of library staff. Many law librarians work as solo librarians, which can be quite isolating, so, we have our own groups and associations to help us network, and get the specialist training we need. We can also be put under quite a lot of pressure from our users, and depending on the workplace culture, can either be respected and needed, or looked upon as money-draining annoyances. The need to develop skills and knowledge in this niche area, while working alone or with little support, and constantly needing to defend the existence of the service, can lead to someone working in law to ignore the wider information world, as it’s all they can do to keep up with their own world.
I’ve tried to avoid becoming too insular: I’m involved in my specialist professional group (The Scottish Law Librarians Group), I have good contacts with people in other information areas, I try to go to events outside my area if I can, I keep track of the Big Issues in the library world …but the risk is that I become too settled, and I lose the impetus to do those things, and to keep meeting new people (online, or in real life). I’m hoping CPD23 will give me a push to remind me not to sit back and let things pass over my head when it feel like it’ll be an effort to find out what’s going on, and not to get lazy!
I’m also looking forward to finding some more new librarian blogs: I did the massive trawl to find them all in the first place to set up the UK Library Bloggers wiki, and the periodic updates it needed to add the new blogs I found or was sent, until the wiki was opened for public updates over a year ago. I still manage the entries (for people who claim to be librarians, there’s a lot of individuals out there that can’t put things in alphabetical order!), but I’ve not really had a chance to look at the blogs where people have added themselves…and really, I should be looking!
And now for a disclaimer: I may have difficulties with some of the Things for this course: I can’t talk much (if at all) about certain topics, like my work, the technology we use in the firm, financial issues, training resources, any personal feelings I have about anything I do or don’t do etc…so if I’m not posting on a certain topic, or being annoyingly vague and neutral, it’s not because I’m lazy or not getting into the spirit of things, I just have to be sensible about what I say 🙂
Because yes, some of my co-workers have discovered this blog, and they do know who I am…. 😉