Saturday 15 June 2013

Professional Development in new places

So, like many people out there I'm working on balancing full-time work with part-time study. To be more specific I'm approximately half way through my undergraduate degree in Library and Information Studies at Charles Sturt University (CSU).  As many of you may be aware, CSU places a heavy emphasis on the practical elements of their courses and this one is no different. One of the course requirements is to complete a minimum of 30 professional development hours by the completion of the degree. This is a great idea for multiple reasons but it's gotten me thinking about what opportunities are out there for professional development. 

Not everyone can afford the time or money for conferences. Groups like ALIA Sydney put on some great events (shameless plug here, if you haven’t been to an ALIA Sydney event yet we have some great things planned for the second half of the year), but again for those that are time poor, travelling all over Sydney isn't always possible. So what can we do from our armchairs to stay current and get those important points??

You can always read an article but that can be a little dull. Have you ever thought about writing one yourself??

When starting on the road to academic authorship, you don’t have to jump into the deep end of the pool. Why not try something that’s a little more straightforward to start with. So when a colleague of mine suggested I write a book review I decided to take the plunge. I got in contact with the coordinator of book reviews for Library Management, a journal published by Emerald, and had my chosen book sent out to me. In comparison to academic writing, a book review is a relatively simple thing to write. All you need is the book and an opinion (and we all have those).

My article was published electronically in early March. I can’t tell you the excitement I felt when I got the link to my review. In addition I got sent a physical copy of the edition of Library Management that my article was printed in (which upon arrival I photographed my name and sent it to everyone). From the start of March to the end of April, my little review had over 250 downloads. It’s not a great piece of academic literature but writing the book review gave me two opportunities, I managed to work up a few PD points and got to read a text that related to my studies and work; and I’m on the road to writing my first academic piece as a professional. 


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