Creating and Building a Successful Portfolio to Gain a CILIP Qualification
Mark Naylor, CILIP Y&H Candidate Support Officer, gave a very helpful talk on the process of getting a chartership or certification submission together. He covered absolutely everything candidates needed to know, from first steps through to building the portfolio on the VLE. It was really useful to get an in-depth explanation of the process, and Mark also shed some light on exactly what assessors are looking for in the evaluative statement and the supporting evidence. He gave helpful hints, such as the common weak points in people’s submissions (often their knowledge of issues affecting the wider profession), and explained techniques for identifying whether you have the right evidence to support each section of your statement.
One of the things that I found especially useful was being able to get reassurance from Mark and from the other attendees that I was on the right track. Although we were all at different stages of the professional registration “journey”, we had common concerns and questions, all of which were very ably addressed. Thanks to the workshop, I’m feeling much more confident about being able to prepare and submit my portfolio, so I’m really grateful to have been able to attend.
(report by Emily Wheeler)
Working With Your Mentor
Maureen Pinder (Mentor Support Officer for Yorkshire & Humberside) gave some helpfully frank advice to help candidates and mentors get along more productively:
- Don’t worry about approaching mentors out of the blue. All mentors are nice; they’re librarians volunteering to help other librarians become better librarians – of course they’re nice! All you need to do is briefly explain who you are, where you work, and what library background you have, and if they can help you, they probably will.
- Candidates need differing levels of attention from their mentors, but generally require more help at the beginning and end of the process, i.e. when you’re trying to get started, and when you’re trying to submit the damn thing. Plan to have more meetings with your mentor at these times.
- When composing your mentoring agreement, take the time to talk through how fast you feel you can tackle registration, and how you want to go about it. Agree an end or review point for the relationship, so that if after two years (for example), you haven’t submitted, you can have a conversation with your mentor about whether to press on or leave it for now, without any judgement.
- Mentors don’t know everything about you, so they can give advice, but they can’t tell you what to do. It’s up to the candidate to bring to the table a plan of action, drafts of evidence etc., because that helps to give your mentor something concrete to advise you about.
- Remember that commenting on drafts takes a decent chunk of time, and mentors have to fit it round their own jobs. You are not getting a ten page document back, with notes, the next day.
- Mentors’ biggest problem is candidates going dark on them (guilty!). If you’re busy, or you just can’t prioritise professional registration at the moment, try to let you mentor know, otherwise they tend to assume you’re in the midst of a horrible life crisis and never want to hear from them again…
(report by Evelyn Webster)
Tour of the Leeds College of Building Library (Hunslet Campus)
Anne-Mary Inglehearn (CILIP’s Mentor of the Year, 2016) kindly gave us a tour of the LCB’s Hunslet Campus and its library. Built considerably more recently than their ‘northern’ campus, the Hunslet campus has a huge warehouse space for students on construction and plumbing courses to do practical activities. The library is much smaller, but has a respectable bank of computers, course books, and leisure books available. Almost all students could be called reluctant readers, but the library promotes reading for pleasure via challenges and topical displays (the one up during our tour was ‘LGBT history in Leeds’).
The library also doubles as a stationery shop, selling the usual pens, pencils, rulers and calculators that students routinely forget, as well as more niche items such as work gloves and hard hats. Any money made by the shop, or from fines, goes into the college’s central funds, but the library does get a slice of it back. Anne-Mary explained that students primarily use one campus or another, depending on their course, but the library staff work a few days a week at each, to make sure everyone is familiar with the whole college. Sometimes they will do the brisk twenty-minute walk between sites, but there is also a convenient bus route, in case it’s raining!
(report by Evelyn Webster)