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CPD: D-I-Y strategies for solo librarians. Dr. Eva Hornung Joint LAI/CILIP Ireland conference 20 th April 2012, Belfast. Why solos?. One-person librarians (OPLs) have been rarely studied, yet one in three librarians in the world is a OPL (Siess, 2003)

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cpd d i y strategies for solo librarians

CPD: D-I-Y strategies for solo librarians

Dr. Eva Hornung

Joint LAI/CILIP Ireland conference

20th April 2012, Belfast

why solos
Why solos?
  • One-person librarians (OPLs) have been rarely studied, yet one in three librarians in the world is a OPL (Siess, 2003)
  • Continuing professional development (CPD) is central to our role as information providers
  • Little research into CPD for OPLs, none on their own perceptions of this concept
where do they work
Where do they work?
  • Health libraries
  • School libraries
  • Government libraries
  • Corporate libraries
  • Academic libraries
  • Public libraries
  • Charities
  • In both profit and non-profit organisations and all subject areas!
general problems for solos
General problems for Solos

OPLs often report

And the boss says…

  • No money
  • No time off
  • No courses available
  • Nobody around!
  • What’s a solo to do? DIY!

Image taken from: http://www.animationlibrary.com

this research project
This research project

Research approach: Phenomenography

  • Qualitative in nature
  • Looks at variation within perception of a phenomenon

30 OPLs across Ireland took part in semi-structured interviews

(maximum variation sampling)

data collection
Data collection
  • Interviews followed interview schedule
  • Duration: 35 minutes – over an hour

Research questions:

  • What are the Irish OPL librarians' conceptions of CPD?
  • How do OPLs in Ireland experience different methods of CPD?
5 categories of description
5 categories of description
  • Category 1: Upskilling for the sake of the organisation/library service (service orientation)
  • Category 2: Developing as a professional librarian (LIS profession orientation)
  • Category 3: Helping you to do all the jobs an OPL does (OPL orientation)
  • Category 4: When you have learned something and you want to do things in a better way when you come back (personal orientation)
  • Category 5: Your development as a human being

(lifelong learning orientation)

dimensions of variation
Dimensions of variation
  • Dimension ‘role’ – responsibility, motivation and support
  • Dimension ‘time’ – current job or career or life in general
  • Dimension ‘style’ – formal or informal with examples
  • Dimension ‘networking’– types of networking, reasons for doing it
what can lai cilip do
What can LAI/CILIP do?
  • Offer informal evenings, which OPLs can attend
  • Create online platforms, such as Wikis, where OPLs can share information
  • Explore technologies, such as videoconferencing
  • Organise formal events (conferences) on weekends
  • Support training funds, which allows one OPL to become an expert who can train other OPLs
what can the library schools do
What can the library schools do?

Courses need to be…

  • Available online
  • Affordable for OPLs who often have to pay themselves
  • Accessible “after hours” (for face-to-face)
  • Advertised well!
  • In co-operation with library associations?
more diy ideas for opls
More DIY ideas for OPLs
  • Network through videoconferencing/Skype, e.g. Western Regional Section of the LAI
  • Subscribe to free online seminars, such as OCLC WebJunction’s webinars (evenings!)
  • Teach yourself through educational videos on YouTube and TED
  • Set up Table of Contents alerts with publishers
  • Install an RSS feed, such as Google Reader
  • Follow 23 Things for CPD
  • Consider mentoring other OPLs!
over to you
Over to you…
  • What are your experiences as OPLs?
  • Do you see yourself in any of these categories?
  • What is your understanding of CPD?
  • How do you keep up-to-date?
  • Do you experience any barriers?
  • What can library associations and schools do to help?
  • Would you be in favour of a compulsory CPD scheme?


Keep in touch: hornunge@tcd.ie

Or through LinkedIn