Professional development on the brain…

The concept of professional development is never too far from my mind.  After all, I have been managing a “professional development grant” program for the last five years, not to mention my ever-evolving role in facilitating the conferences, trainings, and library services offered by my organization. Basically, every day I go to work to help other people on their quest for professional development.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking more about intentionally about my own professional development.  I was fortunate to be able to attend the Special Libraries Association conference in Philadelphia last week, and I’ve returned home with an abundance of inspiration and ideas. I haven’t figured how to apply what I’ve learned just yet, but I’m hoping that harnessing some of the energy toward the 23 Things for Professional Development project will help me pull it all together.

Although my decision to start this blog wasn’t entirely a response to Thing 1, I’m excited to be participating in cpd23!  I was intrigued by previous 23 Things challenges I’ve heard about, but this one has begun at just the right time for me to make the commitment.

I am already familiar with many of the technical topics covered in the cpd23 program, but I plan to follow along in order to get myself in the habit of focusing on a different professional development activity each week. I think the routine will help me focus and establish some goals for further exploration.

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Who am I and why am I blogging here?

A little over three years ago, I decided to make the jump from social work school to library school. I was confident in this decision for a number of reasons, not least of which were the dozens of librarian bloggers I had begun to follow. I continue to be impressed by the diverse, intelligent, talented, and fun group of people I can now call my colleagues.

Although I’ve been tempted to start my own blog before, I’ve always been bit hesitant for a handful of reasons.

  1. It seems that librarians’ passion for finding and organizing information extends to the prolific creation of information as well, particularly as it relates to our own profession. It’s already tough to keep up with all the great ideas and conversations. Does the world really need one more librarian blogger?
  2. I have yet to figure out my niche in the library world, hence the “odd librarian out” feeling. I don’t see myself fitting neatly into the typical public/academic/school librarian categories, yet the special library I work in doesn’t really resemble any other special libraries either. What would I write about?
  3. It’s difficult to fight an introverted temperament. I’ve always been a fairly private person, so putting my thoughts in a public venue doesn’t exactly feel natural. Can I really step out of my comfort zone?

Despite these lingering questions, I feel like now’s as good a time as any to join the conversation. Why now?

  1. The more blogger librarians, the merrier. The proliferation of library blogs isn’t exactly stopping anyone else from contributing their ideas. There’s really no escaping information overload, so I might as well participate!
  2. Perhaps my niche for now can be my nichlessness. My recent experience at the 2011 SLA Conference reminded me that while we were all trained in the same core skill sets, they can be applied in a multitude of interesting ways. I will likely write about my journey to find which applications work best for me.
  3. There’s no sense in fighting temperament, but I can channel my need for reflective time into something useful. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with writing, but will use this outlet to focus on the best part, which is how it helps me organize my thoughts.

I see this blog as an extension of my continuing professional development.  I will attempt to synthesize what I learn and experience, with hope that doing so will help me figure out where my librarian journey leads…