11 Oct 2012

Guest Post: A Call for Participation: the new LAI Career Development Group

Guest post from Giada Gelli, MLIS, Assistant Librarian, The National Gallery of Ireland.

As you may have heard a new group is about to be established within the boundaries of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI). The new LAI Career Development Group will be officially launched at an extraordinary general meeting of LAI members on the 23rd October (details below). The group will deal with important aspects of career development for library and information professionals, particularly for recent graduates and those out of work or in temporary employment.

This is a great step towards the realisation of an aspiration that has been floating in the air for the last couple of years: to create a support network for new graduates and LIS professionals in search of opportunities. I remember coming out of the School of Information and Library Studies in 2009 in a very unfavourable climate for employment. The options then were simple: change career (again?!), change country (again???!!) or embark in one of the rare internships available at the time.

I was lucky and after a couple of years of work placements, studentships and occasional paid contract work, I landed a longer contract job. But I know many others who left college with me were much less fortunate and, even if the abundance of JobBridge schemes and internships these days seems to offer somehow more opportunities, I cannot begin to imagine how hard it must be for new graduates.

A bit of background:

The LIS Career Development Group started officially as a grassroots group last December. Fed up with the employment situation and the evident lack of support for those ‘like us’ in the field, we decided to get together and do something about it.

We set up a Google Groups account to communicate and circulate jobs and opportunities we heard of. We created a LIS resource on Netvibes (http://www.netvibes.com/lisireland) to map the library landscape and support our own continuous professional development. We got together in informal and cheery meetings talking about issues and planning our next strategy: getting recognised as a worthy group to enter the LAI.

And so we did. After meetings, signed letters, support from other LAI members (thanks once again!) we were finally summoned to a LAI council meeting, where we were warmly welcomed and praised for our hard work and motivation. So here we are now, ready to become a new official group of the LAI.

What you can do:

The road to get to this point has been long and winding, but that’s in the past. Now it’s time to think about the future and what we all want this group to do for us.

On the 23rd October we will need to establish a committee, an agenda, terms of reference and that’s only the beginning of the journey. After that glorious day we will need to think about what practical and innovative things we want to do for new graduates and out of work professionals: events, seminars, conferences, ‘unconferences’, meetups, Twitter chats, online presence….the opportunities are endless.

So, we need you! We need as many ideas and organisers and people ready to do their bit to develop this group. If you’re interested in taking part in this new brilliant journey, come along to our pre-meeting get-together on the 15th October (details below) or come directly to the inaugural meeting on 23rd October at the National Gallery (LAI members only).

If you’re not a member of the LAI, please sign up because this will give you access to our group and the events that we will organise for you. But if you’re not a member right now and would like to come along to our pre-meeting, please do so, we want to hear from you!

I hope you’re as excited as I am about this new venture and I really hope to see as many of you as possible involved in the creation of the LAI Career Development Group.


Pre-meeting get-together: 15th October 2012, 5.30pm
Foyer of the Alexander Hotel, 41/47 Fenian Street, D2

LAI Career Development Group Inaugural meeting: 23rd October 2012, 3.00pm
Lecture Theatre, National Gallery of Ireland, Clare St., D2


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