3 Feb 2013

LAI Career Development Group #cdg2013

On Saturday 2nd February, the first event organised by the newly formed LAI Career Development Group took place in Pearse Street library.

The 'Open Day' provided a platform for the three speakers to illustrate that the role of the qualified librarian, the newly graduated MLIS and current students are invaluable to a wide variety of sectors within Ireland.

First up, Edel Kelly from INOU - Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed gave an insightful introduction to how to apply for the various supports available. Her presentation was titled 'Options & Opportunities for Unemployed Librarians & Information Professionals'. The role of the INOU is to assist people in moving from welfare to work as well as providing information on how to become self-employed for contractual employment.

 A strong point made by Edel was the fact that we shouldn't take no for an answer. Not every civil servant behind the desk knows all the information - so make sure to check what you are entitled to before you visit. Use your search skills. We are the Info Pros - so make sure to keep a record of who you have contacted and what jobs you have applied for. Not to mention keeping a record of any response or lack of from those applications. We manage others records, so the top tip is to ensure that you keep good records of your own job seeking. If you decide to go down the self-employment route - taking on contract work or starting up your own business - check out all available financing options. One of the great features of #cdg2013, was that during Edel's Q&A session, some helpful points came from the floor - us Info Pros just love to share information! So do check out the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance - BTWEA. and another top tip for current MLIS students - you can apply for job seekers allowance from April, once full time courses have finished.

Next up after the coffee break was Tina Byrne from Arcline a document and records management company established in 1996. Originally comprised solely of archivists, they have developed into offering the services of librarians or information professionals within their project work. Fielding teams that can comprise a mix of experienced and the newly graduated information professionals and archivists they take on projects that require a variety of skills. Arcline secure contracts mainly in the September 'tender' period and projects can be for as short as two to six weeks or as long as a year. They recently had a team of twelve working on a project for the Houses of the Oireachtas that took a year to complete. Transferable skills from the world of the librarian such as MARC21, AACR2, LCSH and LMS experience, alongside the ability to meet deadlines are required within their project work. Whilst most projects are Dublin based, they do get requests for outside the capital. The other key skills required are team work, initiative and excellent communication as you may be working with unique collections in limited timeframes. Tina was very keen to hear from the Info Pros in the audience, so send your CV if you are available for work and also indicate that you are prepared to travel if positions become available outside of Dublin.

After that positive boost to the afternoon's session, we then heard from Brian Donovan, the CEO of Eneclann founded in 1998 at Trinity. Originally established to digitise the historic book collection at TCD, they have evolved into
offering a selection of services including but not limited to research, digitisation, archive and record management as well as digital publishing. Working with combined partnerships they have developed online projects such as Findmypast.ie. Thus making available online valuable resources such as prison registers, petty session records, and the landed estate records.The digitisation of the Petty Sessions records is a large ongoing project. Another major project involves the records related to the Irish Revolutionary Period 1912-1923 - the medal records alone are providing a vast amount of information especially in this decade of anniversaries. As with all digitisation projects, the information uncovered can provide a great insight into life in Ireland during this period, and can shed a light on the more human aspects of history. Details from the prison records such as physical description, tattoos, next of kin are valuable aspects to family and social research. Brian offered some excellent advice, echoing Tina from Arcline, we should  be positioning ourselves as the Information Professionals.
Digistation is where Eneclann are expanding and there is a role for librarians in making more material available. Info Pros with cataloguing and digitisation experience are valuable assets for Eneclann and the fulfillment of their provision of public access to records. Another call for librarians to get in touch with Eneclann regarding their future projects, matching their skills to work.

There was so much for us all to take from the first event from the Career Development Group #cdg2013 - Giada as Chair thanked all the participants for making the day so successful and interesting. Keep an eye out on the blog, Facebook and Twitter for more information on forthcoming events organised by the group and please get involved. Many thanks also to those who 'live tweeted' during the event - it really was a great success both in Pearse Street Library and online.


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