I’ll start by saying that I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog post, it’s great to see a round up of all the professional bodies in one place. As a graduate trainee I’ve had the privilege of free student membership for the past 12 months though this is due for renewal soon and I won’t be granted this advantage (even though now I actually will be a genuine student whose earnings are significantly eaten into by tuition fees)! I’m hoping I may be able to bag another free year through work and have made enquiries but I know that I’m a temporary member of staff who may not be eligible for the same privileges that the rest of the department are.
My experience of CILIP membership had been largely positive though the one thing I slightly regret is the special interest groups I signed up to. It was the first thing I did having got my first library job and therefore I wasn’t too clued up on exactly what my interests were. I went to an AGM of the academic research libraries special interest group and it involved some interesting talks, such as Jason Webber’s (British Library) presentation on internet archiving. I would love to be more involved with this side of things and actually applied for an opening on the committee as social media person but lots of other people wanted to do it too (confusingly, three of whom we’re all called Vicky). I decided to step back and allow others to take the opportunity who we’re perhaps more suited.
In my previous post on conferences I expressed my resolve to aim to attend more professional events and here, I repeat it. Not only does it give you the opportunity to network but it inspires you with fresh ideas you could perhaps apply at work. If professional communities didn’t exist then how would new ideas or technologies ever spread? And who knows, you may just be the one who introduces something great at work due to gathering ideas from events. Be like a library magpie, seek and collect ideas from everywhere!
I would love to go to the biall conference one year or the cilip one but I also think that perhaps a little more experience in my field might help me to really get the most out of such an event. I must remind myself that I’m still at the beginning of my career. I suppose it’s sort of like the way I’m glad I didn’t go travelling straight after college, yes I would have enjoyed it at the time but with more maturity and knowledge under my belt I know I’ll get more from the experience now I’m a little older.
I also discovered a London based group for information professionals so I’ll be keeping my eye out for events from them in the future.
At the moment, I’m running a really tight ship over my finances as I’m on an entry level wage in London and am paying for my masters which is pretty crippling. However, once I’m qualified I think I’ll aim to be a member of at least one body. The price seems expensive now but when I have a little more to play with it’ll be worth it, plus if I make a habit of doing it from as soon as possible it will be money I won’t miss hopefully.
Like anything in life though, the more you put into your membership the more you’ll get out of it. With all of the things I’m juggling at the moment I’m happy to wait a little before committing to active membership.