Real-life networking is not something I’ve always been that good at. Not that I’m some kind of recluse who doesn’t get on with people you understand, but for much of my career I was happy to get on with my own job and attend training courses organised by some of these networks, but not really put much back. I’ve been a member of CILIP since my graduate trainee days, but even now I have never been active in any of its groups. However, in the last dozen years I feel I have certainly redeemed myself in the work I have put into SALCTG.
The Scottish Academic Libraries Training Group does more or less what it says on the tin. Representatives of each academic library in Scotland meet two or three times a year to plan courses which will be of benefit to their staff. I hadn’t been part of the group for very long when the Secretary resigned at short notice and, with a bit of arm twisting over lunch, I volunteered to replace her. I thought I might do it for two or three years, and ended up doing it for over ten. It was a lot of work – not just taking the minutes at meetings, but organising most of the courses which could sometimes be 5 or 6 a year. However, I really enjoyed it. I met a great bunch of people and honed my organisational skills which could only be good for my “real” job. The only reason I gave up last year was that, as the closure of my library approached, I felt I should be putting all my energies into ensuring that went smoothly.
One of the agenda items at each SALCTG meeting was Regional Reports, where we would tell each other about training developments in our own areas. I always found it frustrating that other areas had cross-sectoral organisations such as TAFLIN (Tayside & Fife), ELISA (Edinburgh) and Grampian Information, whereas the west of Scotland had no equivalent. Eventually, I realised that moaning about it was pointless and maybe I should do something myself to fill the gap, even if in a very small way. Out of this was born the series of Glasgow Library Tweetups (GLTU) which I have been organising since the beginning of the year. Obviously I have been missing my role in SALCTG! I have another blog which chronicles what GLTU has done – and if you are local, you still have time to join us at our next event on 21st June. The details are all in the latest post.
So what have I learned?
- Being an active member is better than being a passive one and I should have been more involved years ago. It’s good to give something back.
- I’m good at organising. I knew that anyway, but SALCTG, and now GLTU, have given my skills an extra boost.
- You meet lovely people and sometimes they can help you (and vice versa of course). This has recently had positive results for me - after my job comes to an end in a few weeks, SALCTG members have asked me to go back and organise courses again. They might even pay me a little bit! And one of my SALCTG contacts has recently suggested another opportunity which I might very well take further.
Watch this space…