As an MLIS student I am slightly terrified of the idea that I will soon be finished and cast upon the big bad world of employment. Although library school is teaching me invaluable information by the bucket load I am constantly aware that we are learning within a theoretical framework and that I am going to have my work cut out if I am survive the real world.
Enter NPD Ireland.
I was lucky enough to be one of the few who received a golden ticket to their first event in the Pearse Street Library yesterday. And upon arrival I was not disappointed. From the calibre of the speakers down to the tiniest details such as the fans of coloured folders to the gluten free biscuits and soya milk that were served alongside the regular tea and biscuits the organisers left no stone unturned.
NPD Ireland have created an invaluable service by creating a means for students such as myself to interact with each other, newly qualified professionals and more experienced professionals in a manner that is far less intimidating than attending the traditional library events that are held in the country. The phrase “dipping your toes into the water” was mentioned several times throughout the day and this is precisely what we were invited to do.
The day opened with a talk from Michelle Dalton (@mishdalton) speaking on the joys of Twitter. As somebody who is only new to the platform I found her presentation highly beneficial as she highlighted the potential pitfalls of the site and advised upon how to avoid information overload. As someone who spend their first day on Twitter wondering how Marian Keyes managed to live her life, write a novel and still find time to tweet every twenty seconds I found this information massively helpful.
Next up was David Hughes (@usernameerror) on the use of IT to help us develop our careers. His presentation was fabulous. He managed to cover a wide variety of technologies and their uses without once resorting to jargon or making me feel like I was in over my head. I found him to be one of the first people who I felt I could listen to talk about computers where I fully understood what they are saying. His activities also caused me to re-evaluate the use of technology within a library setting. I do still feel that QR codes are a gimmick but now I can see that they are a potentially useful gimmick.
Next we had Daniel Duffy (@dangleroughly) speaking on how to network and more importantly how not to network. I felt that he raised some really interesting and useful points. My favourite being not to mention Croke Park outside of a GAA setting. As part of his presentation he asked us to fake network with personas we had been given on a slip of paper. This offered me a great insight into how people can view networking as a terrifying prospect as each member of the group I was placed with was so nervous about correctly identifying what they do that they all forgot to introduce themselves by name and referred to themselves purely by their profession.
Our final speaker was Jane Burns (@JMBurns99), a woman who seems to have quite literally done it all. She is a fascinating woman and I found it really inspiring that she has managed to do the variety of work which she spoke about. One of the things that I connected with most throughout this presentation was the difference that she has made to people from the impact that the diary she helped to digiatalise had on school children to the project where she helped to use her creative writing skills to help older people to tell their life stories. Although she did speak to us about the impact of the recession on job seeking at the moment I left that talk with the impression that if you are passionate about something and willing to put in the graft you will eventually find yourself in a position where you can do the job that you want to. This was a lovely message to receive as some of the library web forums which I have been observing seem to be slightly broken spirited at the moment.
After the official section of the day was over we retired to a nearby bar where we had an informal networking session It was at this stage of the day that I feel I received the most valuable advice. On expressing my concerns that I have laid out in my first paragraph I was told that that was normal and was met with a resounding chorus of fake it till you make it. Words that I will abide by until such a time that I do.
Thank you NPD Ireland. You put on an invaluable event and I hope that you continue to do so in the future.