Librarians as superheroes

An initiative discussed at UKSG Forum encourages library staff to actively engage with their profession.

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The audience at the recent UKSG Forum in London were encouraged to rank themselves on the 'superhero scale of professional pride'. Entertainingly described by Kingston University's Wendy Morris and Leo Appleton of the University of the Arts London, the scale runs from Ant Man at level 1, with the Incredible Hulk topping the scale at level 10, taking in Spiderman, Thor and Wonderwoman along the way. Pleasingly, most delegates seemed to rank themselves towards the upper end of the scale.

Building on the metaphor, Leo and Wendy described a joint initiative designed to boost a sense of achievement and self-confidence amongst library staff, by encouraging them to contribute to scholarship, speak at events and publish. 

To kick the project off, Leo ran a workshop which explored  themes of confidence, pride and passion. On a practical level, the workshop examined how and when to start --what publications and what types of conference should be targeted, and what are the best ways to tackle writing abstracts, or respond to Calls for Papers?

There were some immediate wins, with LRC staff successfully placing 5 articles, and speaking at 4 conference, within the first 6 months. Participant Wendy Morris described the impact from her own perspective, describing how she felt she had "gone from information advisor to information warrior". The aim is now to roll the iniative out to other staff development forums.