The 'career conversation'

If we don't take care of our professional future someone else will do it for us!

A conversation with Ulla de Stricker

On October 16, Internet Librarian International features a track devoted to the careers of information professionals: THE NEW PROFESSIONAL: SKILLS AND ROLES. The track features a smorgasbord of case studies and presentations illustrating just how our roles are evolving.

Ulla de Stricker, who has been an information and knowledge management consultant for many years, is leading and moderating the skills and roles track at ILI this year.  She is well known for her many contributions to "the career conversation" through writings and presentations.    Ulla's premise for the track's series of presentations is that many challenges - and opportunities - are in need of our active attention.  In conversation, Ulla explains just why the debate is so urgent.

Active attention is needed

As society develops in the face of daunting pressures and difficulties, our stature as "finders and keepers and sharers of information and knowledge" is at greater risk than ever.  Yes, we innovate and extend our skill sets into new professional endeavours … but the story must be told.  Potential non-traditional employers are many … but they cannot know they need us unless we make that clear.

What can delegates expect to hear?

The track leads off with a spirited session entitled "Your Glittering Career - Are You in Control?" in which luminaries in the information profession share their observations - from their own varied experience - on career management at any stage of our working lives.  Collectively, they ask and answer the question "Who is the new professional - and how would we recognise him or her?"

Then, librarians in evolving library settings describe how they have succeeded in breaking barriers and venturing out into previously unthinkable activity areas to serve clients as their working lives keep developing - by putting clients at the centre and adapting library skills to their realities.  We explore roles in 'the new academia' and ways in which we can change ourselves and our roles for the better.

Letting go to move forward

For conference attendees in the UK, the recent discussion within CILIP regarding the association's name is fresh in memory.  Members of SLA frequently discuss the desirability of characterising our profession in a manner that does not obscure what we actually achieve for our employers and stakeholders.  We may not solve the "name conundrum" on October 16, - but all the presenters offer concrete illustrations how "letting go" of traditional notions regarding our professional roles can lead to exciting new kinds of roles.

How can people get involved?

Join us at the conference … and join in the conversation.  Take in the presenters' views, and share yours.  Commit to doing your part to support a healthy future for our profession!

Internet Librarian International is taking place in London 15-16 October (with workshops being held on 14 October). 

Ulla de Stricker is the President of de Stricker Associates in Canada.