Tuesday, 8 April 2014

On taking advantage of opportunities, and also: I'M GOING TO VANCOUVER!

Back in December I attended an event ran by CILIP ARLG NorthEast called ‘Professional Development Never Sleeps’ and one of the main themes of the day was to take advantage of opportunities when they arise and make the most of them – they may not come around again. You can see my write up of that particular event here, but with the theme of taking advantage of opportunities in mind, I wanted to blog about some of my recent experiences.


At the end of this month I will be attending the LILACConference at Sheffield Hallam University, thanks once again to those kind folk at ARLG North East who were offering a sponsored place to somebody working in the North East who had never attended LILAC before. Either I am the only person applying for these opportunities offered by ARLG North East or I am absolutely excellent at writing a 200 word statement on why I should be awarded a sponsored place. Either way, I am getting to attend a great conference that will give me loads of extra knowledge about information literacy and associated things that will greatly benefit me at work and give me the opportunity to expand my professional network. Can’t be bad! I’ll be writing up the event both here and on the ARLG North East blog so watch this space.

SLA Annual Conference

Next, there is just the small thing of me GOING TO VANCOUVER! I have won one of SLA Europe’s Early Career Conference Award, or ECCA for short, and I am being co-sponsored by SLA Europe and SLA’s Leadership and Management Division to attend the SLA Annual Conference and INFO-EXPO in June this year. Without overreacting too much, it is DEFINITELY going to be the SINGLE BIGGEST THING TO HAPPEN IN MY CAREER SO FAR and I absolutely can’t believe it.

An example of how surprised I was when I found out I'd won an ECCA. Kindly borrowed from Benson Kua's Flickr. 

For those who are unaware of the ECCAs and SLA, very briefly; these awards have been running since 2007 and offer a number of places for young professionals who are either graduate trainees, LIS students or within five years of graduating from a library qualification. If you meet this criteria and there is a particular SLA division that is relevant to you offering an award next year or in years to come I can’t stress how much you should apply! More information about SLA Europe and the ECCAs can be found here. I’ll be blogging about the SLA Conference extensively over the summer, so I won’t go into much more detail just now, but again: watch this space!

Basically, what I am trying to say is that if you see something on Twitter, or JISCMail or anywhere else advertising a bursary or opportunity to attend an event or conference you like the sound of: APPLY! APPLY! APPLY! Don’t think: “Oh, I’ve got no chance of winning that, I won’t bother” or “maybe next time, now is not a convenient time”. I can promise you that if you think that once, there’ll always be something in the way next time. Work will always be busy, there’ll always be the initial stress of thinking that your employer might not let you go or you will talk yourself out of applying because you’ll think that you don’t have a chance. Well, I am here to tell you that you do have a chance and you have to put yourself out there to be able to grasp opportunities like this. As the North East saying goes: “Shy bairns get nowt!” If I can get the chance to attend two amazing conferences, one of them on the other side of the world, then other professionals have just as much chance as me. I'm pretty sure this would apply to anyone in any profession too, not just libraries and information. So go forth, aspiring new professionals!