11 October 2010

LIKE 18: 21st Century Information Professionals

LIKE 18 followed hot on the heels of TFPL Connect but that did not deter many of us from going to both events.

We were helped in this by LIKE's move to a bigger venue, The Crown Tavern in Clerkenwell, that allowed almost fifty of us to attend when previously the limit was around twenty.

The new room was not without its teething troubles, such as some noise from the ladies next door, but these are all fixable and are more than compensated for by the large room, cultured ambiance, large and unusual collection of beers, and a varied and interesting menu.

The session we all flocked to was on the topic of the skills and knowledge required by 21st century information professionals, very relevant as everybody there belonged somewhere in that broad categorisation.

We were guided through our deliberations and discussions by Luisa Jefford who is an acknowledged expert in this field as the Director of Public Sector Recruitment at TFPL. The mix of talk and table exercises worked well to get the messages across and to get us to engage with each other.

It was interesting, but not surprising, to see that organisations are looking for more general skills, such as project management, team working and communications, to supplement the industry-specific information skills.

It was also noticeable that many of these information skills are old skills founded in things like librarianship that have been refreshed and rebranded for the web2.0 world.

When the food and second drink arrived the facilitated section of the evening ended and the discussions and conversations carried on at our tables and then, once the enticing food had been dealt with, in small groups as we moved around to reinforce old relationships and to make new ones.

It is sometimes hard to put a finger on why LIKE meetings work so well, and I'll not try too hard to now, and I'll merely point out that the room was packed and many of us stayed on well beyond the official end.

The new venue allows more people to attend the meetings and so allows the activism to extend beyond the hardcore of regulars (of which I am one). This is a major and a welcome step forward for LIKE.

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