Wednesday, 20 January 2016

So, What Do You Do?

Just before Christmas I started my new role in the Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) here at Cambridge. I'm still based in the University Library which is nice as it provides some continuity but my role now is very different to any that I have had before. One of the most common questions I've been asked is what my new job title is. The answer: Research Skills Coordinator. This is usually followed by the question "so, what does that mean?". This blog post is my attempt at an answer.

The basic answer is that I am working on developing and delivering training to library staff from across Cambridge in the area of scholarly communication. Since I've spent a good share of my in and out of work time over the past few years working on training others this is a good fit for me! In addition to this I am helping the OSC deliver training to the Cambridge academic community and assisting in outreach to the wider world. 

I've written before about job titles and their meanings so I understand the confusion around names in general. I think a lot of job titles now are more on the generic than the specific side to allow for adapting the role as needed. This is something that applies outside the library and information sector too! My job is actually a brand new role, not just for me but for the Library as well. This is an added bonus for me as I will be able to shape it. Having previously worked only on temporary or part-time contracts I was unsure of how much of myself to invest in a job that I would hand back in a few months. I always felt like a place holder for the 'real thing' so being able to mould my role is a challenge I'm looking forward to.

So, what do I actually do all day?
  • A large portion of my day is spent looking at/organising/running/attending training events as part of the Supporting Researchers in the 21st Century initiative. These can be aimed at either librarians or the wider academic community and we try to tailor the sessions as much as possible. As anyone who knows me will know I love doing some CPD so this is right up my street! 
  • As part of this I'm getting out of the Library and visiting various departments. Researchers are very busy people so it makes sense to take the training to them rather than making them come to us. Despite having been born in Cambridge and working at the University for more years than I would like to admit there are many departments I have never visited. One of the things I like most about working in a library is the chance to interact with people and I was starting to miss it.
  • I'm managing the Research Ambassador Programme which aims to educate library staff in the area of scholarly communication and prepare them for going out and delivering the content to others. The aim is to release a cohort of Ambassadors into the wild at the end of this term before we start all over again! Further information on the Programme can be found here.
  • A lot of learning! Although I've had an interest in this area for a while and attended a lot of training events this is all still pretty new to me. I'm learning about various areas which make up scholarly communication as I go along and although it's a steep learning curve I love it. I've always liked learning about new areas and for once I get a chance to put what I've learnt into practice.
  • Finally I'm getting used to a new way of working. This is something that happens whenever you move jobs but it is still an adjustment after so many years working in the same department (albeit on and off). Luckily I had some practice of this when I moved to a temporary secondment in the Reader Services Department last year and my new colleagues are all lovely. Although they may only be like that as I keep baking them cakes.....

So in a nutshell this is what I do. It has only really been a few weeks so I have every expectation that this the above will change and develop. Hopefully this will give me more reasons to blog as I realise I have been neglecting it recently. I'm very much looking forward to 2016!

photo credit: DSC02603 via photopin (license)







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