I've been saying for a while that I was going to write a post about LISNPN, the New Professionals Network launched in July. Various other topics kept coming up, and then this rather through things out of kilter:
...but I'm getting back on track now - Emily is sat next to me as I type this, gurgling (which is to say she's gurgling - I'm more or less silent) - so here goes.
LISNPN is a network for people working in the library sector, who have joined the profession in the last decade or so. You don't need to be qualified, you don't need to be young. Even if you joined the profession ages ago you may still get something out of providing advice for the rest of us, and certainly we'd love to have you - Phil Bradley and Biddy Fisher (CILIP President) have joined, for example, and we're thrilled. So it's a very inclusive network.
For now it's purely an online thing, but it may evolve to a face-to-face event as early as this year.
The idea of it is basically to provide space for newish professional(ish)s to interact, get advice, give guidance, and download a bunch of useful resources that have been created for the network - these include guides on getting published, interview technique and public speaking, and anonymous reviews of LIS Masters courses, etc etc. We're particularly keen to bring people together who don't normally use social media much - if you're reading this and you don't have a website or a blog and don't use twitter, dip your toe in the online waters with LISNPN! We'll be very nice. :)
Meet the team
LISNPN is run by me and Chris Rhodes and Emma Illingworth, with support from a whole host of other people. Laura Woods, Bethan Ruddock, Jo Alcock, Rachel Bickley, JoBo Anderson and Debbie Morris, are all official signed up administrators who are helping out with the site. In addition to this we've got further support from some regional New Professional Support Officers, plus occasional guest spots from people like Lizzie Russell, of Sue Hill Recruitment, who kindly wrote us our interview guide. The idea is there are enough people, with enough areas of expertise, to keep the site running and to hook people up to answers for their questions (in true Info Pro style) whoever is around, and even if one of the admins, say, has a baby three weeks early which totally knocks his plans for six!
Facts & Figures
The network's membership increases every day - currently it stands at just over 460 people. The most we've ever had visit in one day was 208 people online, and we get around 700 page views a day at the moment (peaking at 2,408 on the same day as all those people were online).
What's interesting, for me, is monitoring what has the most impact on new people joining, as LISNPN has been promoted via print media, twitter, blogs, and JISCmail lists - with the latter proving far and away the biggest catalyst for membership surges. We've not yet promoted via LIS-LINK but we will do soon, and that will probably net another bunch of new people. We want to pursue as many avenues as possible not just because more people equals a more useful network, but also because we want to go beyond our own little echo chamber, and get more than just the people we already hang out online with involved. So, obviously I'd urge you to join if you've not already done so, but also tell your LIS friends and colleagues..
Getting the most out of it
I'm planning a more detailed guide to getting the most out of LISNPN that I'll put on the site itself, but for now here's the four main things:
- Subscribe to the blog. The blog is in part a New Professionals blog written by Chris Rhodes (CILIP's New Professionals Coordinator) and in part updates about the site. It's the easiest way to keep up with changes to the network, new features, documents going into the resources area, and so on. Here is the link to subscribe - if you add the LISNPN blog to your Google Reader you'll be glad you did...
- If you use Twitter, follow @LISNPN. The twitter arm of LISNPN is run by Rachel and Jo, and carries a mixture of previews of new forum posts, and links to LIS jobs. What more do you need!
- Put something in your profile. LISNPN is a Network at heart - its primary aim is to facilitate networking between like-minded Information Professionals. If you add a profile pic and put some basic info about yourself (such as the sector you work in and where you're based - no one is expecting star-sign, life story and names of pets) it'll help this aspect of things.
- Subscribe in the forum. This is harder to explain succinctly - basically there is a subscribe button that appears in the top right hand corner of every thread in the forum. If you click it, then you 'subscribe' to every thread you contribute to in the forum - it works exactly the same as subscribing to comments on a blog, in that you receive email notifications with a brief excerpt of the replies posted in the threads you've posted in thereafter. Subscribing once turns this service on for all threads in the forum that you are involved with; unsubscribing can happen at any time just by clicking the button, and stops the email notifications for all threads. It's a really good way to make sure you keep involved with the conversations that interest you. Here is screen grab with the subscribe button highlighted - go click it for yourself now!
Reasons to Join
In the 'inclusive' spirit of the Network, we've not locked it down. Most of it is available to members and non-members alike, the idea that a new professional browsing Google might stumble upon the answer to their query in a link to a LISNPN forum post or whatever. Some forums, however, such as the one for current LIS students, are only viewable for members (the idea being you can write what you like about your course without worrying that your tutor might happen upon it!) and the Resources area is likewise something you need to be signed in to see. So, if you don't want to create a profile, you don't have to - but to get the most out of the network it is most definitely worth joining.
There's all sorts of ways in which this could develop, but the most important thing is that it serves the needs of the members - so if you have ideas, suggestions or wish-lists, please let me know: email me, or suggest them in the dedicted LISNPN suggestions forum on the Network.
I'm also keen to explore how LISNPN can keep the current cohort of New Professionals together when they / we go over to that middle ground between 'new' and 'senior' pros.
URL for LISNPN: http://www.lisnpn.spruz.com/