“I am planning to use what I have learned to develop a professional and a personal development program for myself”

Gretchen Higginbottom
Interlibrary Loan Librarian, California State University Fresno, USA








Photo shows Anne Kakkonen, Helsinki University Library at her Self-Assessment Workshop

Gretchen shares some of the highlights of the CPDWL Satellite Meeting in Zagreb.

The 2019 Satellite Meeting was off to a great start with welcome remarks, a reception, vendors, poster presentations and a library tour on the evening of August 20th. The reception provided a relaxed, yet vibrant venue to see a former co-worker, meet new colleagues; engage with conference organizers and speakers; and connect with several friends whom I met at the National Library of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur while attending the IFLA Management of Library Associations Section’s 2018 Satellite Meeting — “Advocacy in Action! Success for Library Advocacy Worldwide.”

The goal of working towards the development of smart societies was the focus of this satellite meeting and the presenters enlightened attendees with an abundance of information, best practices, innovative ideas and more. From Dr. Philip Schreur’s opening keynote address, “ From Smart Societies to Slow Libraries: Librarians as Promotors of Change,” I learned about the six characteristics a smart city must embrace to promote a “sustainable structure and better life” — smart governance, smart economy, smart mobility, smart environment, smart people and smart living. However, with all the advancements in technology, we still struggle to close the huge gap in the digital divide. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure access to information for all.

I attended the sessions focusing on academic libraries. These presentations covered a myriad of topics including open innovation, building competency in political advocacy, librarians’ roles as knowledge producers, evolving acquisitions, career information literacy, librarians promoting and driving change; and much more. I also participated in the “Self-Assessment Tool for Skills Management Workshop” led by Anne Kakkomen from Helsinki University, Finland. This workshop deemed useful and relevant in my current role as department/unit lead. I am planning to use what I have learned to develop a professional and a personal development program for myself. In addition, I am sharing this tool with my immediate staff and other colleagues at my library. It is imperative that we continue to work in alignment with the mission and goals of our respective universities to support faculty research and student success.

I would like to thank members of the IFLA Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning Section (CPDWL), the Croatian Library Association, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and many, many more who had a role in organizing the 2019 Satellite Meeting at the National and University Library, Zagreb, Croatia. I also want to thank CPDWL for accepting my poster proposal “Professional Development for Library Paraprofessionals: a Sustainable Model” for presentation and for selecting me as a recipient of one of the bursary awards to help fund travel to Zagreb. This was my first experience with CPDWL and my first time to Croatia.

I am a strong advocate for professional development and I appreciate the opportunity to continuously share ideas, learn from others and grow, both personally and professionally. I look forward to learning more about professional development initiatives that are accessible and inclusive for all.