#7 Personal CPD


Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has become such a well worn phrase that it has become practically meaningless. During the 1980s and 1990s it was advocated as the cure-all for all professional woes, it became a cliché.

The reason for that, of course, is that it is one of the most important aspects of a professional’s job, if not the most important.

The range of activities that can be classed as CPD are very wide ranging indeed for an information professional.

Training and networking events are the most obvious examples; working with fellow professionals to learn new skills and techniques, and to swap new ideas and information.

However, many activities which would count as CPD can be done in isolation (or near isolation), for example:

  • Browsing the web.
  • Reading or browsing journals.
  • Reading or browsing books.
  • Reading the newspaper.
  • Chatting to teaching staff.
  • Structured meetings with teaching staff.
  • Setting up a blog.
  • Walking round the building, observing teaching and other activities.
  • Making a presentation.
  • Writing a journal article.
  • Subscribing to a mailing list.
  • Reading professional blogs.
  • Creating new guides and manuals for library procedures.

The list could go on, and on. The bottom line is that if it increases your knowledge, or adds to your skills or contacts, it’s CPD. A good information professional will have a constant hunger for CPD activities, and will be adding to the skills bank every working day.

Some librarians claim they don’t have time for training events, or that they can’t get cover. This would seem indicative that there are problems with the post. If you don’t have time, you are undervaluing your own need to develop your skills, and may not be using your options to delegate work, or simply shut the shop if necessary!

Often, the enthusiasm whipped up by a good training event gives more than enough energy and new skills to overcome the ‘loss’ of one day at work.


Read a lot. Professional journals, professional web sites, magazines, mailing lists, blogs, wikis.

– Attend as many training events as your time and your organisational budget will afford.

– Try and allow time for reflection on CPD activities; skim over the notes as a quick reminder, and try and set targets and deadlines for any action required.

– Set up RSS feeds for blogs, or summary emails for mailing lists, to avoid being constantly bombarded by messages. Visit and browse at a time convenient to you.

Useful Weblinks:

University of Illinois Current Awareness Service for Library and Information community


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