Tuesday 24 September 2019

Visit to Kedermister Library, Langley, Berkshire

St Mary's, Langley Marish

On the fifth of September 2019 our group went to visit Kedermister, a parish library attached to St Mary’s in Langley, Slough.  

The entrance to the library is through the Kedermister family pew, which is quite a showpiece, with its marble-effect wooden structure. The impressively detailed paintwork continues through into the library itself. A mixture of Biblical figures and architectural flourishes greet you as you enter. As you enter this room you are standing in one of the few remaining, in-situ, parish libraries. 

The Kedermister pew

Our guide, honourary librarian Katie Flanagan, told us about the seventeenth century gentleman who founded the library. Almost all of the books were bought new by Sir John Kedermister and bound in a uniform style: brown calf with a double rule, raised bands on the spine, red sprinkled edges and the gilt armorial stamp of Sir John on both boards. 

Our guide informed us that there was no surviving documentation that would indicate anything about Sir John’s collection policy – if he had one. There are a few probable conclusions that have been drawn. For example, all of the printed books, save one, were of a religious nature, which suggests that this is unlikely to be a personal collection of Sir John’s. 

Sir John also didn’t seem to have a policy of rebinding secondhand volumes, for which we can all be grateful. 

How did one go about finding things in this library? The original catalogue, or inventory, was revealed to us from behind a protective curtain: a manuscript on parchment dated “Aprill 1638”. It is a record of all volumes in the library; however, it is not available online. The only two volumes in the collection that are catalogued online are one manuscript on permanent loan to the British Library – an 11th century illuminated Gospels probably written in England before the Norman Conquest – and the collection's sole incunable, which is listed on the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue. This is notable for having every one of its references to the Pope crossed out.  

The inventory on parchment, dated "Aprill 1638", refers to volumes by number

It was not uncommon for wealthy book collectors to publish catalogues of their libraries but nothing of this sort ever existed for Kedermister as, before 1911, the only person who would have had regular access to the library would have been the vicar. The rather fine condition of the volumes speaks to this limited use. 

All of the library's shelves are enclosed behind highly decorated doors. Sir John's portrait can be seen here facing the books

It is not known if the blank cartouches in the decorations were ever intended to be written on

Perhaps the most unusual book in the library is the Kedermister family prescription book or Pharmacopolium

Looking from the library up into the pew

This was a thoroughly enjoyable, very informative visit. It truly is a well-hidden gem. There are no open weekends remaining this year, but it is certainly worth remembering for next year. Contact Katie on Twitter @KatieDFlanagan or by email here

Anna Murdoch @MurdochAnna 

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Professional Registration & Portfolio Building Workshop, 10 April 2019

Presented by Kirsty Franks, candidate support officer for CILIP South-East

Eighteen people came along to Kirsty’s talk, held at the Reading University Whiteknights campus branch of the Henley Business School.

Kirsty guided us, very clearly and usefully, through the following broad areas in her talk:
- the steps to professional registration
- the structure of CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB)
- what is needed in a submission for registration

Most of the audience were considering chartership, but there was also at least one (me!) wanting to embark on certification, and at least one considering fellowship. The process follows the same steps at all levels – though the content and approach changes – so much of what Kirsty told us was relevant to everyone. 

Once you’ve decided on the level you are aiming at the next step is to find a mentor – everyone undertaking professional registration with CILIP needs a mentor. There is a list of mentors available on the CILIP website. When you make contact with someone it’s a good idea to tell them why you want them in particular to act as your mentor. It’s important to check early on that your timeframe will work for them, too: you should expect chartership to take one to two years to complete.

Your mentor should never be your line manager, and ideally they should be someone outside your own sector. When you find a mentor you both need to decide whether the relationship will work – and at any point throughout your registration journey you (or they) can decide that you need a new mentor. That can be for any number of good reasons, so this shouldn’t be a cause of stress to either party in the relationship.

Kirsty explained that the PKSB identifies different areas of professional competence for information professionals. For professional registration, at any of the three levels, a candidate should identify about ten areas where they want to develop. For the registration process, candidates need to chart that development. A thread throughout the talk was the importance of showing development from where you begin, to where you get to when you submit, and the need to capture your development as it happens, rather than retrospectively.

There are three compulsory PKSB areas that must be included in your submission: ethics and values; wider library, information and knowledge sector context; and wider organisation and environmental context. Candidates should then select a number of other areas in which they want to develop. Kirsty suggests that about seven areas – in addition to the three compulsory areas – is about right. There are about ninety areas to choose from, thanks to the subdivisions within the twelve numbered areas.

Kirsty’s tip was to start selecting your areas somewhere other than 1 (Organising knowledge and information) and 2 (Knowledge and information management), as these were the weightiest and therefore not the most accessible place to start, and her advice is to aim for a nice range of scores from 0s to 4s.

You should choose a mix of some core information skills and some more generic skills, and you should be identifying your current rating, and your ideal rating – but don’t get bogged down worrying about completely accurate ratings. The PKSB is not itself assessed – it’s there to help you structure your development.

For the areas on your PKSB that you want to improve you need to show evidence of the work you have done to develop in those areas – for example, visits to other libraries, work projects, things you have read, events you have attended – and then show reflection on your development. Your written reflections are the evidence you will need for the registration submission. Kirsty’s advice is to upload your reflective writing immediately (it helps protect you from the temptation to rewrite), but you can choose to upload everything later. At some point, though, you will need to collect everything you need in your online portfolio, for submission to your assessor.

For the submission you will need: your reflective-writing evidence (and any other evidence you want to include), plus supporting documentation (an annotated CV, a current job description, and a completed mentor-mentee form), your initial and final PKSB assessments, and an evaluative statement. This last is the only component that has a word limit – an absolute limit of 1000 words (but keep in mind the assessor who has to read all your materials!). When you are selecting evidence you probably want to choose the best two or three pieces of reflective writing for each area. The layout of the submission is up to you. There are some examples on the CILIP website that might help you decide on your preferred display. 

These were some of the tips and pointers I gleaned from the event. The talk was further illuminated from Kirsty’s own experience of certification and chartership, and there was an opportunity at the end of the session for attendees to ask questions and to benefit further from Kirsty’s expertise in supporting candidates through professional registration.

I would definitely recommend to anyone considering registration at any level (or revalidation) that they seek out a similar event to hear more at first-hand about the PKSB, the online submission process, and professional registration more generally.

Sarah Mann
Chair, CILIP in the Thames Valley