3rd National Congress of the Association of Special Libraries of the Philippines The Modern Strategist: Accelerating the Career

Path of an Information Professional October 24-25, 2013 | Hotel H20, Manila

Balancing Work & Active Participation in a Library Professional Association

Marcial R. Batiancila Director of Libraries, San Sebastian College-Recoletos de Cavite Cavite City, Cavite, Philippines mbatiancila@gmail.com

Outline

• The Value of Professional Association • Reasons/Motivations in Joining Professional Library Associations • Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice • Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association • The Bottom Line & Future Directions

The Value of Professional Associations
• Professional associations for librarians exist to help members value and promote their profession as well as nurture their individual careers. • Professional associations provide organizing structures that support the creation and distribution of knowledge, the sharing of best practices, a framework for solving problems and obtaining advice, and a forum to debate what being a professional means.

The Value of Professional Associations
• Active participation by members is mutually beneficial to an association and its members. The vitality of an association is perpetuated by the contributions of the members, and members benefit through the various association activities and services. • Members also have the opportunity to obtain and share best practices and the results of research through networking, presentations, communities of practice, publications, and other means of communication (websites, discussion boards, e-mail, chat rooms, listservs).
A Statement by the Policies Commission for Business and Economic Education : Statement No. 79. (2006). Retrieved from www.nbea.org/newsite/curriculum/policy/no_79.pdf‎

The Value of Professional Associations
• Opportunities to participate give members a venue for sustaining camaraderie. Members benefit by developing friendships, sharing ideas that foster a higher quality of educational environment, and discussing problems and ways to solve them. • Professional associations encourage members to participate in research activities as researchers and/or as participants. Professional associations may provide financial resources and professional support for research.
A Statement by the Policies Commission for Business and Economic Education : Statement No. 79. (2006). Retrieved from www.nbea.org/newsite/curriculum/policy/no_79.pdf

The Value of Professional Associations
• Atkinson (2012) has identified three levels of value provided by professional associations: • to the profession in general, • to your organization, and • to you personally.

The Value of Professional Associations
3 Major Reasons Why Professional Association Matters 1) Learn the latest information about your discipline/field; 2) Professional development and career advancement; and 3) Networking

The Value of Professional Associations
1st Reason : Learn discipline/field the latest information about your

• Getting the latest on your discipline is clearly one of the advantages that networking with one‘s peers at a professional organization can offer. • The professional association offer various opportunities to its members like updating them on current developments or trends in the field/discipline through fora, conferences, newsletters and the like.

The Value of Professional Associations
2nd Reason : Professional development and career advancement • Professional associations bring value to their members by encouraging and supporting their professional development. • This can encompass a wide range of educational opportunities – from annual conferences, to local or regional workshops, to self-paced instructional materials for individualized learning.

The Value of Professional Associations
3rd Reason : Networking • Being able to share experiences and information with others in a similar line of work is the most common reason people join—and remain members of— professional associations. • Networking can benefit a profession as a whole by shedding light on common issues, providing a venue for ongoing discussions to establish standards and best practices, and disseminating information that is either formally or informally peer-reviewed.

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations
• Librarians are urged to join and to participate in professional associations from the time they enter library school. • However, in the country, membership to the professional associations takes place after they graduated from library school or after passing the librarian‘s board examination which entitles them an automatic membership to the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc.

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
• A 1992 survey of academic librarians in California found that: • 98 % considered the opportunity to network with colleagues as a very important or somewhat important reason to join professional associations; • 88% percent felt that professional membership was important for retention, tenure, or promotion; • 84% used professional memberships to influence librarians‘ professional goals and to keep up with developments in the field through professional journals; and • 74% used their association membership to speak or to publish (Anderson et al., 1992).

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
• Cornell and Farkas (1995) define benefits of professional associations to include ―networking, technological advancements, sharing of knowledge, financial benefits, and career opportunities‖ (p. 44).

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
• Baldwin (1995) discusses the functions, history, membership, and individual and professional benefits that SLA offers. For the individual, she notes that leadership training for division and chapter officers, continuing education courses at all levels, and networking opportunities are benefits gained from SLA. On a professional level, she cites SLA‘s focus on professional issues such as image, copyright, professional standards, education, and the future of the information profession.

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
To join or not to join : How do librarians decide which associations to join? (Kamm, 1997)

• the opportunity to contribute to the profession and to network with colleagues is a primary factor in many librarians‘ choices. • For others, the extent of employer support of their activities, either by paying dues or paying the expenses of conferences and meetings, is an important factor in their selection of an association.

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
To join or not to join… (2)

• Quality of meetings or conferences and publications is an example of ―hang for the buck that many librarians receive from professional associations. • Political action, particularly lobbying, is also important to many respondents, some of whom commented specifically on their association‘s strength in this area.

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
To join or not to join… (3)

• Study shows that the cost of joining/participating in professional associations is an important element for some librarians, those with other motivations for taking part in professional organizations will find the means to do so.

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
To join or not to join… (4)

• Organizations must be responsive to their members. Many librarians perceive that library associations as an administrators‘ organization. • Associations should consider offering some financial support to committee members for attendance at meetings as well as encouraging electronic participation wherever possible.

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
To join or not to join… (5)

• In the end, opting to join a professional body and deciding which one(s) is a subjective choice for most librarians. Finances, job constraints, and the goals of the organization affect that decision. Both organizations and employers should review policies and provide means for more, not less, participation.
Kamm, S. (1997). To join or not to join: How librarians make membership decisions about their associations. Library Trends, Fall : p.295-306.

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
Top Ten Reasons to Join/Renew ALA

1. Legislative Advocacy 2. Accreditation 3. Continuing Education 4. Intellectual Freedom 5. Standards
American Library Association. (2013) The Value of Belonging to ALA. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/membership/whyala/membtopten

Reasons in Joining Professional Library Associations : Some Studies
Top Ten Reasons to Join/Renew ALA

6. Website 7. Networking 8. Divisions and Round Tables 9. Public Awareness and Media Relations 10. Policy Analysis
American Library Association. (2013) The Value of Belonging to ALA. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/membership/whyala/membtopten

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice
• To effectively meet the challenges presented in the 21st century, organizations are increasingly exhorted to become ―learning organizations.‖ • Learning organizations provide a means whereby individuals, working together, are able to increase the knowledge and skills of all of their members, especially during times of rapid change and in chaotic, often highly competitive, environments.
Confessore, S. J. (1997). Building a learning organization: communities of practice, self‐directed learning, and continuing medical education. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 17(1), 1-11.

• In •
• •

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice a learning organization, three conditions are present: first, individuals have opportunities to exploit their work environment to increase their individual knowledge bases; second, there are opportunities for individuals to work collaboratively and share and create new knowledge; and, third, there are mechanisms to ensure that these activities are valued, encouraged, and integrated into daily practice.

Confessore, S. J. (1997). Building a learning organization: communities of practice, self‐directed learning, and continuing medical education. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 17(1), 1-11.

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice

• Senge (1990) defines a learning organization as one ―where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.‘‘
Senge P. (1990). The fifth discipline: the art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday.

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice

• Moreover, a growing number of associations, professional and otherwise, are seeking ways to focus on learning through reflection on practice. Their members are restless and their allegiance is fragile. They need to offer high-value learning activities. The peer-to-peer learning activities typical of communities of practice offer a complementary alternative to more traditional course offerings and publications.
Wenger, E. (2006, June). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Retrieved December 7, 2010, from http://www.ewenger.com/theory/index.htm

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice

• Wenger (1998) continues by specifying three distinct dimensions of a community of practice: • they are joint enterprises, meaning they are created and maintained by their members, they feature mutual engagement, meaning all members come together to form a social entity, and the members have a shared repertoire of resources and sensibilities that have been communally developed over time (p. 2).
Wenger, E. (1998b). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice

• For instance, the American Library Association (ALA) has established 2819 virtual groups and 1227 member communities. • These communities serve as a virtual, collaborative, online workspace where members can work together, share expertise, and exchange best practices.
http://connect.ala.org/ (2010)

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice
• The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) has created the ACRL Community of Practice Assembly. • The communities of practice assembly serves as a conduit of information for ACRL's sections and interest groups. • It also facilitate the exchange of ideas among the various Communities of Practice.
http://www.ala.org/acrl/resources/policies/chapter4#4.1%20 Communities%20of%20Practice%20Assembly

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice

• The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Strategic Plan 2010-2015 one of its goals is to advance the profession through the development of standards and the promotion of specialized knowledge within the professional practice by advancing professional knowledge through research and the activities of IFLA‗s CoPs (International Federation of Library Association and Institutions, 2010).
International Federation of Library Association and Institutions. (2010). IFLA strategic plan 2010-2015. Hague, Netherlands: IFLA.

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice Learning Activities in CoPs
• • • • • • • • • Face to face sharing of learning experiences Formal training and courses Collaborative learning Web-based collaboration & social networking Workshops & conferences Project collaboration Mentoring Joint research Relationship building

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice

Learning Activities in CoPs… (2)
• • • • • • • • • Cookbooks Peer-to-peer learning E-mail exchanges Study tours and visits Sharing of best practices Phone calls Collaborative knowledge sharing Online discussion group Teleconferences

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice Culture of Learning in CoPs • Has an environment that encourage learning from the experiences and best practices of others • Provides a dynamic learning environment using different communication media • Stakeholders have a strong desire to seek, initiate, improve, and generate new ideas and concepts • There is a free exchange and flow of information

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice Culture of Learning in CoPs…(2) • There is a climate of openness and trust wherein members are encouraged to develop ideas, to speak out and to challenge actions • Has a strong sense of collaboration and team learning • Collegial relationships exist among stakeholders that reflect commitment to professional development as well as organizational and personal development • A variety of opportunities and structures exist for collective learning through collaboration

Building a Learning Organization: The Professional Association as Community of Practice Culture of Learning in CoPs…(3) • The stakeholders engage in dialogue that reflects a respect for diverse ideas that lead to continued inquiry • Stakeholders learn together and apply new knowledge to solve problems • Stakeholders are committed to programs that enhance learning

Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association
• Finding a sense of balance to one‘s professional life is a major challenge — meeting the challenges/demands of both work and the professional association. • To keep the balance, let us examine our own attitudes, behavior and motivations on what drives us to join/participate in professional associations.

Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association
• Some Points to Consider in order to Keep the Balance • Personal Values • Managing Priorities • Managing Boundaries • Interact Virtually

Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association
Some Points to Considers in order to Keep the Balance : Personal Values • The decisions we make are influenced by what we value— the beliefs, attitudes, and ideas we think are important. • Some question to ponder: What we value most? What motivates us to join the professional association? • Identifying and understanding our own values is a first step toward understanding our current position and helping us make adjustments to achieve the balance we desire. • Participation in professional association enhances personal knowledge, skills and relationships.

Some Points to Considers in order to Keep the Balance : Managing Priorities

Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association

• Competing demands are prioritized to achieve personal, work and the association's goals and objectives. • Controlling these demands and being productive requires that you manage your time well. • Participation in professional associations should not hamper the performance of your job, thus, your participation should always have the approval of your superior; • Employ technology and used it efficiently and effectively to manage work priorities and commitments.

Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association
Some Points to Considers in order to Keep the Balance : Managing Boundaries • Set your boundaries and limitations in your participation to professional association. • Boundary theory focuses on the ways in which people create, maintain, or change boundaries in order to simplify and classify the world around them (Ashforth, Kreiner, & Fugate, 2000). • In general, boundaries delimit the perimeter and scope of a given domain (e.g., a role, a country, a home, a workplace, an association).

Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association
Some Points to Considers in order to Keep the Balance : Interact Virtually • Virtual communities all encourage interaction, sometimes focusing around a particular interest or just to communicate. Some virtual communities do both. Community members are allowed to interact over a shared passion through various means: message boards, chat rooms, social networking sites, or virtual worlds (Hof, Browder & Elstrom, 1997). • Interactions in virtual communities does not require physical presence and does not require one to leave their workplaces.

Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association
Some Points to Considers in order to Keep the Balance : Interact Virtually

• More organizations are adopting now ―virtual organizational forms that operate more independently of time and space resulting to an increasing interests among professionals – working together primarily through computer-mediated communication (Robey, Khoo & Powers, 2000).

Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association
However, Wenger et al. (2009) propose four (4) perspectives on the technology involved:
• Tool perspective. These are identifiable piece of technology that supports a discrete activity in a community (e.g. discussion board that supports online conversations) or bridges different types of activities (e.g. recording a phone conversation for later use) (pp. 39-40). • Platform perspective. Platforms offer communities a simple entry into using a set of tools. For instance, Skype as a voiceover IP (VoIP) which has distinct tools for one-to-one calls, text chats, instant messages, personal and global directories. The platform perspective is the building block of the habitat or virtual environment (pp. 40-42).

Balancing Professional Life : Work & Active Participation in Library Professional Association
However, Wenger et al. (2009) propose four (4) perspectives on the technology involved:
• Feature perspective. A characteristic that makes a tool or platform usable for specific purposes. For instance, a phone without a microphone is not a phone, but a mute button is an element that adds functionality. The features of tools or platforms determine its usability for a given community (pp. 43-44). • Configuration perspective. This refers to the overall set of technologies that serve a substrate for a community‗s habitat at a given point in time – whether tools belong to a single platform, to multiple platforms, or are free-standing (pp. 45-47).

The Bottom Line
• Joining a professional organization requires some dedication, setting priorities and identifying boundaries but such involvement will help us to stay on top of what's happening in the field/industry. • There is a need to construct an active communities‗ digital habitat where stakeholders access information and interacting with colleagues at anytime and almost instantaneously without leaving their workplaces. • This technology integration in the life of the community is significantly creating fluidity in the transmission of information and enhances the interaction process within the community.

The Bottom Line • The notions of physical and virtual communities are both learning enablers and are making more possibilities to connect people from diverse origins bringing them together in one habitat where learning takes place. • Finally, professional associations provide real, tangible value to those who belong to them. They become fellowships and institutions of learning, sounding boards and crisis counselors, and authoritative sources of information and nourishment for a career.

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