A Chartered Creature

Earlier this year I finally passed my CILIP Chartership portfolio. I’d been working on it on and off pretty much since I started my current (and first professional) role.

Reflecting on the process, then: What helped, what didn’t, what are my general thoughts?

Things (and people) that helped


  • My mentor, Helen Alper, who is very experienced in mentoring people going through Chartership and also has been a healthcare librarian and manager forever. There’s no replacement for somebody who just really knows what they are doing/talking about.


  • My manager, Natasha Howard, who encouraged me to do the Chartership in the first place. She made sure it was written into my objectives for appraisal and that I had the support to do it – for example, she put in for three days’ worth of study leave for me to write up the portfolio. She also found exciting things for me to do, such as tweeting for @voiceslibrary and presenting at the Health Libraries Group conference, and kept saying “this will be good to write about for your Chartership” about various things that happened at work, projects I was involved with, or events I attended.


  • Looking at other people’s portfolios. I find that I learn how to do something best by watching how someone else does or has done it, and so I found looking at other people’s portfolios the single most useful thing to do when putting mine together. I’m not sure how much people will continue to share portfolios under the new Chartership process.


  • Writing things down. I had little luck filling out the CPD log from CILIP, but my diary and Google Calendar were helpful in tracking down things I’d knew I’d done but was hazy on the details, or events I knew I’d written up and just needed fleshing out.


Things that didn’t help so much

  • The portfolio building course. I had a bit more of an idea of what I actually needed to do after attending this, but not much.


  • The old regulations. This ties in with what I was saying before about other people’s portfolios being by far the most useful thing. Both the regulations and the portfolio course were too abstract for me personally to really see what I needed to do and how.


  • The VLE. This is more because I was determined to finish under the old regulations and so the VLE was of no use to me. I am using it to keep tabs on things for my inevitable obligatory revalidation now though and finding that very useful.


  • My own methods of organisation, or lack thereof. I will always make notes at events, but they’ll probably be in different notebooks, some will be digital and some on paper, etc. Pulling things together for a portfolio then results in a process that can best be described as defragmentation. Obviously, this in itself is a learning experience, with the main lesson being: decide on one place to keep your stuff and stick to it, and update it at regular intervals. I am confident that things will be easier for me for revalidation. Keeping a CPD log on the VLE is a handy way of keeping things in one place – so even if I use a bit of scrap paper while I’m at an event, I can easily transcribe that on the VLE the next day.


Overall/further thoughts


  • I’d spoken to several people who’d had portfolios rejected, so I’m glad mine passed muster first time round. I had to submit an addendum on one of the points I hadn’t covered enough but I am told this is quite common.


  • I’d be interested to see how the new regulations influence/shape people’s experience of Chartership. I find the PKSB useful to assess myself, though my organisation also has a fairly good system for doing this, so it’s more of a complementary/additional tool for me.


  • I think support from the organisation is really valuable. I am lucky to work in an organisation that is very good at making sure staff can access further training/qualifications, which made my Chartership experience a lot easier than it would have been otherwise.

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