Publication Details

Newton, K, McLean, J, Willams, K, Hardy, A and Thompson, M, Developing our careers, transforming ourselves: the UOW new professionals network,ALIA 5th New Librarians Symposium 2011 - Metamorphosis: what will you become today? Perth, Australia 16 - 18 September 2011, 8p. Conference website here.


The New Professionals Network was formed in response to an emerging awareness of the desire for peer to peer support at the University of Wollongong Library, particularly among new and recently graduated professionals. The purpose of the Network is to provide a space for staff in the first five years of their careers to discuss professional development issues, facilitate experience and knowledge sharing, and develop effective communication skills through articulating their experiences and opinions. As the Network has evolved, it has served as a valuable tool for personal and professional metamorphosis. Members report a higher level of professional confidence, a deeper engagement with professional issues, and heightened inspiration and skills to begin furthering their own professional development outside the Network. Several members of the Network have since continued to take up leadership roles within the Library. The traditional two-person mentoring relationship has been extended to encompass group mentoring, with former members continuing to act as mentors to current members. Staff who are actively engaged in the profession, possess an innovative and creative mindset, and who feel that they are supported in this development are of significant benefit to the organisation. These staff act to generate new ideas and further a workplace culture that values and promotes active professional development. The New Professionals Network also helps to socialise new staff into the professional environment, and provides an opportunity for them to learn from more experienced staff. Guest speakers from prominent positions in the Library have attended meetings on a semi-regular basis to discuss their own professional development journey, and the Network itself is comprised of staff with varying levels of professional experience. This paper discusses the creation and evolution of the New Professionals Network, and considers the potential for wider application of similar models at other Australian libraries.