Professional Registration: The Journey Begins…And Ends (For Now)

In a previous article, I evaluated the benefits of becoming professionally registered with LIANZA. Although the benefits weren’t overwhelming, I was curious to see what the registration process involved and whether I’d qualify.

The application process consists of two parts:

  1. Completing a pre-registration form
  2. Supplying evidence of relevant tertiary qualifications

1. Completing a pre-registration form
The pre-registration form is pretty straightforward. It consists of:

  • personal details
  • payment details (registration is only $57.50 incl GST)
  • membership details of professional library associations and
  • details of current employment with verification provided by employer

The form also contains a declaration which (among other things) says that you are “willing to undertake a period of mentored professional training and to prepare and complete a professional training plan.”

In the notes to assist with the application process I find the following about mentoring:

All professional registration applicants accepted by
the Board will be required to complete a specified period
(normally 12 months) of mentored professional training under
the supervision of an approved mentor (with some exceptions
outlined below).  

Following acceptance by the Board, applicants will find a
mentor and prepare a professional training plan for the
period of mentored professional training. The training plan
is submitted to the Board for approval. 

At the end of the agreed period of mentored professional
training, the applicant will complete the application for
professional registration and submit their completed
Professional Training Plan and Portfolio of Learning to the
Professional Registration Board for approval. 

Once approved the applicant is invoiced for the annual
registration fee and on receipt of payment is granted
registration.

Yikes! I’m not sure I’m interested in a 12 month mentoring period before being accepted. This also immediately raised more questions than answers:

  • how much time would this involve, over and above my daily work?
  • how is the length of mentored professional training determined? Qualifications? Specific work experience?
  • what if no-one wanted to be my mentor?
  • are there guidelines for preparing a professional training plan?

It wasn’t until I was drafting this article that I noticed the extract also said “(with some exceptions below)”. So keep calm (wipe brow and cross fingers), perhaps there is a way to forego the mentoring process.

In the same notes, under Route C the Exceptional Circumstances are:

In special circumstances the Board may approve applications
from candidates with New Zealand library qualifications
awarded up to and including 2007, together with recognised
seniority and experience in the profession. These candidates
will be required to provide a CV and an assessment of
learning that can be mapped against the body of knowledge;
however they will not be required to complete mentored
professional training. 

The Board reserves the right to instruct the applicant to
pursue Route A and a period of mentored professional
training (possibly less than 12 months) where this is
deemed necessary to ensure knowledge and experience are of
sufficient breadth and currency across the Body of
Knowledge.

Do I qualify for exceptional circumstances?

  • A New Zealand library qualification awarded up to and including 2007? Yes! I got the Diploma from Victoria University in 1993.
  • Recognised seniority and experience in the profession? What does this mean? Arggh. Maybe?
  • Am I willing to provide a CV and assessment of learning that can be mapped against the body of knowledge? Arggh. Nope. Too hard. I give up.

I could probably qualify for exceptional circumstances but given the benefits of professional registration to me personally were pretty slim to start with, and the time investment in providing an assessment of learning against the BoKs (with no guidelines on how this should be done) has just landed professional registration in the “too hard basket”.

2. Supplying evidence of relevant tertiary qualifications

The other option (Route A) is to go through the (as yet unknown) mentoring process while providing certified copies of my academic transcripts.

Finding my transcripts will be a challenge, but getting them certified by an authorised person such as a Justice of the Peace, Court Registrar, Solicitor or authorised University Staff Member has once again landed professional registration in the “too hard basket”.

It’s probably a smaller initial time investment to take Route A (mentoring and academic transcripts) but given the unknowns around mentoring it just seems too hard.

So what did I learn?

  1. I had to read the application process quite carefully to understand what was required. I found this frustrating and the FAQ section unhelpful regarding mentoring, training plans, and assessment of learning guidelines.
  2. Professional registration is cost-effective (a once-off cost less than $60, plus annual association membership).
  3. Professional registration is a serious endeavour, as it should be.

To be fair, I could contact Wendy Walker at registration@ lianza.org.nz for advice or clarification on the above matters, but I think I’ve learnt enough for now – professional registration has not made it to my “must do basket” just yet. It hasn’t been discarded entirely, but temporarily returned to the shelf for future reference.

I’d love to hear your views on professional registrations – add a comment below, or contact me via email.

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11 Comments

  1. Ngaianne says:

    Well, I consider myself an extremely lazy person and as my husband will attest, will put off anything for as long as I can. However i have found the revalidation process to be both interesting and not particularly long winded. I have an ordinary calendar diary in which I write down any appointments, training etc and since I registered 3 years back I merely added some keywords and a few basic comments after I have done anything BOK worthy and that is my basis for my journal. I find the reflection process to really help my work both in Libraries and in Council. It lets me know where my strengths and weaknesses are and where I would like to go in the future. And to be perfectly honest I enjoyed looking back and seeing what I actually had achieved.

    1. That sounds promising!

  2. Hi Sally
    soemwhat ambivlent about professional registration myself but…
    Turning some negatives into positives
    1. Having a certified copy of your Academic transcript may come in hand one day for another purpose i.e if you want to do further study
    2. You already have a record of PD you have done – your wonderful blog! and the helpful work you have done for others on assigning BOKs to entries on The Daily News
    3. You already have at least two Twitter followers who are mentors! mentoring by Twitter could be fun
    4. Writing a training plan would be a breeze for some one with your planning skills and it could double as a plan for your business ( which you probably already have!
    Struggling to finish my record of 4 years by the end of next month! and looking forward to perhaps being a mentor for a LIANZA colleague in the coming year.

    1. Sally says:

      Kia ora Wendy,

      You know, I really really wanted to register but it has turned out to be “too hard” which is a poor excuse, because many library staff don’t have the qualifications to do so, so I’m lucky in that I have a choice. You’re enthusiastic response has changed that – slightly (it’s now just “hard” rather than “too hard”) 🙂

      I do admire people such as yourself who are registered and would strongly encourage them to remain registered, as re-registering would such a big obstacle.

  3. Robin says:

    I didn’t think I qualified yet, but it seems I might, thanks to your post.

  4. On another note – I really like the way you state “What did I learn” … that really gives a good focus I think 🙂

  5. I think i have kept a reasonable record of the PD I have done – I’ve posted most of it on another blog I have, and have tried at times to sort out BOKs and what have you as I go. But I can still see quite a lot of effort going in to doing the final paperwork …

  6. Fiona says:

    I had mixed feelings but I did it and don’t think I did it very well. I think I did oodles of PD, I don’t think I documented it well, or remembered everything when it came to the deadline. Agree with Ali, It is a good idea but too hard, too complicated. We need access to an e-portfolio such as Mahara to make reflection and documentation easier.

  7. I voted against the introduction of professional registration because I believed then – as I do now – that it is a bloated overly bureaucratic system that would divert energy away from things we should be getting on with. However once it was introduced I got on board (and I signed up to be a mentor) because I hope at some stage it is realised that the whole thing needs to be simplified. One of my biggest gripes is that no-one, as far as I could/can tell (and always happy to be corrected) benchmarked the proposed system against what other professions do. Case in point are accountants. After doing the hard yards and getting his ACA my partner now just has to attend two courses a year, and tick a box on his re-registering form to say he has done professional reading. This can all be audited but there is no taking a day off work or endless anguish (or both) to complete the revalidation process. Why oh why does our need to be so complicated!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am registered and doing the BOK requirements to reregister next year, however, I feel it is a huge amount of work for very little recognition professionally and certainly the extra cents on my hourly rate make a mockery of the qualifications I have got and the work I put in to get/keep them.

  9. Penny says:

    You just pointed out to me (again) why I haven’t bothered….

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