HSLG 2016: meet the presenters #3

Mary Dunne and Mairea Nelson: Advancing skills: from ‘lovely librarians’ to knowledge ninjas

Mary Dunne is a Chartered Information Specialist in the HRB National Drugs Library, Dublin. She has a keen interest in the future of librarianship, in particular: how we are perceived by stakeholders and how we communicate our value. She co-Chaired the jury selection for the ‘Demonstrating value: what’s your impact?’ theme at the CILIP conference 2015. She is also a member of the working groups for both the CILIP and HEE Libraries impact toolkits, and a member of the Lenus working group. Mary has presented at numerous conferences, and authored articles for library and drug-related publications. Her qualifications include a Masters in Psychology and a Masters in Information and Library Studies (Distinction). Linkedin:

Mairea Nelson is an Information Officer in the HRB National Drugs Library, a position she has held since 2010. She has written articles and presented at many national conferences. Her professional interests include social media and library value and impact. She has a Masters in Applied Social Research from Trinity College Dublin. In 2015 Mairea applied for Certification, however CILIP upgraded her portfolio and she was awarded Chartership. Mairea was the first candidate to have their submission upgraded to the higher level of professional registration by CILIP. Linkedin:

Twitter: @hrblibrarians


The modern (Oxford) definition of ninja is a person who excels in a particular skill or activity. Known for their speed, stealth and precision, the ninja is viewed as a respected, efficient professional. As librarians and information professionals we adapt to constantly changing expectations, yet perceptions of us as passive, support-staff persist. In this challenging environment it is more important than ever that we display our abilities and skills. But how do we decide what to focus on? And, importantly, how do we then promote our skills and expertise to those who need to know?

One useful way to audit our skills is through professional registration. Through its Professional Knowledge and Skills Base, CILIP encourage a process of self-reflection in the areas of professional expertise, generic skills, and contribution to the wider library, information and knowledge sector context. This structured process helped us prioritise areas of change and advancement, and understand how we can better reveal our professional brilliance. From fairy-tales to facts – this is our story.

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