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So Long and Thanks for all the Digital: A reflection on my secondment to the Libraries Taskforce

[Editors note: This post is the third in the short series of reflections from colleagues who worked with the Taskforce on secondment. It was written by Darren Smart, Lead Manager, Library Service, West Sussex County Council]

I heard I had got the secondment as I travelled home on the train from my interview – apologies to the elderly lady I woke up suddenly with my yell of triumph! Over the next few days, as the news sunk in, I begin to wonder what I had let myself in for? Especially as the emails and meeting invites came pouring in, even on Xmas Eve.
I needn’t have worried. The team were fantastic, made me feel so welcome and ensured I had a smooth transition and thus was soon up to speed.
Over the next 4 months, I got involved with a wide range of projects and partners and made significant progress across all the areas outlined in Kathy Settle’s original blog welcoming me to the team and more besides.

Key successes

The key successes for me were:

  • Establishing a Steering Group to take the Single Library Digital Presence forwards and helping develop the principles and value propositions to underpin the alpha phase development of a prototype
  • Working with a wide range of partners and stakeholders to develop/take forward a range of digital inclusion and digital skills initiatives e.g. Halifax Digital Champions, Teentech and the Tinder Foundation
  • Contributing to the Ambition document and SCL’s Cracking the Code event
Makeblock robot at the Code Green event. Photo credit: Ben Lee
Makeblock robot at the Code Green event. Photo credit: Ben Lee

I also gained a lot from my time with the secondment in terms of personal development:

  • Learning new skills and honing others, e.g. writing effective business cases and positional papers
  • Improving my understanding of how central Government works
  • Discovering new tools and ways of working
  • Expanding my network and improving my profile

A gateway to further opportunities

This in turn has led to further opportunities, including joining SCL’s Digital Offer team and another secondment within my own authority working on a cross-directorate strategic programme.
So would I recommend others taking a secondment with the Libraries Taskforce?

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