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Posts Tagged ‘CILIP’

Professional Development of Library Assistants workshop

Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 December, 2010

A guest post from a member of my team (Izzy Hoskins) on a workshop she and another of my team went on this week.
On 7th December I attended the Professional Development of Library Assistants workshop at the University of Leicester organised by Andrew Dunn. This course was aimed at Library assistants looking to develop their careers.

The day began with an interesting talk by Emma Donaldson who had completed the ACLIP accreditation, something that I had not heard of previously. Although I was unsure how far this particular course could take someone professionally it certainly seems a cheaper and more accessible option than others in its field. The portfolio that had to be completed in order to achieve this award was passed around and seemed to demonstrate a very hands on and active approach to learning – something that certainly appeals to me and that I am likely to pursue. I would however have liked to hear more about this qualification and where it leads.

Secondly Abigail Howe presented a talk about her personal path which seemed the most focused of the day. Her background as a library assistant alongside her MSc Library and Information Studies (Distinction) at City University has led her to become the Learning Resource Centre Manager at Huntingdonshire Regional College. Her achievements are down to an active pursuance of a professional career and she gave good examples and suggestions to the audience. Advice given included:

  • Creating experience – in a previous role she herself had drafted in sixth form students to work for free during her lunch hour so that she could experience managing a team.
  • Networking through conferences
  • Involvement with UC&R alongside CILIP
  • Creating contacts using Twitter
  • Listening to others in the field by joining committees
  • Taking time to do some professional reading
  • Dressing, speaking and acting professionally, effectively behaving as if you are already in a professionally qualified role

Although her personal development path seems a little intimidating her general message certainly rings true and I am sure her C.V. will continue to become very impressive.

Chris Brown of Aston University gave the last presentation of the day by library staff. Having worked in various positions she was eventually led to complete the masters course at Loughborough. Interestingly she noted that she was advised not to take library assistant roles after graduating and instead hold out for an opportunity to arise. Although I could appreciate this sentiment I wasn’t sure how achievable this would be in the current jobs market.

Staff development took the second half of the day giving advice about creating C.V’s and performing at interviews. A large part of their discussion was spent on identifying the skills and pressures for staff within your target market although this only seemed to centre on higher education institutions. They focused on marketing yourself, finding your unique selling point (USP!) and quite importantly moulding your application to the market as opposed to trying to fit the jobs market to yourself. A lot of their advice was useful but I did feel that at times it took a while to get to a single point and that this time could have been used in a better way. For example I would have liked the chance to develop my own C.V. or to hear more about the variety of career opportunities within the library profession.

Although the day was very general I thought it was both insightful and useful. The follow up by Andrew Dunn to the feedback given has been excellent and is very much appreciated.

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Fame for Keith

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 May, 2010

Keith NockelsI can’t let this pass unmarked, but if you look in the latest CILIP Gazette (online here, 6th May 2010)  you will find the regular My Week coloum has been written by our very own Keith Nockles. Nice to see one of our team of staff getting some much deserved public recognition, well done Keith!

Posted in Wider profession | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

CILIP Editorial Panel

Posted by gazjjohnson on 27 November, 2009

Probably one for our external librarian readership (since I’ve already been on this for the past year) but the CILIP Editiorial Panel is still looking for new members for 2010.  It’s well worth joining as a chance to have your say about CILIP’s flagship publications Update and Gazette; not to mention a very useful networking opportunity that reaches across the sectors.  I’ve had a very informative time in the past 18 months I’ve been on it, and hope that the remaining time I’ve got to serve will be just as fruitful!

Doesn’t matter what level or sector of librarianship you’re from either, everyone is welcomed.

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Rules of blogging

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 August, 2009

For those that might be interested, there’s an article by me in the latest CILIP Gazette (14th August 2009) on writting effective blogs for librarians.  Currently available online free of charge here.  Enjoy, and try not to point out how many of my suggestions my posts have breached over the years…

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CILIP Umbrella 2009 (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 17 July, 2009

After a good breakfast the final day of the conference began with more breakout sessions.

Maltesers mean answers: a sweeter service for students based on user feedback: Angela Horrocks & Davina Omar, Kingston University.
Kingston University talked about their annual survey run every March for many years by the library with a chance to win Wii or Ipod, but maltesers for everyone. The incentive was small but drew in a good number of students. This survey is in addition to national student survey, but helps gets them in the answering frame of mind to complete the major one. The library survey fills a very important need that the NSS doesn’t cover, for both students and library services. Having a clear purpose for the survey is very important, as otherwise the risk of the students getting survey fatigue could be high. Kingston focus on how students learn and this is the U.S.P. of the survey. Knowing the paths students use to access (e.g. mboile/vle etc) is very important in shaping how and what they teach to students, something I thought was especially interesting.

In terms of resources Kingston use software bought in from Priority Research, allowing their customisation, to handle the survey online along with the analysis. There are some issues

  1. The silent majority (10% return on population) and so worries over accurate representation.
  2. Contacting non-users → how to approach them
  3. Setting the questions → to be open and not drive students down a particular route.

In terms of staffing, need to give the staff the time and the top down support to do the user survey. Have to be prepared to trust the outcome – if students make a demand clear, need to respond appropriately. Kingston suggested you might need to think about quotas – departments, levels, ages or other demographic factors that you want to achieve in returns for appropriate representation. Thinking about how/why you might want to include as many of these as you can. Early surveys (1993) very much targeted at specific user groups, thought to be especially disadvantaged or in need. Yearly surveys since early 90s allow trends and rising (and reducing) priorities for student bodies to be clearly demonstrated.

In 2008 reintroduced 1-2-1 interviews on top of focus groups and surveys. A dozen done to test the waters, as an approach to non-users. Also now do additional focus groups at start of academic year to test early responses to changes put in place. Worry survey is contributing to sample already engaging users rather than non-users. 100 1-2-1s done in 2009 – gave a good snap shot of individual user experiences, rather than anonymised, average student point of vein. Survey moved to online this last year (partly environmental) but also reinvent survey (at least look and feel) – still offer maltesers to those that come to bank of computers. Comments and response from previous year’s survey included in next year’s, so the students can see how library has reacted. Drawbacks include lack of benchmarking with external entities, survey fatigue

The changing landscape of libraries: Tim Leach, BDP
This session was about buildings and architectural considerations. Tim said that library user needs strictly speaking haven’t changed in centuries, light and study space for example, just the ways in which we use technologies and building designs to accommodate them. As technology allows users to work in other places than our library spaces, we have to ensure that our spaces continue to meet their needs and make a welcoming environment they want to visit. The UCL masterplan takes the inherent problems with their historic building and tries to provide as many solutions within a limited rebuild. The key issue was space – due to earlier renovations over the years the original building space is not what it was. There is a need for positive first impression from the first moment walking through door. The building must be legible and accessible, the use signage as a sign of failure (not a point I agree with 100%).

Architectural furniture and fixtures define use of areas, and are not flexible but are suitable for certain environments (e.g. where levels of privacy is desirable). However, they can be a block to interaction between different spaces. Natural light and ventilation provide an environment that can be comfortable for most people. Use technology to change way materials stored and accessed, not just treating shelving as the only answer. Even get people on roofs of buildings by building structures into the environment that surrounds them.

The great good place Andrew Cranfield, IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section
Library as the third place (between home and work) was the theme of Andrew’s talk. Library environment and impact of the building resign on staff functions – the two are not independent and need to be considered together. Commented that many libraries today remain too conservative in their redesigns. Monopoly of information provision from libraries is now gone, and must address other approaches to provide services to users. Ambitious libraries (buildings) today seem to reflect new ways of thinking – no longer temple of knowledge to stand for generations but a right here/right now environment with more akin to the retail experience. Non-compartmentalisation of environments – books and café culture should be intertwined (e.g. like the idea stores).

Cerritos Public Library has a books entrance way and 1.2 million visitors/year for tiny local population. Andrew talked of his distaste for elitist colour schemes (black and white starkness) much better to have welcoming colours. Very, very white buildings in 6 months need repainting (e.g. Amsterdam central library). Cultural Black Diamond in Copenhagen – no feeling coming into library, almost too far the other way as a cultural centre, but not a library at all.

Libraries Change Lives Awards
The most interesting part of the awards was that the news of the winners (Leeds Central Libraries) was out on twitter 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony.  Andrew Motion spoke briefly too.

Building a successful library Web 2 service James Smith (Sunderland Libraries) and Nick Stopforth (Newcastle Libraries)

The session was based on things they have done and have learned through trial and error. They shared with us their 7 lessons (well 5 as they over ran and the session ended before they could finish) they have learned through using Web 2 resources such as twitter, wikis, podcasting etc. They did demonstrate a very interesting mashup with Google maps, World War II bombing maps of Sunderland and eye witness accounts of the bombing. The session was mostly full of public librarians, who are it seems less clued up than HE libraries on this sort of technology and how/where it can fit into their working lives (3/4 of the audience had not even heard of twitter for example).

That brought the conference to an end. It had been a packed two days, and I would have loved an extra day either before or after to more fully digest everything that had been discussed. The highs would have to include my session, the networking and the updating of information and skills in general. The lows, well the “gala” conference dinner, lack of hands on sessions and only two days for a very intensive conference. All the same I hope to be back for 2011!

Posted in CILIP, Staff training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CILIP Editorial Panel Meeting*

Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 November, 2008

On Friday 31st I went down to London for the second of my trips to CILIPHQ.  This time it was for the first meeting of the new Editorial Panel, which has replaced the old and more formal Editorial Board earlier this year. 

It was an interesting meeting, very much of two halves.  The morning was mostly given over to reports from the Gazetteand Updateeditorial team, with the older hands weighing in from time to time.  As a newbie I kept uncharacteristically quiet, as I was still working out the social dynamics of the 17 other people in the room.  Perhaps a few too many, but the idea is to have representation from all library sectors and apparently the old Board suffered from far too few members.  As it was after lunch we kicked off into a more chatty part of the meeting as the ice had well and truly melted, and naturally I got my oar in at every available moment.

One of the most interesting debates was around the new digital Edition of Update, which looks like it will be having additional content over and above the print addition.  In part this is to drive traffic to the site, but it also is intended as a member benefit; since the issue is only visible to logged in CILIP members.

Part of my role on the panel, as well as using my expert judgement to feedback on each issue, is to seek comments and suggestions from the wider library community. I came away with a series of questions and action points, some of which I pushed out onto Twitter during the meeting.   In case you’re not Twittered up here are the main questions:

  • What are the hot issues that should be tackled?
  • What themes should issues focus on? We’ve had RFID, JISC and Health of late.
  • Who should be writing articles in Update?
  • Did you know who was on the cover of November 2008 without looking inside?
  • Does Update use too much “in-house language” and should more effort be made to demystify acronyms used?

Usefully I’ve come back with a load of extra copies of recentissues, which I’ve left in the staff room to share the CILIP news a bit further.  So in

The meeting ended with a plea for contributions to the Update blog, whichI confess I’d forgotten to look at for a few weeks – stop by if you get the chance – though worth noting that unlike the Communities part of the site the blog is actually open access – something I wholeheartedly support.  So anyone can read it, though you do need to be logged in as a member to actually comment. 

Oh and did you all spot the picture/quote from me in the latest copy of Gazette?  Personally I think I look grumpy…

*You know with a super-exciting post title like that, that this entry is just going to be crammed full of interesting stuff; don’t you?

Posted in CILIP, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Unto the next generation

Posted by gazjjohnson on 7 October, 2008

I had a very interesting Friday last week, which is as you all know one of my freelance days normally spent at home screaming at a dictionary or painting something around the house.  For a change I went down to CILIP to speak at and take part in their Graduate Open Day; a bit of coincidence with the Uni Open Day on Saturday.  The brief I had was to be part of a panel discussion on social networking/Web 2.0 and how I use it as a professional, followed by an afternoon of speed-networking.  The Graduate Day was the sort of event I wished I’d had as a new, slightly moist behind the ears librarian.

As a participant rather than an attendee I had a thoroughly fascinating time chatting to (sorry, speed-networking with) the new and wannabe librarians, quite a few of whom weren’t just interested in their careers but becoming professional active. I know speed networking of old, having used it extensively for SHERPA/JISC and it works really well, no matter what the format used.  We used triads, JISC use topic tables and CILIP used a slightly simpler model where “professionals” sit on the inside of a circle, and then have three minutes to talk to one person who moves on at the sound of the gong.  Or in this case gavel.

What myself, and most of the other “professionals” there weren’t quite prepared for was that the 90 or so delegates in attendance (yes, do the Maths and work out how long I was speaking) weren’t all newly minted post-graduates of library and information schools by a long chalk. Oh no indeed, I spoke to quite a few people who were still only in the 2nd year of their undergraduate degree and were just using the day to explore possibilities; which meant all the LIS stuff we were talking about was a bit in code for them – translating it took most of the three minutes in some cases. 

However, they were by and large a lively and enthusiastic group to talk to, which was a real bonus. I also came away having had a very reflective time with regard to my own career/skills etc. Kudos to CILIP for organising this event, and roll on the next one.  I even had a bit of time to and from St Pancreas (sic) to take some amusing photos of statues – but that’s a whole different story…

Posted in Staff training, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

For a few tours more

Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 September, 2008

Toured a load of librarians around yesterday on behalf of UCRG and later this afternoon will be showing round a second batch on behalf of SCONUL.  As Louise said yesterday, it’s always nice showing librarians around the building as they can really appreciate the effort that went into designing it.  They also ask the most penetrating of questions as well, so the tours really keep you on your toes in terms of what goes on inside the DWL walls.

Personally I love doing these sort of things, but then I’m a showman at heart.  It’s also great to mix with one’s peers without having to tromp off to a conference in the back of beyond for three days, as it’s safe to say the information flow during these things is bidirectional – there’s always something new that these folks can share with us.

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Paying for your region

Posted by gazjjohnson on 5 August, 2008

I see CILIP’s asking via its Special Interest Groups and Branches for feedback on their new funding model.  At the mo you get your regional branch bundled in, two free special interest groups and then you pay for any extra groups.  Due to CILIP’s financial situation this can’t stand, and so following the flat-fee this year, they’re now proposing options that mean you get two free groups OR branches.

Funding for SIGs and Branches is going to be based on the level of membership they have, plus a flat fee.

I think this might not be brilliant for regional branches, who don’t have that great a visibility within the sector – certainly not as great as SIGs have.  It’s been said time and again that librarians associate with their SIGs more than their region, which in many respects is a real shame.  Certainly the East-Midlands Branch has been doing some good stuff, certainly over the years I’ve been here – conferences and the like across the sectors.  Sadly I think they’re one of the better ones, and may well get tarred with the same brush as the others.

So if you’re on lis-usr (or one of the other group lists) and want to make your voice heard on this – reply to the Group Chairs with your opinions.

Posted in CILIP | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »