Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Library meet up in Cardiff

CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) is organising a meet up for library staff in the South Wales area. The meet up is open to anyone working in libraries in Cardiff and the surrounding area, or anyone from nearby who fancies socialising with fellow library staff.

It will take place in the upstairs section of Barocco in Cardiff city centre from 5.30pm-9.30pm on Wednesday 24th October. Parking is available not too far from the bar (click the link to see a map of nearby car parks), and as we discovered last time we went there, Barocco does a two-for-one deal on cocktails!

It's a chance for us to get together and mix with others from different library sectors in an informal setting. If you fancy coming along, but want more information you can contact me via this blog or my Twitter account @KrisWJ

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Cardiff CLIC/CPD23 meet up

CLIC is organising a meet up for library staff in the South Wales area. If you are taking part in the CPD23 course, then it can count as your 'thing 7', but it is open to everyone regardless of whether you are taking part.

The meet up will be held in the yurt at Milgi on City Road in Cardiff from 6.00 till roughly 9.00pm on Tuesday the 24th July. City Road is only a few minutes walk from Cardiff city centre, and the no. 38 & 39 buses stop right outside (parking in the area is not great though!).

The yurt is right at the back of Milgi, if you haven't been before you need to walk right through the length of the bar and out towards the beer garden.
So if you work in libraries and live near enough to get to Cardiff, then please come down, we would love to see you!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Things 6 & 7 - real-life & virtual networks

I’m cheating and combining two things this week, but I feel it’s justified because lately many of my online connections have developed into real-life ones, and much of my real-life connections are supplemented by my online presence.

When I took part in CPD23 last year I was only just starting to get involved with professional bodies (formal and informal) and I was often a rather passive participant. With the impetus of CPD23 behind me I am becoming more proactive, and I do feel it has been beneficial, not just in terms of what I have learnt and the professional development opportunities it’s created, but just in terms of boosting my confidence. It can be a little intimidating as a (relative) newbie to the profession, but it’s surprisingly easy to get involved, and once you are you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

The list of organisations you can become a part of on the CPD23 blog is really impressive, I thought I’d just add a little about my own experiences of some of them.

Online Networks
LinkedIn – last year I set up my account, but didn’t really do anything with it. I’ve been planning on updating it ever since, it’s still not happened!
LISNPN – I joined a while ago, and have been on a few of the meet ups (see my post on the latest one here). I think of LISNPN as a really great springboard to help you get acquainted with your fellow library folk. The resources section is full of useful information, from LIS course reviews, to guides to making presentations, and interviews tips. They also post job vacancies on the site, and share them via their Twitter account, @LISNPN.
Pinterest – I’ve just joined and so far I’ve not done much with it, but I’m looking forward to catching the ‘pinning bug’

Real-life networks
CILIP – I joined a year ago, and so far I’m finding it is worth it. I attended the CILIP New Professionals Day this year, which was really great and I’ve taken part in some CIG online forum discussions (little bit intimidating) and I’ve just heard that the Rare Books Group is planning on running some events in Wales (hooray!). I’m also heading up to the CDG/New Professional conference this July, as (along with Karen Pierce) I will be doing one of the presentations (scary!).
SLA (Special Libraries Association) – the SLA has a Museums group, so it was an obvious choice to join. I’m looking forward to exploring more of what my membership will offer; I’ve heard good things about them.
ARLIS – Although I use our institutional membership, rather than have a personal one, I still try to get involved; the email lists are great for keeping up to date with what’s happening in the art libraries world. I just wish I could make it to the regular visits they hold, which are too far away for me, they always look amazing.
MLAG (Museum Librarians and Archivists Group) – they used to be the London Museum Librarians and Archivists Group, but have since opened up their membership UK wide. It’s free to join, and is open to anyone working in museum libraries or archives. It can be difficult to make connections with other museum librarians (we are a rare breed!), so it’s great to find an organisation dedicated to it.

But, probably the organisation I get the most out of is CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation), who provide free training and events for anyone working in libraries in Cardiff and the surrounding area (I blogged about the most recent event here). CLIC was set up in 2005 with the help of CyMAL ( Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales) and is free to join. I’m currently a member of the Web Development Team and at the beginning of this year I also joined the Staff Development Group.

This year CLIC has decided to try and organise regular meet ups for people doing CPD23, we held our most recent one in May. So, if you live near Cardiff, or just fancy a visit, then let me know and I’ll make sure you get added to the invite list for the next one!

LISNPN Cardiff meet up

A couple of weeks ago (31st May) I went to a South Wales New Professionals meet up organised by @GilesLloydBrown the CILIP CDG Officer for Wales. We met in the Old Library pub (so called because of its location in part of a building that housed the Cardiff Library & Museum years ago) and it was a great opportunity to interact with other librarians, some who I had met before, and others who I was meeting for the first time.

Cardiff Old Library

We were well represented by a range of different library sectors, university, school, Government and museum, as well as a few people currently working as volunteers. Most of us were either recent graduates or working through a post-graduate course. It was nice to chat to each other and compare notes on our various experiences of ILS courses, and the differences between full-time and distance learning options. Although we were primarily all Cardiff based librarians, we were did have one attendee who had come all the way from Aberystwyth!

Meeting everyone that evening highlighted the benefits that meeting regularly to share advice and experiences can bring. Particularly as so many of us are either job-hunting, or looking to take the next step in the career progression ladder, and knowing you have a support group going through similar things is very reassuring. Hopefully this event will be the first of many!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

CLIC Marketing event

CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) held a free training event for staff on the 29th May at the University of Glamorgan's ATRiuM building. This was my first event as a member of the Staff Development Group, and I had the added responsibility of looking after the @CLICLibraries Twitter account during the event and tweeting using the #clicmarketing hashtag.

We had three presentations, but kept to a very loose timetable. Previous CLIC training sessions tried to pack a lot in to the half-day, but this one had a much more relaxed feel to it and I think most people preferred that format.

The first presentation was from Alice Percival and Helen Staffer 'Marketing Champions' at Cardiff University, who are responsible for;
  • co-ordination of library marketing projects
  • sharing of good practice and ideas
  • providing advice & guidance
  • liaising with the communications team & communication working group
  • managing the marketing fund

Alice and Helen described some of the recent marketing activities they had been involved in, such as the Love your Libraries Day. Aspects included sticking up Post-it notes, offering sweets to patrons and running competitions.
@ButeLibrary ran a Twitter draw, students retweeted a message and names are drawn randomly from a hat. Prizes were mugs with a picture of Bute Library on them.

Photo courtesy of @ButeLibrary
The Love your Libraries Day generated so much positive feedback that it was a real morale booster for staff, and they found that they didn't lose their professionalism by engaging in 'fun' activities.

They explained that students using the different libraries (Cardiff University has 14 of them) often behave in different ways, so they try to combine central themes with the freedom to tailor events to individual sites, rather than a 'one size fits all' approach.

Alice and Helen rounded off their presentation by pointing out how valuable the marketing strategies were as 'ensuring wide knowledge of their services is a crucial precursor to measuring impact'.

The second presentation was from Nicola Richards at Cardiff Central Public Library who shared a (very impressive) list of marketing events they hold, including;
  • Student Fashion shows
  • Psychic nights
  • Speed dating
  • Laughing matters - empowers young people, builds skills
  • Vibe - market to ethnic communities
  • Poetry & pints
Nicola then addressed the question 'How do they do it (on no money at all)!
A lot of their events are made possible through working with partners. They are always upfront with their partners that although there is no funding available, they can offer;
  • promotion of their business
  • to raise their profile in the community
  • access to potential customers
Working with outside partners can also help to alleviate the workload, and in some cases they may take on the bulk of the organisational work. Members of the marketing team tend to fit it in around their regular work, so having that kind of help can be vital to the success of an event.

They also rely heavily on electronic promotion, not just their websiteblog, Facebook and Twitter accounts, but also listings on 'What's on' websites and places like Gumtree.

'The best marketing tool we have are our staff'
Information packs are provided for all staff so that they are all fully briefed on what's happening and can pass that information on to the public. Although many of the events tend to happen at the Central site the branch libraries can also get involved by promoting the events, organising book displays that tie-in etc.

The final presentation was from Jane Purdie about the resources available to us on the site. Even though I had heard of the site before, I had no idea there was so much on there.

Library staff in Wales can log into the toolkit section of the site which includes;
  • Reports - such as the Library Innovation Project of 2006/07 that looked at applying retail techniques in libraries
  • Details of winning entries for the Marketing Innovations Awards which can be used as inspiration
  • Presentations that can be used in training sessions
  • Photo bank - over 500 photos cleared for consent for library promotional activities until 2016
  • Story bank - testimonials from library users that can be used in promotional material
  • Advertising templates in a range of formats (poster, banner, leaflet) for lots of different events, all free to download
It was a really impressive list!

The day finished with a tour of the ATRiuM library, famous for its very long loans desk! Presentations from the day can be seen on the CLIC website here.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Thing 4 - current awareness

This post primarily focuses on Twitter, inspired in part by a number of conversations I've had lately. I’ve only been using it for about a year (I joined as part of Thing 4 last year) but I thought I would share my experience of using it so far, which may be helpful to people getting started.

Like a lot of people I had a perception of Twitter, as something mainly used by celebrities and people tweeting about what they had for breakfast, so I wasn't that interested in it.

But really I couldn’t have been more wrong, as was pointed out in a recent event we held on Social Media “Twitter is what you make of it”. I tend to use it for work, 90% of the people or organisations I follow are in the museum or library sector. Most of those people tend to tweet a mixture of personal and professional (the ‘profersonal’ approach). They share links to blogs and articles, recommend tools and resources, report from conferences and discuss issues in the profession.

There is a bit of personal thrown in there too, so they come across as real humans rather than crazed, workaholic robots, but primarily I use Twitter as an information resource, and to create and strengthen links with others in the library sector.

Whenever I talk to people about using Twitter there seem to be three main questions/problems that arise; “how do you know who to follow”; “I’m not sure I have anything to say”; and “how do you fit it all in/keep on top of it?”.

So here's how I tackled those areas.

Who to follow;

It can be difficult to know who to follow, thankfully you can usually check out a person's profile first, looking at their tweets can help you decide (plus you can always ‘unfollow’ if you change your mind!).

As I joined as part of CPD23, I of course followed @CPD23 and some of the contributors such as @Girlinthe or @Annie_Bob

I also followed organisations and institutions like @CILIPinfo (plus the CILIP sub groups @CILIPRareBooks  and @CILIPCIG); @AmgueddfaCymru@NLWales@HVCats@LISNPN; @LibraryCamp and of course @CLICLibraries!

There were a number of ‘uberlibrarians’ I thought worth following, as you can count on them to draw your attention to useful blogs and online tools. People such as @Philbradley; @theREALwikiman (author of the Library Marketing Toolkit); @librarianbyday (responsible for the Library Day in the Life project) and  @bethanar (author of the LIS New Professionals Toolkit), they are of course many more, but I can't list everyone!

I also created a network of local librarians; including the CILIP Wales officer @Minimorticia, and a Cardiff list featuring @Darklecat; @helbader; @Ceridwen339; @Gemma_DS; @alisonharvey_; @MathomHouser; @glambuslib; @glamlaflib to name but a few!

Also look out for #ff (Follow Fridays) when people tweet their 'follow' recommendations.

What to tweet

I had no idea what to say for my first tweets and 'lurked' for a while, until I had the courage to say something. Another option is to start by retweeting things that are of interest to you.

Alternatively you could take part in a scheduled conversation, such as @uklibchat (Tuesdays 6.30-8.30pm GMT). The agenda is always on their blog in advance, giving you a chance to see the questions and start composing your replies. All replies need to contain the hashtag #uklibchat, meaning they can be grouped together and afterwards a summary of the discussions is posted. It’s a really great way to start taking part in conversations on Twitter, without the pressure of trying to compose tweets off the top of your head.

Or there are the chartership chats for people doing (or thinking of doing) chartership, or those already chartered who would like to give advice and support to others. Chartership chats happen on Twitter on Thursdays and are organised by Jo Alcock (@joeyanne) using the #chartership hashtag.

How to avoid becoming overwhelmed with tweets

This can be a tricky one. I'm lucky that I can access Twitter on my phone, as it means I can check it when I'm waiting for the bus or while I'm watching TV. I often save hashtags as columns, allowing me to see any tweets containing that hashtag, which can be very helpful if you are following a conference.

You can also divide up the people you follow in to lists, and just view what people from a particular list are tweeting. That way if you are a bit pressed for time you can pick and choose what type of tweets you want to look at that day, for example I might choose only to look at tweets from my list of CLIC librarians one day, and tweets from people about their #cpd23 progress the next.

Another good tip is to save things and come back to them. If tweets contain links to interesting blog posts or online articles, but I don't have time to read them immediately, I'll often bookmark them on my phone. Jen Gallagher (@medievaljenga) recommends using Pocket, and Evernote is another handy alternative, and you can log in to your account on any PC to view what you've saved.

I think the main thing though is not to worry to much about it. It's impossible to catch everything, and if something is really important/useful it will be retweeted so much that you'll catch it eventually. A lot of people archive tweets, or use Storify, meaning even if you're not aware of the conversation initially, you can still catch what was said at a later date.

Wow this post contains a lot of hyper links!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Cocktails in Cardiff (CPD23 meet up)

Last week the CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) staff development group organised a meet up for library staff in Cardiff who were thinking about doing, or had started, CPD23. I'd done the course last year, and one of the best things I got out of it was meeting other participants in my area, first through Twitter, and then at the face-to-face meet ups for Thing 7. Meeting up can really help if you find yourself struggling with any aspects of the course, and you'd be surprised how often other people tend to have exactly the same concerns as you.

Photo courtesy of Squirrel Library
Karen talks a little on her blog (dark-side-of-the-catalogue) about the time management concerns that a lot of people had. I really liked the suggestion of banding together with colleagues, maybe for an hour after work each week, to work through the 'things' and spur each other on!

We had a lot of people attending who had started the course last year, but not come to the end yet. Some of them were feeling a bit guilty that they hadn't finished, but I think as more people admitted that they hadn't finished either it was quite reassuring. The best thing about online courses is that you can work at your own pace, but if you don't know many other people taking part you can end up with the misconception that everyone else is way ahead of you. Meet ups can be very helpful to show that often the other participants are actually in the same position as you.

Photo courtesy of @SiobhanWGLib
A few people expressed their nervousness at blogging, and the feeling that they never know what to say. I could definitely sympathise with that, I had never blogged before taking part last year, and I'm not much of a writer, I think my early posts reflected that. The best advice I could think of for overcoming that issue is to take a look at what other people are writing, they're often not blogging all that much either. I think once you make a start and get over that mental hurdle of 'what to write' it does become easier. Like anything, the more you practice the more comfortable you will feel about it.

Another concern that was raised focused on Twitter, and as we look at Twitter for Thing 4 I thought I might talk about it in a little more depth then.

It was a great night, the 2-4-1 cocktails were an unexpected bonus (I hadn't known about them when I booked it!) and I'm hopefully it will be the first of many such events.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Thing 3 - consider your personal brand

Thing 3 is all about building your personal brand, a hot topic in library circles at the moment.

Like a number of people who took part in CPD23 last year, I was initially quite reluctant to engage with the idea of creating a personal brand. I had the perception that it was a bit cynical, and wasn’t too keen on the idea of ‘selling’ myself. I wonder if it is the terminology that is off putting, it’s difficult to get past the impression the word ‘brand’ tends to conjure up. Perhaps referring to it more as building or directing your reputation would be easier to engage with?

I think the most important thing I’ve learnt since then is that there are many different ways to develop a brand, many approaches will seem not appropriate or relevant, but it’s actually quite easy to find one that sits more comfortably with you. At the recent CILIP New Professionals Day Ned Potter discussed the 5 ways you could influence your brand. The thing that stood out for me most from his talk was that creating a brand should not be your end goal; it should be more a happy result of pursuing the interests that are important to you.

I think this method allows you to create a brand in a more organic, natural way, rather than as something you’ve ‘constructed’. It also allows for flexibility, as you pursue your interests and ambitions it’s likely that they will change and develop. Hopefully that means that your ‘brand’ will also develop, rather than feeling like a rigid thing you have to stick to.

So with this in mind I had a look at some of the ways in which I manage my ‘brand’, and to be honest I don't do much and it hardly takes up any time.
  • I use the same profile picture for all my online accounts, it's a photo of me, which helps when meeting people face-to-face.
  • I try and keep the design of my blog and Twitter account relatively consistent, I use the same background image for example. Although I regret not using matching names for them when I first set them up.
  • My full name does appear somewhere on my online accounts, and a small bio. While I don't want all my personal details 'out there', I'm also not comfortable with the idea of being totally anonymous either, I think people will connect with you better if they know something about you.
  • I'm not keen on the idea of merging my professional and private lives, so Twitter, LinkedIn and my blog are for work-related stuff, Facebook is for social.
Out of interest I also decided to Google myself, I did this last year, and was not particularly surprised to discover I didn’t rank very highly in the search results. Well, what a difference a year makes!

My Twitter account (@KrisWJ) is second in the listings, and I suspect I am one of those 15 professionals listed in LinkedIn. I haven’t done much with my LinkedIn account, perhaps if I did I could get it working a little harder for me!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

CILIP New Professionals Day 2012 part 3

The final part of the day contained talks from Bethan Ruddock and Phil Bradley.

How to assemble your New Professionals Toolkit

Bethan introduced us to the New Professionals Toolkit and the 5 tools we need;
  • Tool 1 - networks - you probably already have one, people you know at work, met at college etc. You can also create networks using social media, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or join groups such as LISNPN
  • Tool 2 - mentors - scarily she suggested that there is a chance we could be mentors ourselves, without even knowing it! (I worry for sanity of anyone who would choose me)
  • Tool 3 - resources - there is so much out there it can be hard to know where to begin, but you could use your networks to help point you in the direction of resources that would be beneficial to your career
  • Tool 4 - a plan - Where are you now? Where do you want to go? How can you get there? You could do a skills audit, and keep an eye out for job adverts for your dream job, you can check on any gaps in your skills and experience and start working towards filling them now
  • Tool 5 - a voice - think about the kind of contribution you want to make to the profession (time and skills allowing)

She finished off with advising that we remember to keep our balance and conserve our energy!

Social Media now and into you Future Career

The final speaker was Phil Bradley, who began by stating that social media is information, and as information professionals we deal with information in all its formats.

"We don't have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we DO it" Erik Qualman (Socialnomics)

He suggested we all make sure we are engaging with social media, and showed us that Google searches now routinely return social rather than traditional media (websites) results. Using social media brings the information you need to you, no longer have to go out looking for it. "Less search, more finding"

However, when he started listing all the various tools you could use, and the many social media accounts he engages with, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed. It was a long list, and I'm not sure how he manages it, I barely manage to keep on top of the few that I currently use. I wasn't the only one who was feeling this way, one of the questions put to the speakers at the end was whether it was better to try to spread yourself thinly over all areas, or just focus on a few which you can use in more depth. The general consensus seemed to be that while you should spend some time trying everything out, so that you are aware of them and can recommend them where appropriate, it may be better to restrict your own use to only a few social media tools.

CILIP New Professionals Day 2012 part 2

During the mid-part of the day we attended three workshops, pre-selected from a choice of nine, you can see a full list of the workshops offered here.

Continuing Professional Development Adventures. What? Why? How?

The first I attended was Continuing Professional Development Adventures from Emma Illingworth (wearing some amazing printed leggings).

We started off with a discussion of the barriers and benefits to CPD, Emma asked us all to jot down an idea for each on a post-it (there were a lot of post-its in evidence at the various workshops, is CILIP sponsored by Post-it?) and we stuck them to some sheets on the wall. Time and cost won by a landslide victory over any other barriers, and the benefits were a more even mix of developing new skills, widening horizons and gaining employment.

Emma gave us a guide for how to plan a CPD journey
  • What do I want/need to learn
  • What will I do to achieve this
  • What resources or support will I need
  • What will my success criteria be
And gave us an exhaustive list of resources we could use to help plan and achieve our CPD goals, which you can access in her slide show presentation here.

The session finished with a brief look at reflection (an integral part of most CPD activities) and I really liked her suggested reflection questions;
  • What did I do
  • Why did I do it
  • What did I learn
  • How have/will I use what I've learnt

 CyberLibrarians: Information management jobs in the digital age

The second session was CyberLibrarians by Lisa Hutchins and Richard Hawkins, I was really looking forward to this particular one, I had no idea what to expect as it was so different to the type of work I do day to day (which was primarily why I picked it!) but I felt really inspired by the end of it.

The session began with Lisa and Richard explaining their backgrounds and the type of work they do. They defined Information Architecture as 'the underlying structure of a website or e-resource, the way in which its content is organised and navigated'.

One aspect of this type of work is how common freelance work is. Lisa described how the cons (job instability and lack of security) weighed up against the pros (opportunities to work on exciting projects), and some of the personality traits required such as, patience, the ability to see the big and small picture, people skills and hearing what people don't say as much as what they do. She also described how you have to be mentally tough enough to market yourself and the value of what you do.

The take home message was;
"An entrepreneur is someone who is a taker of opportunities, apply an entrepreneurial spirit to your career".

The full Prezi for the workshop is available here.

Have you tried logging out and then in again?

After lunch (the much anticipated burritos!), the final workshop I went to was on managing e-resources with Simon Barron and Abby Barker (who was wearing amazing red high heel shoes, Abby that is, not Simon!).

Courtesy of @usernametaken10

After explaining the winding ways in which they became e-resource librarians they started explaining what it is they actually do, including some of the types of queries they tend to deal with (and a clip from The IT Crowd to illustrate).

Then it was our turn to have a go at answering some (apparently real life) queries. I think what came across most was that rather than having some kind of amazing tech abilities, what an e-resources librarian really needs is good people skills.

Check out the full presentation here.

CILIP New Professionals Day 2012 part 1

There is simply too much information to share in just one post (or it would be so freakishly long no-one would want to read it) so I'm going to break it up into parts.

I headed down to the CILIP New Professionals Day on the 11th May, the first time I'd ever been to one, and coincidentally the first time I'd ever been to CILIP HQ! My train was at a horribly early time (I am not a morning person) so I was very thankful to the lovely cabbie who took me to the station, and was very helpful even though my brain clearly wasn't switched on, and apologies to the staff of Upper Crust whose crisp display I destroyed (I have nothing against crisps, I'm just clumsy).

Arriving in London, I negotiated my way to Ridgemont Street just in time for Annie Mauger's welcome.

The first speaker of the day was Ned Potter, who discussed influencing your brand. In the past I lacked real understanding of the usefulness of creating a brand (see Thing 3, from CPD23 last year) but the more I learn about it, the more I think it is 'a very good idea'.

Ned kicked off his talk with four points;
  1. Don't panic, it will be fine
  2. You already have a brand
  3. You can never fully control it
  4. Don't panic

He then got us to submit our definitions of brand via Twitter, using the #npdbrand hashtag, and we could see them pop up up on the screen in front of us.

The purpose was to distinguish the difference between 'brand' and 'branding'. He gave us the definition that a brand is 'the sum total of everyone's perceptions about what a service is or does' that it is 'in the eye of the beholder' and quoted Jeff Bezos 'your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room'.

Once we'd establish what a brand is, Ned shared his advice on how to influence it (in 5 ways!).
  1. Get online - he recommended Twitter as a good starting point for those who are not already online
  2. Publish something - try something like In the Library with the Lead Pipe or check out the Library Writer's blog for writing opportunities
  3. Organise something - join a committee & help out with events, or if the kind of events you like aren't happening in your area, organise one yourself (eek!)
  4. Share something - some of the most popular blogs seem to be the ones that share advice & resources that can be helpful to others in the information profession
  5. Present something - apparently after the first time it becomes less scary (hmm)

He pointed out that it is not realistic to promote yourself as a 'super librarian' 24/7, or to worry too much about what other people are doing, it's not a competition. You only really need to compete with those that are pursuing exactly the same career path as you, and as there are so many different ones to choose from, the chances of you having exactly the same as anyone else are relatively slim.

I think the most important point I took from his talk was to 'focus your brand on what your goals are', that basically your brand needs to be relevant to your chosen profession. And that ultimately 'the brand is not the end goal it is just a by-product of pursuing your own issues and passions'.

Ned ended his talk with the following messages;
"Just do something, anything! If you have an idea, try and make it happen"

You can see the full Prezi for Ned's talk here, and better write ups than mine are available from Annie Johnson, Siobhan B, The Neon Librarian and Lady Pen (Penelope Dunn).

Monday, 14 May 2012

Thing 2 - investigate other blogs

I'm always on the look out for blogs by other people working in special libraries, and particularly museum libraries, so the first thing I did was have a scan through to see if I could find any. As usual there weren't that many, but perhaps as the course goes on more will feel inclined to take part.

As I'm organising a CPD23 meet up in Cardiff I also went through looking for any participants in my area. I've already started to put together a list using Delicious to find any tagged with Wales, which will hopefully grow as people start setting up their blogs.

However the best ways I've found to keep up to date with who is taking part in CPD23 is to subscribe to the CPD23 single feed on their website, and to save the #cpd23 hashtag as a column in TweetDeck on my phone.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Cardiff CPD23 meet-up

With the CPD23 course running again this summer, CLIC has decided to organise an informal meet-up for anyone starting the course or thinking about taking part, based in the south Wales area (or close by). Although CPD meet-ups are often organised as part of Thing 7 (see the Cardiff #yurtup), we thought it might be nice for people to get to know each other prior to then.

Barocco in Wharton Street, Cardiff
 It will take place in the upstairs section of Barocco in Cardiff city centre from 6pm-9pm on Wednesday 16th May. A number of CLIC members who took part in the course last year will be on hand to talk about their experiences and offer tips and advice on any aspects of the course. You can check out a presentation made by Karen Pierce on her CPD23 experiences at a recent CLIC event. Parking is available not too far from the bar (click the link to see a map of nearby car parks), and Barocco does really nice food!

You can pop in at any time, it's an informal event, more a chance to have a chat than anything else, and if you need any more information you can contact me via this blog or my Twitter account @KrisWJ

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

CPD23 2012

The 23 Things for Professional Development course is running again, and even though I took part in it last year I decided to sign up for it a second time. A lot of the 'things' introduced to us during the course were very new to me and that, combined with the fast pace we worked through them, meant I often had to resort to just skimming the surface rather than looking at them in any depth. My mantra started to become "I'll go back and look at it in more detail when I have time".

Since then I have not had a chance to do any of that further investigation that I promised myself, and I wondered if it was because the motivation had lessened. So, my plan is to do the CPD course again, but this time cover more of the aspects that I didn't have a chance to do first time. For example, last year when we did 'Thing 4' I was new to Twitter, so I primarily focused on setting up an account, finding people to follow, and sending my first Tweets. This time around, now that I use Twitter on a regular basis, I'll look more at organising Twitter feeds and creating lists, so that the volume of information I get in my timeline feels a little less overwhelming (something I have been meaning to get around to doing for a while now anyway!).

Hopefully by the end of the course I will have explored the tools introduced last time to the extent that I have a greater understanding of them.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales

At the beginning of March I went to a cataloguing event for people working in libraries in Wales organised by Karen Pierce (@Darklecat), who has written up the event on her blog here.  It was an opportunity to get together with others working in the same field and build links.

The day consisted of a number of presentations (one of which I jointly presented!), followed by a discussion session at the end of the day and plenty of chances to chat to fellow cataloguers. Helen Price Saunders (@Ceridwen339) kicked things off with a fascinating talk on cataloguing the Salisbury Library at Cardiff University. The library is made up of books relating to Wales that were collected by Enoch Salisbury. The University acquired his collection in 1886, and has since been adding to it. Helen's talk was a great insight into the quirks relating to taking on a private collection and the interesting modifications that private collectors can make to items that can make identifying them a challenge, such as cutting and reassembling books into their own formats! She also talked about the in-house classification scheme used by Salisbury and inherited by the University when they took it over, and how that works (or not) with their own system.  She finished by discussing whether the collection will be reclassified to fit in with the Library of Congress scheme the University uses, or whether it will continue to use its own. There is a worry that it will lose its identity as a distinct collection if that happens.

Dorothy Hartley talked about the massive job of reclassifying the Thomas Parry Library at Aberystwyth University. Thomas Parry Library used to employ Universal Decimal ClassificationDewey Decimal Classification and Library of Congress classification schemes, but they began moving to one unified scheme (Library of Congress) in 2008. It was a mammoth task (well illustrated by a photo showing rows of trolleys filled with books!) which had to be done with as little disruption to students as possible.  However they finally finished in 2011, ahead of schedule!

After a short break Ken Gibbs and Karen discussed cataloguing the Cardiff Rare Books collection acquired by Cardiff University in 2010.  They explained how overwhelming a task it was as they didn’t have any prior experience, and that even after CILIP training they felt under prepared.  They have now taken on a full time cataloguer for 3 years to make a start.  They also talked about the many gems that have been turned up since they started working through the collection.

Then came the presentation I was dreading! Louise Carey (the Assistant Librarian) and I did a talk discussing the use of the Metropolitan Museum of Art classification system that we use for our art library. It was the first time we had done a presentation on this subject, so we were understandably a bit nervous. After I gave a brief introduction to the history of the museum and our library collections, Louise discussed the classification scheme and its pros and cons.  A copy of our slide show is available here.

Next was a great talk on the TermCymru database from Miranda Morton at the Welsh Government. TermCymru is a database of Welsh terminology which in addition to giving the Welsh term for a word, also provides a context and a rating on the terms status (widely accepted, official etc). She talked about the lack of consistency with search terms and the need to formalise and weed it.

During a break for lunch, many of us took the opportunity to look around the newly refurbished Trevithick Library.

The first speaker after lunch was supposed to be Elly Cope (@ellycope) but unfortunately she wasn’t able to make the event so Karen very bravely filled in and talked us through the massive project to reclassify the University of Bath library from Universal Decimal Classification to Dewey Decimal Classification. It sounded like a massive project which they were doing in stages, taking it subject by subject. The estimates for how long it would take to complete were in the region of another 15 years!

The final presentation was from Jemma Francis discussing archiving Welsh Government publications and making them available to both staff and the general public. She also discussed the current program to digitise the 30,000 items currently in the archive.

The day ended with a discussion, chaired by Steve Hunt from the CILIP Cataloguing and Indexing Group (CIG), on whether to create an all Wales cataloguing group. The consensus was that it would be a good idea to create one, but it was left undecided as to whether it should be a regional part of CIG (particularly as so few of the attendees were CILIP members) or a stand alone group.

We left with the agreement that it might take a little time to decide on the format of the group and what it was to achieve, so to provide a forum for sharing ideas it was agreed that a wiki should be set up. Anyone can sign up to post on the wiki, not just those who attended the event, details are available here

Friday, 10 February 2012

Library Day in the Life #8, part 3

It seems like Friday has come around very quickly!  Today will be a very busy day, to celebrate National Libraries Day, CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) have organised a series of tours of Cardiff libraries for library staff.  We have two planned for today, one in the morning, and the other in the afternoon, plus both myself and the other library assistant will be heading off to attend tours of our own.

The day starts with an all staff briefing first thing in the morning to introduce the new exhibition, The Queen: Art and Image, opening to the public on Saturday.  These briefings are a really great opportunity to hear about what went into the planning of an exhibition and to get a chance to look around it before the building opens.

After the briefing we race back up to the library to start getting everything ready before the first tour arrives at 10.30am.  We put out on display a number of items from our locked cases that the visitors will be able to handle, including a 15th century incunabula, a copy of Pliny's Natural History!

Museum scrapbooks from the early 20th century

I'm a little nervous about the first tour, as I will be leading it for the first time.  Normally the head librarian is responsible for all the tours, but he decided to give me and the other library assistant the chance to do the morning one.  I think everything goes ok, I don't forget anything too important or get too tongue-tied, and everyone seems to enjoy it.  They weren't however, quite prepared for just how much walking was involved as we showed them around all the many departmental libraries we have scattered throughout the building.  Thankfully, no-one got lost in the labyrinth maze of the basement corridors!

Doing the introduction to my tour

There's time for a quick break for lunch, and a trip across to the art department to drop off some new books and see if they have anything for me to collect.  The art staff are often sent free copies of books and exhibition catalogues, or they pick them up on their travels, and they usually donate them to the library.  We have a shelf in their department where they leave books for us to collect and catalogue, today there is only one, a V&A publication on Jingdezhen porcelain.

The second tour of the day is conducted by the head librarian, but I have to duck out early in order to make it up to Cardiff University's SCOLAR (special collections and archives) department for my guided tour.  When I arrive at SCOLAR, I get the opportunity to check out the latest exhibition they have put on in the foyer.  A selection of students were each given a display case to exhibit items from the special collections that illustrate their chosen theme.  It was a wonderful example of how you could showcase your 'treasures' in different ways, and the various ways books could be interpreted depending on how they were grouped together. 

Also out in the foyer is Cardiff University's Turning the Pages kiosk, a massive thing which must be incredibly difficult to move, on it students can view ten items from the collections that have been digitised.  Going through to the main area, I see a few researchers hard at work in the reading room, before we duck in to the closed stacks to see shelf upon shelf of books and archival material that staff are working through. 

Items from the Cardiff Rare Books collection at SCOLAR, Cardiff University

The largest project that the SCOLAR team are working on is the collection of over 14,000 items that make up the Cardiff Rare Books collection.  The collection was acquired back in 2010, and although work began on cataloguing it immediately, only a fraction of it's potential as a research tool has been explored yet.  The collection includes many rare and unique items, including 175 incunabula (pre-1501 printed books), Shakespearean material and a wide selection of private press material.  I spent most of my visit oohing and aahing at all the amazing books, and feeling very jealous of what an amazing experience cataloguing that collection must be!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Library Day in the Life #8, part 2

The second of my Library Day in the Life days begins with a meeting of the CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) Staff Development Group at one of the Cardiff University buildings.  Although I've been involved with CLIC for a while I've only just joined the Staff Development Group, and this is the first meeting I've attended.  We discuss the upcoming library tours that have been arranged to celebrate National Libraries Day, and the next scheduled CLIC event focusing on marketing.

I don't get back to the office till late afternoon to discover that the printer wasn’t working, and we had to wait for an engineer to come out and fix it.  This creates a bit of a nightmare as we need to print out all our library leaflets and drop them off for tomorrows display.  Thankfully we managed to find someone in another department willing to do the printing for us.

Before I head off to lunch I deal with a query from a member of staff who wanted me to perform a search for a book title on our catalogue.  We are currently waiting for an upgrade to our system, until it is completed user searching is not as accurate as we would like, so staff often ask us to search on their behalf.

The leaflet designed to promote the library,
the Welsh translation is on the reverse

After lunch we pop across to the Welsh Assembly Government building to drop off a poster and the leaflets for the National Libraries Day display.

When I return I discuss with my boss some of the items we will put out on display for the library tours the next day and work on what I am going to say in my introduction. I also email everyone attending the tours to confirm the arrangements for when they arrive.  Finally, I email any staff whose work areas the tours will be passing through so that they are not suddenly surprised to see a load of visitors outside their offices.

I head home feeling that somehow the day has flown past before I had enough time to get everything done.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Library Day in the Life #8, part 1

I took part in Library Day in the Life round 7 last July, which I used as an opportunity to provide an insight in to my job in the library at the National Museum Wales.  I decided to take part again this year because I think that working in a museum library can be varied enough that there shouldn't be too much repetition. 

I only work at the museum three days a week, so I don't start the project till the Wednesday.  I’m running a little late this morning, and it’s 8.50 before I get in.  There's just time for me to say a quick hello to the Head Librarian before he heads off to one of our other sites for the morning. 

My workspace in the library

I start by going through my emails, checking what needs doing.  The most urgent to require my attention include;
-Updating the subscription details for the auction catalogues we receive from Bonhams.  We take sale catalogues for a number of auction houses, but only for certain sales.  We need to regularly check that we are receiving all the catalogues as if we miss one it can be tricky getting a replacement, they only print so many at a time.
-Going through the final edit of our new library leaflet which has come back from the translation and publications team.  As part of National Libraries Day we are contributing to a display celebrating libraries in the foyer of one of the Welsh Assembly Government buildings.  We haven't produced much in the way of promotional material for the library in the past, so we feel very proud of our new leaflet.
-Attempting to reinstall a printer to my computer (with partial success, primarily my own fault). 
-Answering a query that came through via our website from a man trying to research a member of his family.  We were not able to help, but I passed him the details of someone I thought might.  We often get queries from people researching local or family history, but in those instances we find that the records office and local history section of the public library are better sources of information.

By the time break-time comes around I'm very much ready for my caffeine fix down in the museum restaurant.

When I head back up to the main library I do some shelving in the stacks which are freezing.  They are right up in the roof of the building and tend to reflect whatever the weather is like outside, very hot in summer, very cold in winter, today it feels like stepping into an icebox.  I hurry back to my spot next to my heater as soon as I can. 

After lunch we had an email from one of our curators trying to trace the reports of Scott’s National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04, that we had received back in 1913.  Had a dig about on our folio shelves and finally found them, the shelves were triple stacked with big hefty folio volumes, and the reports I wanted would be the ones right at the back, typical!

Because we are relatively quiet today I decide to get on with some cataloguing. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t really had time to do any, and the next two days will be busy, so I doubt I’ll have time to get any done then either. I'm focusing on books for the Industry library at the moment, and am currently working my way through a pile of Mines and Quarries reports from the early 20th century.

I finish up my day by looking through some of the posts other people have been writing for Library Day in the Life project.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

CLIC Social Media Event: CPD23: Learning about tools for professional development

The final presentation was by Karen Pierce (@Darklecat) on CPD23, also known as 23 Things for Professional Development, and she also used a Prezi.

She started by introducing the course and the benefits that taking part in it could provide.  She stressed that as it was an online course, which you work through independently, everyone goes at their own pace.
23 Things for Professional Development, also known as cpd23, is a self-directed, self-paced, inclusive, practical and free online programme open to librarians and information professionals at all stages of their career, in any type of role, any sector, and from any part of the world.  It encourages information professionals to explore and discover social media 'Things', including Twitter, RSS feeds and file-sharing, as well as other 'traditional' CPD routes, such as gaining qualifications, presenting skills and getting published.  Participants will be asked to assess how each Thing can assist them in their professional development, and then to blog about each Thing and share their thoughts, views and expertise.  The programme is completely informal and no prior knowledge or experience is expected or assumed.
It was advertised to start in June 2011 and run throughout the summer, ending in October/November, but as it was an independent course new people could enroll at any point during the course.  At one point there were over 787 people taking part.

In order to take part students had to set up their own blogs (or use an existing one) to record their progress.  Karen said she decided to go with Wordpress rather than the recommended Blogger to set up her's as it seemed a little more user-friendly.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of taking part in CPD23 was checking other people’s blogs.  Because there were so many participants Karen's method of deciding which to look at was to narrow it down to other cataloguers, people based in Wales or any with intriguing blog titles.

Some of Karen's highlights from the course included;
Thing 3 (which Emma also mentioned in her talk) which looked at branding (sounded off putting, but once you looked in to it actually made sense) and particularly the interconnectivity of all your online profiles.  It lead her to decide to choose an avatar picture of a woman reading that she'd seen on a Greek vase as it linked her library life to her previous role as an ancient historian.
Thing 4 which introduced Twitter, Karen mentioned finding Twitter very scary to begin with, but as she joined with loads of other CPD23 newbies that helped, and she found herself learning a lot about cake, knitting and kittens!

“Twitter is what you make of it”
Primarily she follows library people and library conferences, and has found it very useful for networking, as was demonstrated when part way through the course a CPD23 real life meet up took place at Milgis in Cardiff and led to its own hashtag #yurtup and some yurt up envy happening on Twitter.
Karen giving her presentation
Karen also pointed out that CPD23 is not just about new media but also about working on your continuing professional development in a number of areas.

As part of her presentation Karen discussed some of the pros and cons of taking part in the course;
Time - the biggest issue is finding time to fit it in around work/life, particularly during busy periods, so it's easy to slip behind
Lack of interest in some aspects – either because not all the 'things' were really applicable to her role as a cataloguer or because she was already happier using alternatives versions
Too much info - there were so many blogs and tweets to read, so much information to absorb about the 'things' that it was a bit of an overload
Setting up a blog and Twitter account
Making new contacts and networks
Gaining practice in reflective writing
Updating knowledge in a number of different areas
The encouragement you receive from others doing the course
Karen rounded up by listing her CPD23 goals for the future as;
-Maintaining her blog
-Going back over some of the 'things'
-Continuing her professional development

She ended by telling everyone that the CPD23 course was likely to run again in the New Year, and encouraged anyone who hadn't tried it before to 'have a go'.

CLIC Social Media Event: Cardiff University Virtual Librarian Service

The next presentation was from Andrew Blackmore, introducing the Cardiff University 'Ask a Librarian' service.

The service is open Monday – Friday, 9.00-5.00, and is staffed on a semi voluntary basis.  It allows students to participate in live webchats with members of library staff to answer any queries they have.  It is also possible for links to urls and file attachments to be sent through the system, and students have the option to email a transcript of the conversation to themselves for future reference.  Likewise staff are also able to keep conversation transcripts, and reading through each others has been a useful learning tool.  Staff also have the possibility to chat to each other through the system, and transfer calls if they feel they are not the best qualified to deal with a particular query.

“Librarians are heroes”
It had a soft launch back in September 2010, and results have shown it to be very promising.  99.1% of students queried found the service either useful or helpful, and if service wasn’t there 11% said would give up on their query.  They have even found they've been getting queries from students actually sitting in the library!

So far the feedback has primarily asked for longer hours and the service to be available over the weekend.  Goals for the future include, formalising the staffing arrangements and possibly extending the service hours.  Although they currently can only guaranteed availability 9.00-5.00, Monday – Friday, they do try to do extra if there is someone available.

Andrew then did a live Ask a Librarian demo for us, and everyone was very impressed with how quick the response time was!

He finished up his presentation by encouraging anyone interested in adding the service to their own library, that it was not too expensive to buy and that the code is very easy to embed.