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.

CLIC Social Media Event: Cardiff Public Library blog and use of Twitter

"Fear and loathing on the trail to Web 2.0"
Rob Boddy's look at Cardiff Public Libraries use of social media, with an interactive component!

Rob started by giving us a little background into how Cardiff Public Libraries started getting involved in social media.  Which basically seemed to be that Swansea Public Libraries were using it and Cardiff decided to join (and beat) them!
"A public library always wants more users"
Social media was seen as a good way to connect with the users.

What did you tell them Rob? - “This social media lark is a Good Thing”
After going on a social media course, and discovering that all the tools to create a blog were freely available on the web and very straightforward to use, they decided to push ahead.
What happened next Rob?
They set up a dummy blog and Twitter account.  Institutional blogs can be quite middle of the road and lack personality, so they wanted to try and inject more humanity into theirs.  It was decided to be non-traditional, keep things informal, lively and amusing so as to create more of an identity.

Cardiff Council were very supportive of the idea, as they had been championing using social media for some time.  But they were also nervous about them going “rogue”, so they had to agree to abide by the social media policy and branding policy.

The Page 35 blog is used to discuss "books, libraries and related silliness".  It also includes a Twitter feed and a Shelfari virtual bookshelf.  Posts cover topics ranging from; linking films to books, book related furniture, and the very popular Dewey charades.

“Twitter is easy but full of strangeness”
They use their Twitter account (@cdflibraries) for advertising events and emergency information, such as library closures, and informing users of new stock and new services.  Not always easy in just 140 characters!  They also use it for answering queries, and “almost anything else not illegal”, they currently have approximately 700 followers.

Rob's Twitter nestkeeping strategies include;
-It is always on in background
-Check hourly for mentions and once a day do an advanced search
-Direct message all new followers a welcome, only people though, not organisations
"Web 2.0 blues – why so sad Rob?"
Some of the limits that Rob pointed out were;
The numbers – only 11% of  the UK population are on Twitter
Capacity – it can be very time consuming

“The guilt, the guilt, the terrible, terrible guilt”
Should I really be doing this?
Is it really part of my job?

Rob ended by pointing out that Cardiff Public Libraries social media involvement has been successful and can be seen as a worthwhile endeavour.

CLIC Social Media Event: How Cardiff University are managing their social media presence

Matt  Harvey discussed the number of ways Cardiff University Library Service were using social media with a very swish Prezi that you can see here.  

Cardiff University has a number of different online presences both internal (VLE, Portal) and external (web, blog, Twitter, Facebook).  Some of the Library's external sources include;
Web pages
Ask a librarian live
Library blog
Training videos on YouTube

The Library Technology Group was set up to look at new technologies and how they can be used by the library.  That lead to setting up the Social Media Group, which is made up not just of library staff, but is inter-departmental.  As part of that the Editorial Group sorts the day to day social media stuff, such as liaising with site managers and bloggers.

The core audience for their online activities are the students, but the general public, NHS users, alumni, distance and life long learners also benefit.

Although each library branch already had its own Twitter account, they decided there was also a need for a general one too.  When setting up that account there was a lot of discussion about what type of avatar to use, they decided to go with a professional picture, rather than using text or a logo.

The kinds of things @cardiffunilib tends to tweet about include;
Opening hours
Changes and disruptions to services
Promoting services
Emergency announcements, such as bad weather
Promoting information literacy and skills
Some external news, limited to what's relevant to the students

Specific information tends to be the domain of the various departmental social media tools, and staff notices are disseminated through the staff intranet and Portal.
@cardiffunilib has also created Twitter lists that it feels will be useful to their followers. Some of these lists include;
-Cardiff University departmental libraries
-Cardiff University schools and admin departments
-Bodies like UCAS, e-resources suppliers, funding bodies
-Cardiff Central Library, National Museum Wales, Chapter Arts Centre

They tend not to follow the accounts of students, as it might be considered invasive.  And although they follow the accounts of the various departmental libraries, they don't follow the individual librarians.

They also use Twitter as a form of two way communication with the students and to gain feedback, for example using the #yousaidwedid hashtag.

They have only recently started to use Facebook; they've set up their own Facebook page and are able to use it to organise events which students can RSVP to.

Finally, Matt ended by pointing out that all this activity on social media sites can be a good way to record things that the library is involved in.

CLIC Social Media Event: Using social media at Glamorgan Business School

"How I use social media for networking, current awareness and marketing: supporting staff and students in Glamorgan Business School"

The second of the 30 minute presentations was from Emma Harrison (@glambuslib) about how social media helps her connect with and meet the needs of students at Glamorgan Business School, and included a live Twitter feed (very brave, it is usually during presentations that technology decides to no longer cooperate)

She started with an introduction in to using Twitter for professional reasons.  She pointed out that Twitter helped her with her new job (she's been in the role 15 months) filling in gaps in her knowledge and boosting current awareness.  This was well illustrated as tweets started popping up in her timeline reporting the result of the #savelibraries High Court Appeal.

“What you get out of twitter is who you follow"
She described how she follows over 1,000 people on Twitter, including, librarians, news sites and staff and students at the University of Glamorgan.  As well as creating personal lists, such as a Welsh librarians list and one featuring members of the Business Librarians Association, she also created lists relevant to the subjects taught in Glamorgan Business School, such as marketing or management.

Emma recommends Twitter as a great way to share what you are doing as well as to keep up with what others are doing.
Whilst doing the CPD23 course (discussed later by Karen) she began to think of how she was coming across on Twitter. Her decision was to try to keep it professional and related to business, but also to show she is a human being.  This included looking at the language she used and the style, no text speak, staying professional, and not swearing.  The photo used for her Twitter avatar was taken by a professional photographer (all the librarians at Glamorgan had them done) and is used consistently in any promotional material produced by the University.

She decided to her username would be @glambuslib rather than something more personal so that if she moves on her replacement can keep the account.  This provides consistency for the students.
Emma also discussed how Twitter can be used to help create feelings of community, for example the #latenightlibrarian hashtag is used by librarians working on late night shifts when talking to each other.

She then went on to discuss the other social media tools she uses for work, including;

She also pointed out that although she has a Facebook account she prefers to keep that solely for personal use.

She has a Twitter feed on her LinkedIn account as it makes it seem like she's busier on it than she actually is.
She can use LinkedIn to connect with staff not on Twitter about what she's been doing for the Business School. 

“Reaching far more staff than if sitting in the library waiting for them to ask questions”
The blog allows Emma to post information, rather than emailing it all to staff , instead she can just email them a link to the relevant post and if they are interested they can click the link to learn more but if not just delete it, which saves having to read through long emails that are not of interest.  The blog can also be used as a knowledge bank.  It's a great time saver, for example in dealing with repeat queries, it's possible to send a link to a previous blog post rather than have to write it out again.  Her Twitter feed is also linked to the blog.

Net vibes is used as a repository for subject guides for students with links to resources and information.  They are subject specific, for example, HR management.  They retain the consistency of design, used in other social media tools, professional picture etc. with links to Twitter feed and blog.  Emma uses lists to createTwitter feeds that are subject specific.

She believes that all these social media tools can help with breaking out of the echo chamber.
"Librarians suffer from people not really knowing what we do – using stuff like this (social media) can show what we do".

It can also be helpful to share and connect with the library community, you can compare and share best practice etc

Some of the questions that came up were concerns about having to follow loads of people but Emma pointed out that you don’t have to follow all the ‘list’ people.

The other main concern was how to find the time to fit in all the social media activity.  Emma pointed out that Twitter activity didn't take very long.  It is true that setting everything up can take a while, but once it is up and running it tends to take care of itself.

CLIC Social Media event: Using social media for personal and professional development

Mandy Powell (@Minimorticia) kicked things off with a presentation on how she uses social media for personal and professional development. 

She began by introducing herself and what her role as the Policy Officer for CILIP Cymru Wales tends to involve.  She also mentioned that their next conference will be held in Cardiff in May 2012!
Mandy discussed some of the ways using Twitter helps her, such as allowing her to;
Connect with the wider community
Keep up to date quickly, with no need to wait for write ups of news stories
Contribute to the debate, such as the #savelibraries campaign
Add other peoples conferences notes to her own
Interact remotely and ask questions

“a conference is not a conference without a hashtag”
Other advantages to Twitter that she pointed out were how much more successful for gaining comments and feedback after events it was than traditional feedback forms.  She also pointed out that Twitter helped with putting conferences together.

Hashtags that Mandy recommended checking out included;
She mentioned that anyone new to using social media, and who might like to benefit from some help and advice could check out the Social Media Surgeries  who run regular free training sessions in the Roath, Adamsdown, Llandaff and Canton areas of Cardiff.
Mandy went on to talk about how Twitter can not only be used for professional development, but also can have a more direct impact on your work life.  She spoke about how useful Twitter is to show heads of departments or council members what you are doing rather than having to wait to do reports and make appointments to be seen, there is an immediacy to it.  It can also help lone workers who miss the chatter you get in an office environment.
She finished up with discussing some of the issues that need to be considered when using Twitter, such as;
Hardware, whether you will have getting access to it
How to strike that professional/personal balance
Being conscious of how you come across, not swearing etc.
Convincing the boss that it is worthwhile and not just time-wasting