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.