Thursday, 28 October 2010

Not funny in the slightest. Nuhuh. Nope. *Chuckles*

Dear unknown patron,

Please desist from sticking hats and glasses onto the monkeys in the Primate Societies textbook. It's hilarious very wrong.

Best wishes,
The Graduate Trainee Librarian

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Library website features, show me what you've got!

In my last post I mentioned our library website getting a facelift. Since there was a big design change we wanted to get that live and make sure it worked before adding fancy features. In the future we're thinking to add some more features, in particular a search form for the Newton/LibrarySearch catalogues. I just wanted to throw it open to see what you especially like about your library website. I think "ask a librarian!" chat boxes can be a great feature, but for a library of our size (3 librarians) not practical. Making our New Acquisitions list an RSS feed is something I would find useful as a user, but then I'm not sure how many of our students would actually subscribe to it... I definitely want to get us on twitter and have a library blog and our librarian seems pretty receptive to that but the idea needs to be run past the Library Committee first. So hopefully before my trainee year is out you'll see us tweeting and blogging!

Patrons using the library computer in 1994, photo by Bill Dennison via Flickr

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Skip to the end if you're a sucker for a wedding...

First up a quick plug - my library's website has just been revamped:  I like the new design, a definite improvement on the old site. From now on I'll be the one editting it, I thought I would get to use my new found html skillz but nope, the admin interface uses Drupal so it's very easy to make changes and doesn't require any html knowledge at all!

Last Wednesday I went to a CLG meeting on the 23 Things project. I was meaning to write something about it but haven't got around to it, but Katie Birkwood has written an interesting post on one of the subjects that came up, online anonymity. A few people at the meeting voiced the opinion that they would rather people had blogged under their real names rather than under a pseudonym. Like I've said in my comment, I'm quite happy for my real name to be attached to what I'm writing, and I'd like people to be able to find me easily online, but I understand absolutely why people might prefer a bit (or a lot) of anonymity. Katie sums up the pros and cons very well so I guess I don't have to :)

I've had a very celebratory weekend. Today is my Mum's birthday, so a big internet Happy Birthday to you Mum! Yesterday was the big day when my friend Laura got married to the lovely Kit. The hen weekend seems like ages ago now, but the wedding day finally came around! The whole day was just so sweet and perfect, and they are a great couple. Congratulations again guys! I'll leave you with a picture of the very happy couple:

Saturday, 16 October 2010

University Library tour

Yesterday afternoon we had a break from giving induction tours to be given a tour ourselves, of the University Library. This was the first time we'd got together with the Anglia Ruskin trainees, but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to talk to them much because I had to rush off near the end (sorry guys!).

Our guide, Colin, seemed to know absolutely everything about the UL, and started off by giving us a quick history of the library. If I ever told you proudly that the UL has a copy of every book published in the UK then I'm sorry but I now have to correct that and proudly tell you that the UL has a copy of almost every book published in the UK, apparently when the legal deposit system was introduced, publishers didn't think that it was worth the effort to deposit all their academic titles, instead depositing their novels, many of which the UL took one look at these and said "oh no, thats rawther too vulgar for our students", and sold them! So there are gaps in the collection, but today they get a lorry-load of books delivered every week of everything printed in the UK and Ireland. As a result, the library is constantly being extended to make space for new materials.
I can't say the UL is the prettiest building I've seen, but it's certaintly impressive, and designed by the same architect that designed Battersea Power Station, and, bizarrely, the red phone box! It was big enough that I was pretty thoroughly disorientated by the time we'd gone down and up a few sets of stairs, but then again, I have barely any sense of direction!

Because of my phone playing up *mutters darkly* I missed the end of the tour to rush off to the O2 shop before it shut. I was sad to miss the trip up the tower, but should be able to see it later in the year with the CLG. Good news about my phone though, it's all parcelled up and sent off to be repaired, finally!

Tonight I'm off to Stansted Hall and Elsenham Cricket Club's dinner dance with Rory and his family, if the previous years are anything to go by, it'll be a very fun evening (and we may even win a gym set on the raffle again...)

Have a good weekend folks!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Things I never expected to do today, No. 1

Donning a surgical mask to hoover down a colleague covered in photocopier toner.

Today was definitely a Monday.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

...and the anthropomorphisation continues!

I received a mysterious parcel at work, with no sender's name or address, inside the parcel was a short fat plastic bottle with a a strange orange and white lid made out of spongy plastic. It took me a while to work out what it was, a thingy to moisten labels instead of licking them (I'd ordered one a week or so ago), but once it's purpose was decided upon, Jo moved onto the next most important decision.

"Looks like a Mrs Pepperpot to me!"

Thus the label moistener joins the growing cast of characters in our office, along with the old label moistener Mrs Goggins (named after the character in Postman Pat!) and the air con. unit Mr Slim (no idea about that one!)

The resemblance is uncanny!

In other news my html class clearly paid off, as this stunning bit of web wizardry proves:

(Note: for the benefit of Rosie and anyone else who may wonder, that is not my real CV...)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Brb, going on a spending spree, kthxbai.

Tomorrow we're having a book sale from 10am-4pm, with all proceeds going towards a travel scholarship. Bringing the books up from the basement stacks earlier today I've already been picking out the ones I'm going to try and snap up in my morning break if they haven't been sold already! Most things are going to be £1 or less, with some hardbacks £2, so if you're around Cambridge tomorrow get down to Newnham College Library and grab yourself a bargain!

In a spending spree of a different kind, I've been ordering medical textbooks today and spent over £1100... (to the more experienced librarians out there this is probably nothing to write home about but made my jaw drop when I saw the total!)

The students are back now, so the enquiry desk is a lot busier, and I'm spending about an hour a day reshelving the returned books instead of the 5 minutes a day it was before this week! We've been running library induction tours, we've done 7 so far, running them bucket-line style so Debbie shows them round the library then passes them on to Jo who shows them how to use the self issue machines, then on to me to give them a reader's ticket each.

I've got an 'Introduction to html' course on Thursday, 'Html - beyond the basics' next Tuesday then 'introduction to AACR2' next Friday, and if I've got any space in my brain to take in anything new after all that I get to go on a visit behind the scenes at the UL Friday afternoon :)

So here's to a busy couple of weeks, now if you'll excuse me I have an episode of House to watch!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

CILIP New Professionals Information Day 2010

There was so much to take in yesterday that I'm not going to attempt to cover everything, just going to give a quick round up of my impressions of the day!

First task was deciding what workshops to go to, the afternoon was a repeat of the morning which meant we could go to 4 out of the 6 that were available. Hopefully someone who went to the two that I didn't go can tell me about what I missed out on :D

The first thing I went to was the lovely Irfan Master talking about his non-conventional route into LIS in a workshop titled The No-Holds Barred Profession. Irfan seems to be a guy full of ideas, most of which are ways of getting libraries more involved in the local community, whether it's with local 6th form colleges, WI groups, working men's clubs or the Premier League (take a look at this video for Kick into Reading). Irfan's main message was for information profs to think in creative ways, as he put it, "don't think outside the box because there is no box."

Next I went to hear Ned Potter (@theREALwikiman) whose workshop was called TechnoGeek - All you need to know about libraries and technology. This was one of the highlights for me, not just because of the whizzy map and muffin giveaways ("I'm not going to resort to bribes...but there's cake in that bag."). I feel fairly technogeeky myself, but his talk reinforced the fact that we have to keep constantly reinforming ourselves about what technology is needed. One great tip was to get the job descriptions for both the next job you want to go for, and for the job you ultimately want to end up in, so you can plan ahead and gain the skills needed. Then he brought out the whizzy map showing all the roles in a library and a rough guide to the techy skillzorz needed for each. Edit: I've now embedded Ned's Prezi below. It was a relief to hear that Ned didn't know what a lot of the software/protocols/who knows what else was, as most of that was just acronyms to me! (Got a lot to learn...)

The keynote speakers came next, Phil Bradley (@Philbradley) and Maxine Miller. Both were great speakers in different ways. Phil's presentation Around the World Twice on a Library Degree gained my stamp of approval from the moment he said "now is the best time ever to be an information professional!" *click*
The reason now is such a good time to be an information prof is that we can, in Michael Caine's words, "use the difficulty". Phil said that libraries are about power, which comes from our reputation, which we now have to increase by giving away information rather than holding on to it, knowing how to arrange it etc. He then went on to talk about how much we need to stand out and self-market ourselves (ego-checking on google! I get an indie rocker and a picture of a boat...)

Maxine, despite not having learnt to touch-type, was an excellent speaker. She works at the Tate Britain (what a great job!) and her emphasis was on doing what you love, and learning from each experience. She joked that now she'd heard Phil's talk she now realised that it was the power that she actually was in love with, but that being a librarian is only a powerful position if we listen to our users and ask "how can we change it for you?" She made the good point that when we interact with people we help move them along, but also move ourselves along as we learn from the experience.

After all of this in the morning it was definitely time for lunch, which was a good chance to chat with some of the other new professionals. Librarians are such a friendly group of people! It was really helpful to chat to trainees at other universities, people who were in the middle of library degrees, people who'd finished library degrees recently, CILIP staff etc....

After lunch I headed off to hear Katie Fraser's (@katie_fraser) talk Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway - Working with people at all levels. I felt I definitely needed this talk! Katie talked about her experience working on CILIP's Defining our Professional Future project, where she was working in a mixed team, mostly with more experience than her, which would be a bit overwhelming for anyone! But as it turned out, as all the members of the team were librarians, all interested in the same things, and all willing to help each other out, it wasn't as scary as it seemed at first. In fact, although others had more experience with recruiting etc, Katie had more experience with social media, which was a big part of the project. She went on to the idea of 'the infinite activities of others', where it always seems that other people are doing a lot more than you are. She got us to turn round and talk to the people around us and tell them about the new things we've done in the last few months, starting new jobs, new projects, learning new skills etc. She ended by talking about the 'echo chamber' effect, where LIS professionals are excited about a new development, so we tell each other about it...whereas we should be telling people outside the profession as well! Probably only people really interested in LIS will have had the willpower to read this far down this post, so I guess that's true!

The final workshop I went to was Nicolas Robinson-Garcia (@nrobinsongarcia) who talked about The Global Profession - the overseas perspective. I have to admit I was flagging a bit by this point after getting up at the (for wussy little me) ungodly hour of quarter to six, but it was still really interesting to hear about how the LIS network works in Spain. I also learnt about the International Federation of Library Associations which I didn't know existed, despite (as I now know) being a member of it! Nicolas then explained about embedded librarians (again, didn't know anything about this) - librarians who work 'in the field' with their users instead of in a library, for instance in the lab with the chemists who need the information. This is pretty cool, and is apparently popular in Spain and we're just catching on.

Whew, I tired myself out all over again thinking about everything as I was typing this post! Hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did, and if you went to a workshop I missed out on please tell me all about it!