Sunday, 30 January 2011

What I've been reading in January (non-library)

Lest you think I only read things about libraries, here's what else I've been reading this month. (Don't you love it when you can use the word "lest" in a sentence? Actually I think that's the first time I ever have.) A lot of the books I read are usually books I've read before and am rereading for the second or twenty second time. This month, mostly because of getting lots of lovely books for Christmas, I only read new books.

Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections. I'd heard good things about this book, but I didn't enjoy this as much as I wanted to, mainly because I didn't find any of the characters likeable (I know this was probably the point).

Jostein Gaarder, Sophie's World. A nice book that introduces philosophers and their ideas in a way that's very readable. I read Gaarder's Through a Glass, Darkly years ago, which was also very good.

P.D. James, Children of Men. The first e-book I've borrowed from the library! And a very good choice it turned out to be - thought-provoking and a real pageturner. Turns out the film (which I watched first) changed a lot of the story, but both are great in my opinion!

Mrs Stephen Fry, Mrs Fry's Diary. Very funny, very silly, and now I won't watch QI in the same way ever again!

Peter Straub, Shadowland. I thought I'd give this a try as I'd previously read Straub and King's collaborations, The Talisman and Black House, with Black House being one of my favourite books. I'm a big fan of Stephen King but I hadn't read anything by Straub before. I enjoyed the start when they were at school, but as Tom started having visions and it all got more supernatural I got a bit confused. (I mostly like fantasy/supernatural stuff.) It did pick up again, and I think maybe worth a re-read at some point.

Michael Macintyre, Live and Laughing. Say what you want about Michael Macintyre being the kind of comedian that grannys like, I think he's hilahrious :) This was another e-book I've read on my phone, I liked having something on there that I could dip in and out of without worrying I'd forget what was going on if I didn't read for a while.

J.M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy. Another e-book. I'd of course seen the Disney film of Peter Pan, but never read the book. I suppose I read quite a lot of "children's" stories, but I'd be sad if the day came when I stopped enjoying them!

'Old books' on stock.xchng      

Friday, 28 January 2011

Library Day in the Life - End of the Week

This is my final blog post for the Library Day in the Life project. (My other posts: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday)

I didn't have time to write a post yesterday as after work I went out for dinner with some librarian friends, and then we went to see two of the other trainees who were performing in a dance show at the ADC.

We had our weekly staff meeting this morning where we talk through the week ahead. The next two weeks for us will be largely taken up with planning and setting up for the Literary Archive Launch event which is happening in two weekends' time. We will be creating displays of books by Newnham authors, along with the manuscripts, letters, photographs and other materials donated by the authors, many of who will be attending the event. Quite exciting for me!

Apart from that, yesterday and today I've been doing a lot of book processing (the latest batch of journals has just come back from the binders, and need to be labelled up so that they can go out onto the shelves), and carrying on with my music cataloguing (I'm onto opera scores now!). This afternoon I gave another induction tour to a PhD student. This was a bit of a learning experience for me as well as for her because she had some questions about the college system in Cambridge as well as about the library. I was able to answer most of her questions - how many colleges are all-women colleges (3 - Newnham, Murray Edwards and Lucy Cavendish), are there any all-male colleges (not anymore) - but to her question "how many colleges are there altogether?", shamefully I was only able to say "erm...well it's thirty something..."! However after her tour I was able to look up the university's page on the collegiate system, and emailed her the link. (It's 31 colleges, but probably everybody else already knew that!)

This week has been pretty representative of what I do when I'm in the office (which is most of the time). Being a graduate trainee, I get to go off and visit other libraries, in Cambridge and farther afield. Yesterday we received more details on our upcoming trip to London. We'll be visiting the Guildhall Library in the morning, and then the library at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in the afternoon, and I'm sure I'll blog about that trip when the time comes!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Library Day in the Life - Wednesday

This week I'm posting each day as part of Bobbi Newman's Library Day in the Life project. Monday's post can be found here, and Tuesday's post here.

This lunchtime I went to a presentation at the University Library on the subject of 'Social Networking Tools for Libraries'. The speaker was Dr Sam Chu, Deputy Director of the Centre for Information Technology in Education at the University of Hong Kong. (And he's written a children's story book about hamsters!) This talk was very timely for us, as we've just launched our library Twitter page :)

Dr Chu first ran through some existing research on social networking tools and libraries. From research done in 2008 and 2009 the main points were the fact that students weren't too keen to communicate with professors or parents via social networking (something I think most people would agree with!), and the challenge involved in getting library users to treat librarians as friends.

Dr Chu's own research involved a survey of 140 universities - 70 in Asia and 70 of similar ranking in the West. The survey asked about which social networking tools the library was using, what they used them for, how long they had been using them, benefits or difficulties found, and the level of training given to staff.

Rather surprisingly (I thought) only 38 libraries responded out of the 140. Of these, 71.1% were using social networking tools, and the ones that were using them were fairly evenly split between Asia and the West. Unsurprisingly, Twitter and Facebook were most common, but others being mentioned included blogs, delicious, flickr, slideshare, and wikis.

Another question asked whether staff received training in the social networking tools the library used. 61.5% received training - as Dr Chu went on to say, staff members will need training if they don't already use these tools for personal use, but those who do already use them may well need some extra training, as they might have the basics down very well but be missing out on useful extra features they didn't already know about.

Another result I found surprising - only six respondents said that they would welcome any new tools that would be useful to the library to promote and enhance services. Only six?!
 Apart from that presentation, my day was fairly normal. I did quite a bit of book processing, and I made some posters to spread the word of our Twitter page, using my first QR codes in a library setting. As well as the one in the picture below which is on the front doors to the library, I've put them up next to the catalogue terminals, and above the printer.

Tomorrow I will be out all evening so I'll probably do one post on Friday to sum it all up.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Library Day in the Life - Tuesday

This is my second post for Library Day in the Life, my one for yesterday can be found here. I really enjoyed reading other people's posts last night, especially those from students studying for their Masters degree! (I'm taking notes...)

Apart from the morning routine of emptying the bookdrops and reshelving the books (which I do every day), today was quite different from yesterday. This was mainly because it was the day of our Library Committee meeting. We have a Library Committee made up of the librarian, several members of the college teaching staff, and two students. In the meeting the discussion included the main University Library's (relatively) recent change of allowing all undergraduates to borrow books. (Before September, only 3rd year undergraduates and above were allowed to take books out - I think! I wasn't working here then.) There has been a mixed reaction to this, naturally the undergraduates are happy to be able to borrow from the UL, while other students are feeling the knock on effects of the books being out on loan more often. We're going to add a question on this to our annual library survey to get more feedback from students.

Another item on the agenda was a proposal that I had put forward, to create a Twitter account for the library so that we could interact with our students in a more informal way, bringing library news to them rather than them having to go and check our library website to find out what's going on. I was expecting to have to argue my case a bit, but was very happy to find that both the student reps were very enthusiastic and positive about it, and the staff all were happy to give it a try! So as of this afternoon, @NewnhamLibrary is now on Twitter :)

'Lion' by safari-partners on Flickr
For the rest of the afternoon I tried to catch up on some of the book processing which has been building up - there's still a lot left to do! I also catalogued a few more bits of sheet music, including the wonderful poems Four Cautionary Tales, and a Moral by Hilaire Belloc, set to music by Liza Lehmann. I remember a couple of these poems from a tape we had when I was little. There is 'Rebecca (who slammed doors for fun and perished miserably)', 'Jim (who ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a lion)', 'Matilda (who told lies, and was burnt to death)', 'Henry King (who chewed little bits of string and was early cut off in dreadful agonies)', and the highly moral goody-two-shoes 'Charles Augustus Fortescue (who always did what was right, and so accumulated an immense fortune)'. That's the kind of poetry I like guys!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Library Day in the Life - Monday

This year I decided to take part in Bobbi Newman's Library Day in the Life project. I read quite a few of the previous round's posts in July, but didn't take part, mainly because I wasn't working in a library then :P

But now I am! I'm the Library Graduate Trainee at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. I decided to do a post each day this week, as I don't really have a typical day. Having said that, today was as much a typical day as I could have hoped to get, so here's what I did today:

8.50 - get to work, turn lights on, start to empty bookdrop, 2 girls come and tell me that over the weekend one printer ran out of toner and the other ran out of paper, argh!
9.00 - have replaced toner and Jo has replaced paper. Resume emptying bookdrops!
9.20 - put through manual loans (after deciphering handwriting), discharge all returned books (2 trolleys' worth)
9.50 - start reshelving books and tidying desks as I go
11.00 - finish reshelving, to my desk and reply to a couple of emails, got a couple of notes on my desk from Debbie and Jo.
11.05 - a student is looking for a book we don't have, all of the UL's copies are out, none in the faculty library. Given her a book recommendation form, we can probably buy it.
11.20 - morning tea break :)
11.35 - a bit more tidying of desks, messy students!
11.50 - go down to closed stack and bring up next batch of music to catalogue (which is my little project for the year)
11.55 - cataloguing - piano duets.
12.10 - printer needs the toner waste tray replacing, Debbie does it. (Wary of this job ever since the tonersplosion...)
12.20 - "do we get weekend newspapers?" No sorry :(
12.21 - "can the library buy this book? Really need it!"
12.40 - booked my place on (lib)TeachMeet2 :D
13.00 - time for my BUTTLUNCH (the unfortunate contraction of buttery lunch that appears on the menus emailed round each morning!). I'd nearly finished cataloguing the piano duets, only one left which I'll do after lunch.
14.00 - back from lunch, back to cataloguing, finish off last piano duet (D'Ourville, Chant des Chasseurs) and begin orchestral scores (starting with Beethoven's 'Eroica' Symphony).
14.05 - help a student having trouble with the self-issue terminal
14.40 - "what password do I need to login to the computers in the Wolfson Room?"
15.10 - "can I pay my fine now?"
15.11 - show a student how to use the printer
15.15 - "I have some book recommendations, actually a lot of recommendations...I've put them in order of how important they are!" *hands me a wodge*
15.16 - look up her recommendations on Dawsons, print out the details of each book and staple the recommendation slips to the Dawsons pages.
15.25 - issue 3 DVDs
15.45 - help a student with the catalogue terminals
15.50 - set up the group study room for a group coming at 16.30, they need projector set up
16.25 - group arrives to use the group study room, they are holding a video conference with some other students
16.30 - 2 students arrive for their library induction tour. (We did group inductions in September, but some new students have joined the college this term, we've been mostly doing their tours individually).
16.50 - finish the induction, activate their cards so that they can access the library outside of staff hours
16.55 - start reading stuff Debbie has found for me on cataloguing bound-withs (I'd come across my first one earlier in the afternoon - a book of Beethoven violin sonatas with some extra odds and ends bound together with it!).
17.00 - start to catalogue my weird collection of Beethoven stuff
17.28 - finish the bound-withs! Just in time to go home :)

For the rest of the week I think I'll just do a quick post rather than the whole shebang. Some interesting things coming up this week, Library Committee meeting tomorrow (my first), and a lunchtime talk on social networking tools for librarians on Wednesday. Looking forward to reading other people's day-in-the-lifes!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

What I've been reading in January

Here are the most interesting library-related things I've been reading this month. A lot of these came from people linking to them on twitter, so thanks everyone for sharing the good stuff!

The Wikiman, Blogs Still Work, and other Stuff I Learnt in 2010

The Chronicle of Higher Education, Death by Irony: How Librarians Killed the Academic Library (Interesting...)

BBC, Tech in 2011: Who Knows What's Next?

Allan's Library, Super-Connectors?

Andy Burkhardt, Don't Make It Easy For Them

Girl in the Moon, Together We're Better: Libraries@Cambridge 2011  

The  Wikiman, Libraries at Cambridge Event

Inside Higher Ed, Undergraduates and E-Books: a  Marriage Made with a Shotgun

The Guardian, Library clears its shelves in protest at closure threat 

Use Libraries and Learn Stuff, UK Public Library Closure News 

Associated Press, Review: Library e-books easier, but still hassle 

Mary Hoffman, Libraries again - the Oxford Movement 

Phil Bradley, Library Bumperstickers

Librarian by Day, Top Ten Links 2.3: All About eBooks

And finally, this has nothing to do with libraries but is insanely cute:
Ashley Baccam, Children's Letters to Hogwarts

'Leyundo un libro' by dottur maku on Flickr

Friday, 14 January 2011

How a library is like a hairdressers.

I went to get my hair cut yesterday. The conversation between the woman sitting behind me and the guy cutting her hair caught my attention at first because she said something about wanting to get her hair cut into a diamond shape and I was intruiged! (No no, said the hairdresser, that would not look good on you.) I still don't know how one would do that to their hair...

But anyway, I carried on listening to their conversation (Todd and I had gone through all of the usual haircut conversation topics). The woman started talking about her business and how she needed to make savings, maybe she would need to lay some people off. The hairdresser, who was the owner of the salon, said that he couldn't afford to get rid of any staff, because he knew in a year or so he'd need to hire them back again, they'd have gone onto other jobs, and that it took 3 to 4 years to train up a stylist from scratch. He said something along the lines of "If I start getting rid of my stylists, I may as well just close up today."

Today I was thinking about this again, and thinking that libraries were just the same. You want to save money so you shut a library. The staff with their years of experience will go into different jobs (probably a lot of them will end up doing something other than library work ) and some of the books will be taken by nearby libraries but most will probably be sold. The building will be taken over by something else. Then it's going to be almost impossible to reopen a library there in the future without spending an awful lot of money. So councils, be like the hairdresser, stop taking such a short-term view and see the bigger picture!

(By the way, very happy with new hair!)

Yes, those are my polka dot PJs. Yes, that's my washing.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Libraries@Cambridge 2011 - Graduate Trainees' presentation

Following on from Thursday's post about the Libraries@Cambridge conference, here are the slides for the trainees' part of the afternoon session. Edit: Since I posted these up on SlideShare last night, this morning we are now a featured presentation on SlideShare's front page! Yay <3

Libraries@Cambridge 2011 - Graduate Trainees' presentation
View more presentations from Annie Johnson.

Most of our slides are images rather than text so here's the script:

Becky's section:
Good afternoon everyone. On behalf of the seven graduate trainees  here at Cambridge University, we would like to give you an overview of the graduate trainee scheme, the opportunities it offers and how the trainees contribute, not only to the libraries in which they work but to Cambridge libraries in general. Firstly allow me to introduce the trainees - I work at the Faculty of Classics, we have Erin from St John's, Charlotte from Christ's and Tom from Trinity, and our colleagues Annie from Newnham, Jen from Murray Edwards and Natalie from Emmanuel are here today too.

Spanning seven College and Faculty libraries, collaboration across libraries of different sizes and foci is key to our learning trajectory throughout the year we spend in Cambridge. Whilst a large part of our time is spent working in our own libraries, we regularly convene for training courses, for collaborative projects such as this presentation or the trainee-run CATALOG website, which Tom will later go to explain, or for tours and visits to other libraries within and without Cambridge. We have recently visited the MRC Library of Molecular Biology, the Medical Library and the Millennium and Cathedral libraries in Norwich. As a result, we can observe different styles of information collection and provision at a range of different institutions – an experience which, apart from at events such as Open Cambridge, is not often available to most full-time librarians. As Erin will go on to explain, these opportunities allow us to feedback to our own libraries with new ideas and suggestions and to encourage new ways of thinking, personally and professionally, thereby enhancing our own professional development whilst giving back to Cambridge libraries. Erin will now look deeper into what it means to employ a graduate library trainee.
Erin's section 1:
Each year a new batch of trainees arrives in Cambridge libraries. They tend to be fresh out of university and untrained in the library sector. You would be right to think that this is extra work for our librarians as they have to go through the hiring process every year and then train us up. On top of this, the visits and tours, which we go on, mean that we are often out of our libraries for an afternoon or a day. So, I hear you say, what benefits do our libraries get out of us?
One of the main benefits mentioned by our librarians when questioned about the graduate trainee scheme is our enthusiasm. As Sandy Paul at Trinity said, trainees contribute "Enthusiasm, new ideas, someone who might question the way we do things and make us question our procedures." New trainees are eager and quick to learn, and, as the trainee year is intended as preparation for a masters degree, the trainees are focused on a career in the libraries and information services. Having only recently graduated, we are a lot closer to the student experience than other library staff and can provide a different perspective, focused more on what it is like to be on the other side of the issue desk.
The trainee programme of visits and tours around other libraries also has a lot of benefits. As we see how other libraries do things we can see what works and what doesn’t, and bring back ideas to out own libraries. On a recent trip to the English faculty, for example, I saw the benefits of the informal use of the plasma screen and have since begun to display interesting quotations from old Johnians on St John’s plasma screen, which engages students and hopefully encourages them to read the more important notices that follow in the slideshow! The sharing of expertise and experience is paramount in the ever expanding world of information management and, as the ucam_lib_discuss e-mail list demonstrates, it is in this way that the libraries of Cambridge can move forward in a unified and informed manner.
Tom is going to tell us about the trainee website, which is one of the ways in which the trainees work together and share experiences with the aim of helping those thinking about embarking on this career path.
Tom's section:
A good example of how the Cambridge trainees engage in collaborative work is the CATALOG website, which the trainees are jointly responsible for maintaining and updating. One of the main purposes of this website is to offer information about the graduate trainee scheme to prospective trainees who are looking to pursue librarianship as a career.
The website includes information for applicants about the different posts available within Cambridge libraries, including detailed job descriptions which give applicants an insight into the different work experiences offered by each library. There is also useful information on finding accommodation within Cambridge and what it is like to live in the city.
The website charts the experiences of each year’s intake of trainees, and as the current trainees we are responsible for writing reports on the various training courses and library visits which are included as part of the programme.
The website also gives advice on career development following the completion of a trainee placement. Information is provided on how to apply for library school and former trainees have also posted descriptions of their interview experiences at various different institutions. There is also advice on applying for funding and career development loans in order to finance a Masters degree.
The website gives details of the various career paths that trainees may pursue upon completion of their postgraduate qualification and provides some information on gaining chartered status with CILIP as a means of continuing with career development. There is also a page of well-maintained links which directs users to further information relating to careers in librarianship.
The overall aim of the CATALOG website is to encourage interest and enthusiasm for career opportunities within libraries and information services and to promote awareness of the variety of work which is available within this field. The management and maintenance of this website also gives the Cambridge trainees a unique opportunity to engage in collaborative work while at the same time championing information professionals and the diverse array of work which they do.
Erin's section 2:
We have shown how the trainees are involved across colleges and faculties and profit from working together but rather than just telling you about how beneficial we are to our libraries, we have asked our librarians why they employ graduate trainees and what profit they get from us. We got a fantastic response so unfortunately we can’t read them all out here.
The Library is blessed with a succession of keen, bright people bringing new ideas and new insights to bear on the operation. (Mark Nicholls, St John’s)
Established staff need to re-train regularly to keep a service relevant and useful and maintain their own professional expertise. Having a library trainee each year helps us keep pace with developments, by encouraging us to consider, and take advantage of, training programmes and opportunities on offer throughout each year. (Debbie Hodder, Newnham)
But of course we are not going to pretend that we get nothing out of this! A graduate traineeship at Cambridge gives us one of the best possible starts to our career, and as Charlotte will show you, graduate trainees from previous years have gone on to impressive positions in the library and information sectors.
Charlotte's section:
The graduate trainee scheme evidently encourages people to continue and progress in the world of library and information work as most trainees go on to study for a postgraduate qualification in librarianship. Out of 57 trainees whose destinations we know about, 49 stayed in the field of library work (some of them working towards Chartership), and 19 of them either stayed in or came back to Cambridge. This last statistic shows that trainees continue to be of benefit to Cambridge once they move up the career ladder. Inevitably a few trainees decide that library work is not the right career for them, but the skills and knowledge gained from the trainee year are beneficial to those who move in a new direction. For those who decide to stay in the world of libraries, however, a graduate traineeship at Cambridge proves to be the enjoyable first step of an interesting and progressive career in the sector.
I would now like to give you some examples of trainees from the last few years who have progressed to important positions in Cambridge libraries. Their biographies, and those of many others, may be found on the CATALOG website. Naomi Herbert, the trainee at St John’s 2006-7, became the Librarian’s Assistant there and studied for an Msc at Aberystwyth. She is now the Assistant Librarian at Christ’s College and has recently been Acting College Librarian. Colin Higgins, trainee at Christ’s 2006-7, also studied at Aberystwyth. He is now Librarian of St Catharine’s College and also writes for a range of library publications. Liz Osman, trainee at Trinity 2004-5, did her MA in librarianship at Sheffield, was acting librarian at Henley management college, and is now the librarian of Homerton College. These are impressive achievements from people who are proud to have been Cambridge trainees.
We are all really enjoying our traineeships so far, and realize the value of having this experience as we embark on careers in librarianship. We hope that this presentation shows you some of the ways how we work together as a group and with the rest of the libraries in Cambridge.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Libraries@Cambridge 2011

Today I was at the Libraries@Cambridge conference, and had such a good day hearing from loads of great projects, groups and individuals. I was planning to tweet during the conference but kept getting error messages bah! So I settled for good old pen and paper instead. There were quite a few other people tweeting though, and they were using the hashtag #lac11. There were far too many people giving fantastic presentations to talk about them all in much detail or else this would be miles long! (I'll probably do another post at some point about the Graduate Trainees' presentation because that was a really good experience being involved in that - even though I wasn't one of the brave souls getting up to speak!)

First up was Alex Wade from Microsoft, talking about opportunities for libraries and the changing scholarly communication landscape. He talked about the fact that scholarly communication is moving away from static summaries (e.g. research papers) to information vehicles and new, dynamic and interactive ways of presenting scientific articles online. He quoted Jim Gray's call to action for libraries in the book The Fourth Paradigm, which can be downloaded as a free pdf here. Gray calls for the establishment of digital libraries and the funding of development of new authoring tools and publication models. Alex went on to show us some of the research tools that Microsoft has been developing, such as the Academic Search and the Chemistry Add-In for Word. Academic Search looked like it could be very useful once developed a bit further, at the moment it is really only for computer sciencey people. It has quite a cool feature where you can see a co-author graph:

Hovering over a link between authors shows how many times they have collaborated, and you can click on any author's picture to see their graph. As for the Chemistry Add-In well....I have to admit I didn't understand what this did! Oh well, good think I gave up Chemistry fairly early! Alex finished by saying that he believed libraries should be providing access to scarce resources that are hard for researchers to access. As an example, he mentioned the digitisation of the Garibaldi scroll by Brown University Library, the scroll is being made available on a Microsoft Surface Table allowing readers to view the scroll which would otherwise be very impractical to look at.

Next up was Ned Potter speaking about escaping the echochamber. This is something I've been reading about a lot over the last few months, and following Ned's blog, had seen the slides for similar presentations on the subject before. Nevertheless, there's nothing like the real thing, and this was a really interesting presentation, and a very pretty prezi too, voila:

As Ned said, the good thing about the echolib problem is that once identified, it's easy to start rectifying it! Just jump in and start talking to people about libraries! Adrienne Cooper got a mention for turning a question about her CILIP bag into a chance to advocate libraries to strangers on the tube, brilliant. I better make more of an effort in future! (Though I don't think I'll start carrying around the SWETS bag I got at today's conference...)

Ned Potter laying the smackdown on Newsnight!

For the breakout session I chose the special collections one. Either side of a helpful presentation on on the confusing issue of copywright were two presentations on very different collections - the Churchill papers and the Darwin Correspondence Project. Churchill's papers consist of 1 million items, including drafts for speeches and personal and political correspondence, all kept in the Churchill Archives Centre. The letters have been digitised by Bloomsbury. The collection of Darwin correspondence on the other hand, although a lot smaller (15,000 letters) is spread over 200 repositories in 20 countries. The Darwin Correspondence Project isn't a digitisation project, rather all of the letters have been transcribed with explanatory notes. Alison Pearn who gave the presentation on the Darwin collection pointed out that there's a difference between making a collection available, and making it accessible! It sounds like they're doing some really good things working with an education officer to make the material accessible to schools, and they've had a very good response from schools all over the country.

The session after lunch took a different format, with lots of short presentations by a whole lot of people! These were either 3 or 8 minute presentations, with a Q&A session at the halfway point and another at the end of the afternoon. We had...
Katie and said prezi!
  • Isla Kuhn talking about TeachMeet. Her slides are already up (quick work!) and can be found on the shiny new TeachMeet website.
  • Libby Tilley on Community Learning, something they are doing very well over at the English Faculty. Also the trainees made a cameo appearance on a slide showing their IT training room!
  • Lesley Gray from the Libraries@Cambridge team talking about what they do (besides putting on fantastic conferences that is!)
  • Clemens Gresser talking about the move from having a Head of Music at the UL and a Pendlebury Librarian, to having a Head of Music and Deputy Head of Music shared between both libraries - allowing for a more cohesive approach.
  • Katie Birkwood with another pretty prezi about Open Cambridge (I've really got to try and make a prezi one day!) Katie's made her presentation available online here.
  • Anna Jones on Librarians in Training.
  • Andy Priestner and Celine Carty reviewing the Cambridge 23 Things programme and giving feedback from the participants.
  • *drumroll please* Becky, Erin, Tom and Charlotte, doing a wonderful job of delivering our graduate trainee presentation! (Before you get out the lazy stick and beat me with it, Jen, Natalie and I wrote the thing and made the slides!)
  • Jayne Kelly and Catherine Reid on ebooks@cambridge.
  • Linda Washington talking about affiliation.
  • Natalie Adams and Jacky Cox on Janus (the gateway to Cambridge archives)
  • And finally Huw Jones giving a presentation on the first ever Cambridge Libraries stall at Freshers' Fair, complete with a reenactment of their success/stage invasion!
Charlotte, Tom, Erin and Becky, total pros.
 And despite my best efforts to keep this to a reasonable length, I fear it has rambled on a bit! Time to rest tired brain.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Ebooks on my phone: another reason to love my public library

Standing outside the opticians, waiting to meet my dad, normally would be pretty boring. I came to town with only a little handbag, no room for a book! OH WAIT. Getting out my phone, opening up the Overdrive app, I've got a choice of the ebook I'm in the middle of, or a couple of audiobooks I've downloaded and are waiting for me to start. I'm hooked on my book so I open that up, and the 15 minutes are now pleasantly whiling away!

I'm not going to say that reading a book on a 4 inch screen is as good as having the physical book, this fits about 3 sentences on a page and you're turning pages every 5 seconds. Also Overdrive tended to think a bit too long about turning the pages, there was often a slight pause between me touching the screen and the page turning. However, for something to read whilst waiting for a bus, or a dad, it's very convenient! And before I was a chapter into the book (I was reading Children of Men by P.D. James) I'd got into a rhythm of tapping the screen just before I finished reading the page, so all was well :) If a book is good, it's going to be good whatever medium it's read through.

My experience so far of listening to audiobooks on my phone has been even better, Sense and Sensibility and Stephen King's Quitters, Inc., have both gone down very well as bedtime listening.

But best of all? These were freeeeeeee! Overdrive is a free app, and the ebooks and audiobooks were all borrowed from Herts Library. Not too shabby!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

11 things for 2011

Happy new year everyone! Some resolutions and some things I'd like to accomplish this year:
  1. Be a more active tweeter - at the moment I check twitter a lot but don't tweet myself that often.
  2. Go to the theatre to see something that's not a musical!
  3. Cook/bake 10 new recipes.
  4. Read the following books I've had on my shelf for a while and not read: Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White, Homer, The Odyssey, Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Lauren Pressley, So You Want to Be a Librarian?
  5. Go to 3 new cities/towns in the UK.
  6. Start using Google Calendar and the calendar on my phone.
  7. Get my scrapbook up to date.
  8. Blog at least once a week.
  9. Try a new online tool every month. (Maybe not very ambitious but I'm trying to be realistic!) This month: Pinboard with my free account ^^
  10. Take more photos.
  11. And finally, get into library school! :O
The view from our back door in the snow. Now looks rather brown and damp.