Friday, 30 September 2011

What I've been reading in September


Lauren Smith, Thing 16: Advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published (from the CPD23 blog)

Nikki (Musings from a Librarian), Thing 16: Advocacy 

Ian Clark, Advocacy etc. 

Ian Anstice, Arguments Against Libraries, Arguments For Libraries 

The Good Library Blog, About two thirds of reading in this country is of books from public libraries


Ned Potter, Marketing Libraries in a Web 2 World [slides]

Social Media

Nancy Baym, Personal Connections in the Digital Age (Cambridge: Polity, 2010)

Meredith Farkas, The Changing Professional Conversation

Ned Potter, thewikiman blog? There's an app for that! (Useful looking tool for turning blogs into iphone apps, shame no Android support though!)

Ian Clark, Turning blogs into apps (How the above tool could be a lot better)

Laura Wilkinson, Highlights from Oxford Social Media Day 2011

Jo Alcock, 6 Twitter Tips for Organisations #hhlib (Great advice from Donna Ekhart at the Handheld Librarian conference)

eBooks and Digital Resources

JSTOR, Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

Simon Barron, UK Government rejects idea of National Digital Library

David Rapp, Sony Announces First Dedicated eReader with Wireless Library eBook Download Capability

Obnoxious Librarian from Hades, The one with the e-book chaos 

Julie Bosman, Kindle Connects to Library eBooks (But only in the US as yet)

Bobbi Newman, How to Check Out (and Return!) Library eBooks from OverDrive on Your Amazon Kindle

Library School

Annie Pho, What does your degree mean to you? (Is a library degree more than just a "union card"?)

The Future of Libraries

Ian Clark, Could the UK soon need an official 'Banned Books Week'? 

Ned Potter, Skip to the end: library futures, now... 


Anna Martin, Organising a Day Trip 

Central Station, Mysterious Paper Sculptures

Brian Herzog, Work Like a Patron Day 2011

By LibraryMan on Flickr

Monday, 26 September 2011

[CPD23] Thing 20: Library Routes and Day in the Life projects

I think the Library Routes project is a brilliant idea. I've been aware of the wiki for a while and read quite a few of the posts. I haven't written one myself because, well, it wouldn't be very long! I don't know if I've been working in libraries for long enough to have roots, let alone routes, but I will write about my 'rootlings' anyway!
'Winding Road' by AColvin on Flickr
 I can't pinpoint the exact moment when I decided that I wanted to become a librarian. When I was 14 I wanted to be a vet. When I was 17 I wanted to be a music therapist. When I was 20 and coming towards the end of my music degree I didn't know what I wanted to be, except I knew I would be a terrible teacher and I was in no way talented enough to become a concert pianist... Luckily I had been working part time in the music library as a student assistant, and it began to dawn on me that this would be a job I would both enjoy and be good at.

I began to talk to librarians and other information professionals about this idea, however this began a bit disastrously! The first couple of people I spoke to about being a librarian were quite negative, and assured me that technology was already replacing librarians, and that it was turning into a dead-end job. This was slightly discouraging, but after speaking to some more people I realised that this wasn't the majority view thank goodness! The Library Day in the Life project was really helpful when I was looking into different kinds of library jobs, and that is the other part of the Thing this week. I have done a few posts during the last two rounds of Library Day in the Life, and if you're interested in reading my Day in the Life posts they can be found here.

I started to apply to graduate trainee positions during my last year of university, and after a few interviews was offered the place at Newnham. My graduateship was brilliant, and I am really lucky that when it finished they kept me on as a part time library assistant as our senior library assistant has decided to reduce her hours. I'm loving working in a library. I have a lot of variety in my work which is great because it means I have learnt so many new things. I have also just started an MA in Library and Information Studies at UCL, which means that I will be able to study the theory behind the things I am doing in practice in my job.

My roots are probably quite similar to many other peoples'. It seems to be quite common for people to "fall into" librarianship. It would be cool if librarians were more prominent at careers fairs etc. to get the word out that librarianship is actually a career, it's actually something people do!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Space Between

Since my traineeship finished, I'm now in theory a part time library assistant, working 14 hours a week. However I had a few weeks until my MA started, so I have been going in to work most days to rack up some hours! This has been great as I've been able to work with Polly, our new graduate trainee. In between going over Library of Congress Subject Headings (sorry Polly...) and which sticky labels go on which books (important concerns!), we've been working on an exhibition on Newnham's connections with the Bloomsbury group. One of the group, Frances Partridge, was a student at Newnham, and Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own was based on a series of lectures given at Newnham and Girton Colleges.

In other news, Cam23 2.0 ended this week. We held our closing event at the Museum of Classical Archaeology on Thursday night, holding an awards ceremony for those voted the best bloggers, and nomming our way through far too much cheese and pineapple. It was a lovely end to the programme, and although I'm feeling quite a bit of relief that it's over (only one set of 23 Things to think about now!), I had a great time both as an organiser and a participant. 

Next week is induction week at UCL, so I will be off to the big city, clutching a map and my brand new Oyster card. I'm looking forward to meeting people that I have only spoken to through Facebook and Twitter, and to being a student and learning again, although I'm sure I'm sure I'll soon get over the novelty factor on that one!

'UCL Students do it 24/7' apparently. By Ofey on Flickr

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

[CPD23] Thing 17: The medium is the message - Prezi and Slideshare

It has rather amused me reading through the CPD23 feeds over the last couple of weeks and seeing the number of posts along the lines of "This is a placeholder post for Thing 17, order must be maintained! *twitch*" I have to say the thought did cross my mind to do the same! Oh librarians :)

I've only recently started using Prezi, after we covered this in Cam23 2.0. At the moment I'm still playing with it, and making frivolous presentations such as this one of my Dublin holiday:

When I start at UCL I'm sure I will have to start giving proper presentations, so I may have the chance to use this tool then. In the meantime I made my second complete Prezi for CPD23, which condenses my instruction post on Twitter into Prezi form:

I really like Prezi as a presentation tool, it's intuitive to use and for an audience it is nice to see something other than Powerpoint slides once in a while. When I do use it I'll make sure not to whirl about madly and make people sick!

As a project for the future, I would like to have a go at making an interactive map of our library using Prezi, something along the lines of this one by Ned Potter.  I’ll probably need to practice a bit more before I attempt that though...

I’ve only used Slideshare as a creator once before, when I wanted to share a presentation the graduate trainees made for the Libraries@Cambridge conference. Surprisingly, our presentation was chosen as one of Slideshare’s ‘Featured Presentations’ (I’m not sure why, it seems quite a niche topic!) and then went on to get over a thousand views in a week, which was a bit of a strange experience! Again, I think this is something that will become increasingly more useful in the future as I start making more presentations.

Apart from that, I have used Slideshare quite often to view other peoples’ presentations. After conferences or other events I will usually have another look at the presentations, which are often hosted on Slideshare.

I think if you were going for a job in design or marketing, a slide-deck CV could be a good way to show your skills off. If I was going for a job which asked for these skills in the job description, I might consider putting together a Powerpoint or even a Prezi CV. It obviously couldn't contain as much detail as a traditional CV (at least, not without filling your slides with text and making a rubbish presentation) so I don't think it could replace the paper one.

I'm glad the last weeks of the programme are going to be spread out a little bit more, as I start at UCL on Monday. However I think the last few Things are going to be some of the most useful and interesting, so bring it on!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

[CPD23] Thing 19: Integrating the Things

I'm quite glad there's no new Thing to think about this week, as the programme seems to have flown by and it's good to be prodded into doing some reflection on what we've already covered! 

"Old" Things

About half of the "technical" things have been ones I'd tried out at least once before. Doing CPD23 has made me the explore things that I hadn't given much time to before (Zotero and Google Calendar in particular) more closely, and now Google Calendar has made its way into regular use. I think Zotero might well be very useful next year in my MA, and anyway as Jen says, it's a useful thing to be able to tell our students about. I was already a regular user of Twitter, RSS feeds and, of course, blogging, and these remain some of my favourite Things!

"New" Things

Of the technical Things I'd not tried before, I really like Evernote, screencasting and Prezi, though I haven't had much reason to use any of these yet. I've made a LinkedIn page and have joined a few groups. I'm finding it quite useful to follow the discussions but I haven't joined in much myself, it's just one social network too many at the moment! Even though I wrote the instructions for Pushnote, and so should perhaps be feeling some fondness for it, I didn't find it useful and have deleted the addon from my browser.

'Thinking' by Karola Reider on Flickr
Although I may have done some of the professional development activities before, I'm lumping them all in together under New Things because I'd never really thought about them properly before. These have been the Things where I've most enjoyed reading other peoples' blog posts, even if they have been much harder to write posts for! I think rather than integrating any one of these "thinky" Things into my work life, the most useful thing I could take away from this programme would be to get into the habit of keeping reflecting on what I'm doing both at work and outside of it, and thinking what I could do better/more.

"Extra" Things

While I've been taking part in CPD23 and Cam23 2.0, I've obviously been trying a lot of different tools. And from reading other participants' blog posts I've picked up several tips for other handy tools, of which I have started using three fairly regularly.

Ifttt allows you to create tasks based on the format "if this, then that." Ifttt currently supports 33 different channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Dropbox (no Blogger yet unfortunately). This allows seemingly endless possibilities for the tasks you can create. So far I have set up three: If I publish a new Tumblr post, automatically tweet the link (the rest of the message can be customised when setting it up). If I'm tagged in a Facebook photo, download it to my Dropbox folder (thanks @SuzanneStage for that one!). If it's forecast to rain in Cambridge tomorrow, send me an email (I never seem to check weather forecasts!). At the moment Ifttt is invitation only, but if anyone would like an invitation I have a few. Thanks @meimaimaggio for inviting me!

PrintFriendly is a really simple idea, which is both useful and environmentally friendly, saving ink and trees. If you drag the bookmarklet to your browser toolbar, then it allows you to convert any webpage into a print friendly PDF in a few seconds. You can change the font size, and click on any pictures, logos and even paragraphs that you don't need to print, and it gets rid of them for you.

Picnik is a free online photo editing tool, you don't have to download anything or even register, so it's very quick and easy to tart up your photos (which you can either upload or grab from Facebook, Flickr, Picassa etc.). You can also add text, frames and effects to the photo, so could be used to make posters as well. Thanks to @jimmy1712 for introducing me to this!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

[CPD23] Thing 18: Screencasts and Podcasts

There is quite a lot going on in this week's Thing, but luckily we have covered both screencasts and podcasts before in Cam23 2.0. I haven't done much extra exploration though, as I've just got back from Dublin and have a lot of laundry and stuff to do!


I hadn't heard of Jing before, but had tried Screencast-o-matic for Cam23 2.0. I think I would most likely be making screencasts at work rather than at home, so won't be able to download Jing there. I was quite happy with Screencast-o-matic though, so I think that will do for me!

Here is the screencast I made for Cam23 2.0, showing how to create bundles in Google Reader. I didn't think I had a microphone so I didn't do a commentary, but when I played it back I heard my LOUD TYPING NOISES, so clearly I have a built in mic on my laptop! I'm learning so much doing this programme ;)


I didn't know much about Podcasts before doing this Thing. I’ve never made a podcast and had very rarely listened to them either.

I don’t use iTunes, but Lyn had suggested a few other places to find podcasts. First off I had a look at Podcast Alley, but I was a bit disappointed that all of the podcasts I clicked on there hadn’t been updated for several years. This doesn’t matter for some podcasts of course, but for the technology stuff this is not much use! My next stop was the BBC, which as Lyn said has a wide range of podcasts from its radio and TV shows. I subscribed to Click, which I enjoy watching the TV version of. Moving on to the CILIP Communities Podcasts (I didn’t know this existed!), I’ve subscribed to Adventures in Library Instruction, a monthly podcast on the topic of teaching information literacy.

Seeing as I didn’t have much luck searching on Podcast Alley, I hit Google and started searching for technology podcasts and books podcasts. I subscribed to the Guardian Books podcast series, and taking a recommendation from Mashable I’ve subscribed to the How Stuff Works podcast. I'm ashamed to say I didn't know the Arcadia seminars were available as podcasts! Thanks to MG for the tip off, I will have to have a look into those.

Podcasting is fairly similar to presenting, in that I think I will keep my mouth shut and listen to other people doing the talking, at least for now!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

My 1st Blogiversary

My blog, in cake-cloud form. Mmmmm.
One year ago today I wrote the first post on this blog.

I've been fairly prolific this year. This will have been my 91st post (I thought about trying to make my 100th post and my blogiversary happen on the same day, but...effort!). I think I've become a slightly better writer - I plan my posts slightly more now, not a whole lot more though! One thing's for sure, my writing style has definitely evolved and blogging has become a lot easier as I've found "my voice".

I slowly changed who I was writing for -  in the early days this blog was intended for family and friends to let them know what I was doing, however most readers and commenters were library people and so professional stuff kind of took over. Now my blog is about 95% library stuff, and if I write anything that my family and friends might be interested in I will post a link to it on Facebook. There's more of a purpose to my blog now, early posts were all over the place with random topics from A Very Potter Musical to hen parties to Studio Ghibli films, with things I did at work thrown in. Not that any of these are bad things to blog about, but it does kind of feel like I took everything in my brain, stirred it up with a big wooden spoon, tipped it out and clicked "publish". Direction and purpose are good!

Lately almost all of my blogging has been about the CPD23 Things, or the Cam23 2.0 Things on the Tumblr blog I created for that programme. While this has been a great experience, writing around 50 blog posts on prescribed topics over the course of four months has left me with little time or energy to blog about anything else, so I'm looking forward to resuming my normal blogging routine once all the Things are over and I've started library school. I just hope that in and amongst a degree and a part time job I will still have time to blog occasionally!

Friday, 2 September 2011

[CPD23] Thing 16: Advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published

Ooh, another mahoosive topic to blog about this week!

As Lauren said, speaking up for libraries has become really crucial in the UK in the last few years. As a bit of an indicator, this was the first topic chosen for #uklibchat, a fortnightly Twitter chat for UK librarians. I'd recommend taking a look at the chat summary  if you're interested in this topic.

While I don't greet every new person I meet with "Hi, I'm a librarian, isn't that awesome?!" (which would be a little strange), when people find out what I do this generally prompts a "why...?" or "you needed a degree to do that?" At first I would kind of laugh awkwardly and go "um, yeah...". After a while I started to take the opportunity to do a little advocacy and re-education. I haven't exactly got an elevator pitch to fire back at them now, but I usually explain how rewarding it is, what I do all day besides stamping books and that yes, most librarians have degrees, plural.

I work in a university library which seems fairly stable...for now at least. With the trend among a large proportion of the public being that everything is available online, you would hope that students and academics know better than this, right? Unfortunately most students will still head to Google first and won't make the most of the scholarly databases provided by their library. If you can get a quick fix from Google, why bother going to the library? In the future the academic libraries might be the ones needing all the campaigning help they can get.

Meanwhile, many public librarians can't speak up for their jobs for fear of losing their jobs... pretty rubbish really. So most campaigns will need to rely on other library sectors for their manpower. On Save Our Libraries Day last February, I took part in a Read Aloud flash mob in a shopping centre in Cambridge, reading from Roald Dahl's Matilda and handing out leaflets about what the library provides and what cuts are being proposed. This was organised by Emma Coonan, a university librarian and most of us there were academic librarians.

So I do dabble in activism, and I frequently end up speaking up for my profession amongst small groups of people. Of course this pales in comparison to the tireless efforts of some library campaigners! I look at people like Lauren, Johanna, and Ian and then look back at myself and think "must try harder".

Thursday, 1 September 2011

[CPD23] Thing 15: Events


I've been fortunate enough to have been able to go to lots of events this year. I went to the CILIP New Professionals Open Day in October, which was a brilliant way to start off. It would be very easy to start off a new job (especially one that has the word "trainee" in the job title!) feeling as if I should keep my head down until I've learnt more, and not interfere with what the professionals are doing. But at NPID2010 many of the presenters were people with only a few years of experience, who had got stuck in and got involved in everything they could, which was incredibly inspiring.

Other things I've been to this year have ranged from a TeachMeet to the New Professionals Conference in Manchester a few months ago. I've made a point to blog about events as soon as possible afterwards, as otherwise I find the details and even important points slip away fairly quickly.

LibCampUK is coming up in October - I was a bit wary of this at first as the concept seemed very loose! But now it seems like almost everyone in my Twitter feed is going so I'm glad I did sign up, will be nice to meet a lot of people face-to-face finally! I would love to go to a huge conference like the IFLA conference or ALA annual, but would definitely require a helping hand from a conference bursary to be able to do that!

I'm good at other things though...

I haven't presented at any events, and I can't see it happening any time soon! I think it's best to play to your strengths. I'm a pretty awful public speaker so while I could happily write a paper, it would probably do more harm than good to my career for me to get up and present it! At the Libraries@Cambridge conference in January the trainees put on a presentation about the Graduate Trainee scheme in Cambridge, and since there were seven of us which would be rather a lot to get up on stage and speak, we split ourselves into writers and presenters and it worked very well.


I haven't done any organising for conference type events, but  I'd feel more confident about doing so after having been involved in organising various events for Cam23 2.0. We've had a launch party and are currently thinking about the wrap event, and we've had a couple of reflection week meet ups in between. So far most things have gone very smoothly - Doodle has been great for deciding dates and times, and having a team of organisers means that when I forget something someone else will remind me! Always important. There have been one or two hiccups along the way, but again, these are  much easier to overcome with a good team.