|Kind of Christmassy ... Victory counterposed with Peace|
St Michael's Mount . Photograph by S Gregory.
Sunday, 23 December 2012
Friday, 23 November 2012
In my first post I offered the following aims. It's pleasing to note how many of these have been achieved!
Yes – and more!
Yes – and more!
Not as much as hoped but it's still been fun and a discussion point amongst colleagues.
I also note that a number of further learning tasks were identified in my CPD 23 Things blogs:
- Professional Knowledge & Skills Base
- CV Database
- More effective use of Twitter - follow up from Girl in the Moon's blog.
- Further practice in using Screencast-o-matic
- Blogging - trying to develop / integrate the blogging as a means for regular reflection
- Further investigation of Prezi, particularly within the context of a guided learning tool
- Consideration of formal study: BIALL Legal Foundations Course?
Short Term - I'm seven weeks into secondment with CILIP. This therefore certainly shapes the "what next" for me for the coming months. To-date secondment has provided :
- an amazing eye-opener into sectors of the profession with which I had little personal experience. E.g. being present at a Youth Libraries Group session reviewing the Greenaway and Carnegie short-lists was amazing.
- great experience of contributing to a consultation response on E-Lending in public libraries. A challenging task indicating that my information collection and writing skills still need honing for such a specialist role.
- a new view of accounting requirements and practical experience of drafting end of year accounts. I've gained new financial management skills and a new area of personal enjoyment.
- revision of my event management skills, and updated my knowledge and understanding of corporate governance issues.
- realisation that I need to manage my time and work routines more effectively.
I would love to get to the end of secondment and look back on a wide range of achievements, to know that CILIP Cymru has been well supported, and the hope that Mandy is able to return to post with confidence and ease.
Medium term - preparations for transition back into my substantive post. I understand that this "return" can be a very difficult time and I will need to prepare thoroughly for this. My hope is that I will be able to use the CILIP Professional Knowledge & Skills Base as a means to reflect on my skills and the gaps that are inevitably there, and use this tool in my formal work-based performance management plan.
Longer term - time to update my formal qualifications? Become a professional mentor? Focus on improving my project management skills?
I'll end this phase of blogging with a final thought ....
"Learning is about the journey, not the destination"
CPD 23Things - thank you for an amazing journey!
|© Copyright William Starkey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence (http://www.geograph.org.uk/reuse.php?id=2098324)|
Thursday, 22 November 2012
I also feel strongly that organisations which take on volunteers should provide lots in return to their volunteers and definitely not substitute paid professional roles for volunteers! CILIP have an excellent policy statement on using volunteers in public library services, but the principles will apply in other sectors too.
My experiences of professional volunteering have mainly been on CILIP Special Interest Group Committees at divisional and national level. These roles have provided me with wider professional knowledge, energy and transferable skills (chairing meetings, taking minutes, organising events etc). At the same time they have always been fun, confidence building and have left me with a network of fabulous, supportive and amazing contacts. I appreciate that the "day job" is becoming increasingly pressurised, stressful and burdensome. And although volunteering adds to these, it also provides huge rewards of wider perspectives, a different working regime, and a whole load of professional reassurance or inspiration. Although it can be hard work, for me at least, it's good to wear a number of "different hats".
|Wearing a different hat. Rhododendron clearing in Snowdonia.|
Copyright of the Author.
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
|Professional Knowledge & Skills Base|
Competence-based interviewing doesn't suit everyone, and there is certainly a specialist knack in answering such questions appropriately. But practise and planning can mean that you should have a set of established examples and some answers to hand. Whether you can remember them all under the pressure of the interview might be a different matter! Fortunately, many interviewers are very skilled in their roles, inherently wanting candidates to give their best performance, and to be part of making a fair and appropriate selection decision. The interview can certainly provide a really fascinating insight into the organisation!
I do think Maria's emphasis on knowing your strengths and interests are good ones. For CILIP members the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) interactive tool provides an excellent framework for self-assessment and reflection on your professional skills and strengths. I will be looking at this in more detail after completing CPD 23Things! But in summary:
- I enjoy undertaking thorough enquiry work and the challenges of trying to meet users' needs and expectations. This is probably why I love legal information work.
- I work best when I'm appreciated and valued and can see benefits / impact / results from my outputs. This means that the culture of the organisation, the people and the value systems are really important to me. In working with and managing others I hope that I enthuse these qualities too.
- I relish working with others and I am learning to value project management frameworks to plan, deliver and evaluate project work. The challenges of projects and change are positive stimuli for me.
- A big part of me is a perfectionist, and I'm a self-confessed work-aholic. I love to do things well, and to be shown how to improve things. I like to be challenged.
- I'm a terrible leader, but hopefully a capable, supportive and energising "second in command".
I heartily agree with Maria's suggestion of keeping your CV up to date, and having a record of your achievements in a form that is easy to update, review, sort and search. I'm a poor practitioner in this respect. Again, I will consider following this up after completing the programme.
Saturday, 17 November 2012
Library rootsTrips to the mobile library after primary school. A great deal of fun and excitement selecting that week's reading from the children's section. The mobile library was a terrible grey colour, but was an articulated lorry trailer, and the children's section was in the bit above the connection with the truck unit. (A similar sort of vehicle is pictured here). It was always exciting going, and they used Browne Issue!! Mum was, and still is, a big reader and she spent many hours encouraging me through my dyslexia and opening up the wonderful world of the book.
Teenage years. Seeking solace in the high school library. A lunchtime library pass would mean that I wasn't beaten up in the playground, or my blazer chucked over the school fence. Asterix the Gaul books in French. Similarly, at weekends visits to the central libraries in Luton or Dunstable. The microfiche catalogue was a wonder to behold. The Library at Sixth Form College also became a place of refuge, although the Common Room and cheese toasties had growing allure. That, or joining the masses sitting in the main corridor, just watching the other students go back and forth, trying to perfect that teenage disinterested / threatening look. Never really mastered that!
|Luton Sixth Form College|
© Copyright Nigel Cox and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Undergraduate career. I worked incredibly hard at university driven by my love of study, poor social skills, a general lack of balance in life, and most significantly, terrible A-Level results. Many happy hours in the Library, second floor overlooking the Loch and watching the mists and clouds dance over the Ochills. Biological Abstracts in hard copy became an absolute joy and I revelled in a catalogue on computer.
|Grounds of Stirling University|
© Copyright Eva Forbes and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Present day. I still use my local public library, and have retained that magic and awe in visiting. It's a place that provides me with potential for escape, together with a feeling of belonging to my local community. My leisure reading helps me to escape to places or situations that I have slim chance of actually being at, and enables me to meet and experience people and lives whose paths I would not cross in real life. Library staff still inspire and guide my reading. However, the computer and smartphone take increasing amounts of my time and attention.
Library RoutesAnother story of an accidental librarian (sorry!).
- Uncertain what to do at the end of my undergraduate degree, I stumbled across several posts for graduate trainees to work in libraries. Lady Luck shone and I was successfully appointed to a position, one of four, at the Polytechnic of Central London (now University of Westminster), working in the Engineering and Science Library on New Cavendish Street. Completed a very happy and informative year, and was accepted to study Librarianship at the University of Sheffield.
|115 New Cavendish Street - site of the PCL Engineering & Science Library.|
© Copyright Stephen Richards and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
In writing this account I'm struck by a few key messages:
Friday, 16 November 2012
This task offers an opportunity to reflect on the personal outcomes of undertaking CPD 23 Things, and prompts reflection on how elements of the programme may have been incorporated into my work. I've become a more conscientious Twitter user, and thanks to Girl in the Moon I see I have some further work to do to make my use more effective. I'm really keen on Mendeley, but at the moment don't have to use it that much. I had great fun with Screencast-o-matic and would really love to develop my use of that more. I think Prezi will become a really useful tool for me too.
- I'm a very lazy learner .... I'll only get to grips with what I absolutely need to, when I need to ... but I guess a lot of us are like this too.
- I'm very poor at seeing the links between tools. Girl in the Moon uses Evernote to capture a record of her tweets. What a great idea! I wouldn't have thought of that in the proverbial month of Sundays.
- I'm not a good explorer of tools ... Pinterest, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck etc .... all would probably be useful, but I haven't made time to check these out.
- I need an on-hand technology guru ... someone to question me in my lazy habits, show me the next wonderful tool (time-saving, ingenious, revolutionary, or just dam clever).
- That working in an organisation that restricts use of many new tools, especially those where local software download is required, really does limit the professional horizons. Being on secondment is a wonderful escape from these shackles.
CPD 23 Things has provided me with a framework for trying out new tools. I will need to find new avenues, and schedule development time, to ensure that I continue to investigate new applications and to think about new ways of using these tools.
Saturday, 10 November 2012
|(c) Doug Tanner, 2010 on Flickr http://it.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-3026915089|
Thing 18 continues the theme of presenting information, and provides some tools to investigate for screen capture and for podcasting. Given, that in my usual work situation, I would not be able to download software onto my work PC, I opted to investigate Screencast-O-Matic. This is easy to use, and doesn't require software download. However, I still have doubts about whether I may be able to use screencast applications in work because of the reasonably sophisticated Java requirements.
My experience of using SOM was good, although it appears to be essential to check that your microphone is working prior to each recording. Don't complete a long screen capture sequence only to discover that your audio commentary wasn't being recorded. As a trial use of SOM I have put together an introduction to finding publications from the Welsh Government, using the WG Publications Catalogue, but also using the topics and browse features on the web site. An embedded version is given here or you can access this link to view it at You Tube
I've learnt quite a lot in the process.
- At 11 minutes this is way too long. I need to think about relaying the message more quickly, or having a series of videos on particular elements of the search process.
- The narration script needs to be tighter, and I know that I don't have a strong voice for narration!
- But, most importantly, that screencasting is relatively easy and definitely something that I should consider using and developing in future.
Saturday, 3 November 2012
The process of creating the Prezi was reasonably straightforward, although I am grateful for the introductory video tutorials within Prezi. These got me through with addition of some patience and lots of trial and error. If only I'd seen Ned Potter's guide before! Still, a lot of Ned's tips seem to have been incorporated into what I did. Happy accident, more than good design.
What went well?
- I think I adapted to the zooming, non-linear presentation style reasonably well. It worked well, captivated the audience, and no one complained of feeling seasick!
- My presentation was made up of a good balance of text pointers - and images. The tool helped me to deliver a more natural and interesting presentation.
- Prezi is a great vehicle for sharing presentations.
- Be careful with the pathway and presentation mode. Double check that the show is fully working and is complete. I think I will have a check-list of key sections in front of me, or incorporated into the pathway, just to ensure that I haven't missed an important section. This fits with the educational mantra: show them what you'll be teaching, teach it, and then recap on what you've taught them. Such a device may also be helpful if "going off piste" and delivering the session according to audience feedback, or when providing similar sessions in close succession. That aching doubt of "I did tell you "x" didn't I, or was that the previous group?" can easily arise when repeating sessions in relatively quick succession.
- Definitely incorporate greater use of invisible frames, perhaps allowing more textual input to a zoomed in area. Also be less restricted by size and visibility on the opening view. Really small can work well, because zooming around invisible frames works so beautifully.
- Be prepared to start from a blank Prezi canvas, rather than working from one of the template presentations. In this instance, does a purple tree really fit well with libraries? OK, tree of knowledge aside.
So what next?
I will continue to investigate Prezi. I don't have too many presentations, but those that I do have are mainly in PowerPoint. So I will consider updating and converting into Prezi format. It would also be good to investigate using Prezi as a guided learning aid, especially once I'm back in my usual day job. The Solar System Activity is a great source of inspiration for this type of learning tool.
And what of Slideshare?
It's not a service that I've used for storing and allowing access to my presentations previously, although I'm sure that I have consulted a few presentations kindly stored in Slideshare by others. But clearly this could form quite a useful information resource, and a great resource for "creative swiping".
So that's one more Thing blog closer to completion. I'll welcome your feedback and comments.
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
|Be a beacon for the profession and for libraries!|
Image (c) Stephen Gregory - Souter Lighthouse, National Trust
Lauren's post for Thing 16 outlines the variety of ways in which we can be engaged in professional advocacy. The brief goes further in suggesting that all professionals should consider their personal involvement and commitment to advocacy. I couldn't agree more, but can't help wondering if advocacy is role that we don't often recognise in ourselves? We might happily badge stuff that we do under the headings of marketing, service promotion, information needs analysis or user education, but advocacy probably doesn't feature on this list. I suggest that we do more advocacy than we think. Do you do any of the following?
- Marketing your library service to your user communities and reaching out to non-users. In these sessions, briefings, articles or posts you will be expressing values in using the service, highlighting benefits and impacts for users and potential users.
- Management reports. Updates on service utilisation, hopefully not just measures of inputs and outputs, but also those difficult to achieve measure of impact. Public libraries are now fantastic at highlighting how they can contribute to wider goals of their parent councils. For example aiding targets for health and well being, community cohesion, inter-generational interaction, as well as the traditional factors of improving literacy, supporting formal learning, servicing local businesses and innovators. As a workplace librarian I support not only the direct information needs of the organisation, but also support the health and well being of colleagues through book prescriptions, in addition to encouraging innovation through supporting personal development and learning.
- Talking to your users and non-users, finding out about their information needs and requirements. This will probably involve discussion of your services, but may also suggest other services too. An academic librarian talking to students on a part time vocational course may well suggest using workplace or professional body libraries, in addition to their “home college” services. A workplace librarian may refer to local public libraries or near-by university / college facilities.
- Professional groups may have collective formal remits for advocacy and therefore involvement in these will provide superb experience at national, local or subject specific level. My own experience of working for CILIP Groups (CDG, CoFHE) has demonstrated how valued this level of advocacy is. But I've also been impressed by BIALL's activities in this area, and those of UKOLUG in the past! Local information partnerships (e.g. Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) also undertake valued advocacy work no behalf of libraries in and around their area.
|To protect, warn, guide, inform, illuminate and broadcast?|
Souter Lighthouse, National Trust. Image (c) Stephen Gregory
Saturday, 15 September 2012
Profession in crisis? Thing 15: Attending, presenting at and organising seminars, conferences and other events.
- from the employer / employee perspective:
- depleted or non-existent training and development budgets
- reduced staffing levels, meaning that: retained staff work to increased workloads; capacity for planned absence is reduced; ability to catch-up after absence, or to clear the decks prior to absence, are diminished.
- Stagnation on the career ladder. There are fewer opportunities for promotion and advancement, meaning that staff loose motivation and enthusiasm for cpd. Staff new to a role will have greater need to attend formal CPD activities in order to aid their development for fitness to undertake the role effectively and fully.
- Organisations are less likely to support professional development in its broadest contexts, favouring job-specific training only. This is in part because of training budget limitations, but also because of workload pressures and reduced capacity to sanction cpd absence.
- From event providers' perspective:
- Economic viability of events is being squeezed, leading to increasing likelihood of event cancellation.
- Events become undertakings where the risks of financial and reputational disaster are too great. Can an organisation afford to loose money, or in effect subsidise events? Can organisations weather the potential for loss of credibility with poor attendance rates and perceived declining impact or professional value?
- Events are not able to get off of the ground because the burdens of event organisation are too great for volunteer group committee members, especially given that support by their employees may be severely decreased.
- Collaborate or use partnerships for events! Use vibrant local groups to jointly host successful, well attended events. The North Wales Library Partnership was a superb group to collaborate with. In South Wales groups such as Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation are incredibly active, now run with very little financial assistance. Other local divisions or circles of CILIP's Special Interest Groups or your CILIP Branch may also be able to assist. In the case of Wales it may be more appropriate for us to collaborate with our neighbours in West Midlands, North West, or South West, because transport links make it as easy, or easier, to attend events in Birmingham, Hereford, Chester or Bristol. (It could work the other way around though couldn't it! Marketing events in Wales more actively to colleagues just across Offa's Dyke.)
- Make events free / very low cost, and seek funding to cover costs via other routes. Grant funding, sponsorship, bursaries, awards, and dare I say, creative financing.
- Where possible use central locations, with excellent public transport links, and if possible with addition attractions or benefits.
- Plan well ahead and market your event extensively. Know your intended audience(s) and plan timing to maximise attendance. I consider timing to mean in this context two factors. Recognition of delegate availability (e.g. probably best not to run an event for academic library staff in late September or October). And also training budget cycles. When are training budgets set (April / August / January)?, and so when might chances for successful bids for expenditure from this budget be most successful? Remember that with some organisations expenditure for events that coincide with the end of a financial year, or which can be billed for in advance, using up residual funding in one year, to support CPD in the following, will be successful. Of course, if you are funding an event through means other than delegate charges, then this becomes less relevant, except where creative financing options may be considered.
- botanical and horticultural information and library collections for these subject areas, including the delights of herbaria and seed banks;
- implementation of Koha shareware library management system, and how to do this very successfully on a very small budget;
- the use of volunteers within a library service; and
- the Library's plans for the future.
- Sell-ability. Potential delegates may have found it difficult to convince their line manager that attending this event was good use of their time and would provide excellent returns for expenditure from the training budget
- Affordability. If your employer wouldn't pay for your attendance, then the pricing was too high for self-funders (£40). If this is an option then delegates may also be burdened with using a day's leave and funding transport costs.
- Geography. The Gardens are difficult to get to unless travelling by car. Public transport would have been viable, but the journey is time consuming and a further expense. (I'm not quite so convinced by this one. No one contacted me to see if lift-sharing was possible, or if a quicker connection from the local train station could be collectively organised.)
- Increasing professional malaise or apathy? I hope not, but sometimes I can't help but suspect that this is the case.
- Technology - video conferencing / virtual meetings are proving to be a vibrant and low-cost means for providing cpd. But technology has it's limitations: uneven user demographic; barriers caused by the technology; the lack of “by chance”, face to face networking opportunities.
- More local “live” networking events: pub meets, New Professionals meet ups; charity fund-raising initiatives.
- Mentoring – mentees and mentors both gaining through formal planning, discussion and evaluation of professional development, job roles, professional issues etc.
- CILIP Branch and Group Review. Changes to enable Groups and Branches to be more sustainable, but also more vibrant, creative, effective and supported.
- Where geography allows, the formation of cross-sectoral local groups providing cpd events, forums for discussion and debate, library visits etc. Partnership working between groups of all different types, sharing the burdens and risks of running events, but also gaining through their collaborative muscle and reputation. For CDG Wales linking more directly with the Annual CILIP Wales Conference might be a good way of promoting the Group, increasing our membership and our activity levels.
- Further exploration of alternative funding mechanisms and sources.
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
|Reference Management Software - helping to bring order in an otherwise disordered world?|
Order or disorder? Prairie planting of spring bulbs at Ascot House (National Trust), Buckinghamshire.
Image (c) Stephen Gregory
- Investigate and implement Mendeley more fully, including profile and seeing if other users match my interests. Equally importantly try to incorporate using Mendeley as a matter of routine.
- Find out about my colleagues feedback on Reference Manager, and see if this can be used within our context of literature search results and current awareness bulletin creation. If yes, how is this achieved and could similar be achieved in Mendeley?
- Check out CiteULike. This would be useful to have some basic knowledge on this.
Monday, 27 August 2012
In 25 years how we have moved on! Online connections are now ubiquitious, fast and cheap; online storage is similarly plentiful and cheap. Thus, cloud computing comes to the fore - hence my title for this blog. Through the cloud Google Drive, Dropbox and wikis can function.
As Secretary of the CILIP Career Development Group Wales Division the Committee has talked about using Google Drive for collaborative drafting of our divisional plan. Having watched the Wikis in Plain English video I now wonder if this process may be more easily achieved through a wiki.Worth trying this for 2013! The group currently archive and share files through JISCMAIL File Store features, which forms a handy central repository, but it is now cumbersome and dated in its operation. A wiki or cloud-based solution for Divisional files would, it seems to me, to be easier for us all to use.
Some departments in work are dabbling with internal wikis, providing desk notes, a knowledge base and an interactive environment in which to work collaboratively. For self- or team- generated content I can see that wikis would form an excellent platform. However, as information professionals we need to be exceptionally careful in guiding our users in appropriate use of external content within their wikis. In such situations we need to effectively raise awareness of copyright and database licensing terms and conditions. I speak from experience on this one!
I haven't tried Dropbox, but it is very useful to know about this facility. The security restrictions of my work-based computer may not enable me to download the local software for Dropbox. This is disappointing because the automated storage and synchronisation of files seems to be such an advantage. That said, in work we access files from shared drives and within an electronic records document management system. Consequently, we should all be working from the same files and not generating multiple copies of a document. The need for Dropbox within work is therefore not quite so clear. But when collaborating with external partners Dropbox could be very helpful , and far less trouble than remembering to manually synchronise files between different machines, network drives and cloud based storage services! There may be times when Dropbox could prove invaluable and I am glad for this opportunity to find out about it.
Definitely food for thought, and inspiration for future action here.
1. Try out a wiki page for use with CDG Wales.
2. Maintain my awareness of Dropbox.
Thursday, 23 August 2012
Thing 12 invites participants to reflect on their use of social networks and to consider whether you:
|Lurking on the Sidelines?|
© Copyright Sarah Charlesworth and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Inherently by nature I'm a "comfort zone" kind of person, although I'm really lucky in having a reasonably diverse and wide professional network. My involvement with CILIP Career Development Group helps here. And I'm fortunate to receive updates from Cardiff Libraries in Cooperation [CLIC] and attend their excellent events. My blog for Thing 10 also records that I've worked in a number of different library sectors and over a number of years so this helps provide a varied range of contacts. So, on reflection, perhaps I'm not quite so confined and parochial as I think I am.
However, Thing 12 has inspired me to reach out beyond my usual list of contacts and to expand my horizons. I found a lot of shared experience and interest in Anabel Marsh's experiences of CPD23Things in her blog and we've sent some supportive Tweets. Anabel has encouraged me to reconsider becoming a mentor :-) and it was just the encouragement I needed. A school librarian, Caroline Fielding's blog also provides a new perspective for me.
Yes possibly, mainly because of time and confidence - so here I agree with Louise. However Thing 12 has encouraged me to reflect on my social network participation, and as a consequence to try to be more engaged and to be more of a contributor. Creating time to work on 23Things may well help me with this goal too.
|Lurking on the Sidelines? No way!|
© Copyright Peter Kazmierczak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1590592