Saturday, 7 November 2015

Busy week

This week has been a busy one, but so is my next week- including a trip to London for a 3 hour meeting.
This week has seen several meetings, including performance appraisals. We've been staff down due to sickness, which is always a problem when we have so few staff to start with.

Having been audited for 6 weeks by the CLA, this ended this week. Which is at least one thing off of my do to list. I am just hoping that nothing comes back, saying that we have infringed copyright.

With the added pressure of having to visit two school. With my son starting primary school in September, this seems like another pressure.

Next week I need  to start work on reorganising students on the library system, moving them from one code to more specific ones, so I can then collect data on usage. Tuesday I am off to London for the ARLIS meeting. Wednesday back for more meetings and working on staff performance appraisals- 3 to do.

I think next weekend I will need a rest and a glass of wine or two.

Saturday, 17 October 2015


Having completed my chartership and then 12 months later revalidation,  I was unable to find a masters (final project only) course that inspired me. So I have decided to work on my fellowship. One of the reasons for doing this is that I really wanted to say that I am a member of the fellowship- LOTR reference.

So far I have been working on it since March this year (2015),  I have found a mentor, not actually had much of a conversation with them. But as we work together, we have had several informal chats. Nothing formal yet, even when we do formal ones I am thinking of doing them over lunch so we are eat and chat. Reducing the stress and anxiety.

Anyway, as I have been working with ARLIS and SWRLS for over 12 months, this goes towards working in a wider remit of libraries. Within the organisation, I am a member of CMT and a Head of a department. Therefore I hold a position of authority within the organisation, another point that is relevant for the fellowship.

In the last 2 years, I have faced some hard management decisions/ experiences, which have been resolved and I have gained a reputation as a decent manager and leader of a team. Though I won't discuss what happened here, the experiences have certainly changed me as a manager.

Having recently introduced a series of information literary events for art students, these have made an impact on student. Some have become more willing to speak to library staff, requesting help etc. Plus I have gained confidence in my delivery.

Overall I think I should have enough evidence to complete my fellowship.

Sunday, 4 October 2015


Been a bit lazy this week, I haven't written anything on my blog. So I am going to write an update of my week- just so I don't get out of the habit of writing.

During the week I had a few one to one mop up inductions with new students who missed their group induction- I tried to keep them brief. By this time of year it is so hard to keep on rolling them out- it actually becomes exhausting. The group inductions were done over 3 days, and I they ended up totalling 18 separate inductions.

Updated my Line manager on what has happened in the last 4 weeks in the library. Always a decent meeting- I usually leave the meeting, feeling more motivated and that I want to run back to my department and start dishing out work. Doesn't always happen sometimes I return to my department full of energy and just start absorbing myself in my tasks.

Last week was also my self imposed deadline for getting back to LMS providers. However I have missed it by a few days, for one reason I wanted to get someone else in my department to read over case I had missed something. Plus I was on leave on Friday. In preparation for this I need to allocate all the students a p-type depending on their course, as we have nearly 2000 students this is going to be tough.

With course validation process starting, I need to provide information on what support the library has offered students in these courses- journal holdings, online databases, number of books purchased and amount of money spent on these courses. In addition to this I have been handed a large number of previous students dissertations. The library keeps the best ones each I have been working out which ones I need to keep, digitalise and catalogue.

Writing a policy for the college's interlibrary loans- need to present this at academic board in November. Done roughly half the work but I need to write it for a different audience- senior management team.

Read a couple of articles on libraries, more public libraries- so interesting back ground reading, but nothing worth writing about.

Plus I have redesigned our store cupboard..need to get a few bits of furniture next week.

Fellowship- no real progress has been made. I have signed up to a professional CV writing session, which should help me, as at the moment my CV is ok... but not great. I think it is lacking the detail of what I do. But I work in a company where "we are only ever one member of staff deep" this means that I end up being a jack of all trades.

Friday I was on holiday, which was great..I did a 5 miles walk, caught up on some TV and managed to get my sons play room sorted.

Next week is already looking busy- Monday alone, I have a lunch meeting with pre-degree staff about what I can offer there students in the research week. Plus our book sale starts on Monday. Tuesday and Thursday are looking like there might be some time to work on the LMS situation. Friday I am teaching Havard Referencing to A level students.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

IMLS focus Learning in Libraries

Following up on a previous post, this one looks at the detail on the IMLS focus Learning in Libraries report, which is connected to the Advances learning in Libraries: An American approach. Which is the summary report highlighting 4 strategies in advancing learning in libraries.

This paper summaries the findings from one day's presentations and discussion in Kansas City Public library, which took place in May 2015, and was attended by public and state library practitioners, library and information science school representatives, researchers and service providers. Where the benefits of libraries individual learning objectives were discussed.

 One of the first topics discussed is community of practice that will disseminate resources for field- wide replication. However this might not be as easy as it sounds- replication or delivery of resources will take interaction. Each person are the origin, is likely to add their own twist on the situation. As well as information professionals who are reluctant to participate in such replication. The concept of one message for all in a great idea- even though everyone learns differently- so maybe not such a great idea. The message is likely to be altered- just think of the playground game Chinese whispers, something is missed and something is added.

Participatory learning: doing, together
Early in the write up, there are examples of innovative projects

  • Sustainable library-artists partnerships
  • Using libraries as makerspaces
This is a distinctive change in libraries- participating in learning for libraries. Such active learning is seen by researchers to provide deeper/ long lasting knowledge and that learning should be done is a social process. Yet one problem seeing how effective these projects would be, librarians favour recording quantitative data- but this doesn't fit with the concept that they are suggesting here. Anecdotes and interviews- qualitative data would need to be recorded here. Potentially a problem or skills shortage. 

Embracing the early learning ecosystems
Helping to reach the target audience
  • families with young children
  • low income families with young children
  • early learning systems
  • social services providers
However libraries need to develop in to non-judgemental, welcoming places- that engage with all age groups. From personally experience these are currently lacking in the public library service.
  • Not welcoming places- due to the attitude of staff- if it weren't for my experience and thick skin,  I would have long ago abandoned my local library. 
  • Unable to access children's services- several times I have asked library staff about Book start  to be greeted with a blank look on library staff faces. In the end I spoke to my son's nursery for the resources.
  • Last summer I received a rude email from my library, as I hadn't borrowed anything on my account- my son however had borrowed loads. Instead of the email trying to entice me back, I read it feeling like I had been told off, that my account would be suspended if I didn't reply or take action in borrowing something. 
  • Decent book stock for children isn't an issue, under 12's seem to be very well catered for. However there is a gap between 12-18 years old. This was the same I remember when I was that I ended up raiding my older brother's bedroom and started reading Stephen King and Point Horror probably a few years before I should have done. 
Learning for adults: strengthening the workplace
Similar to the above topic, here partnerships with workplaces were highlighted. Libraries could be used to help people learn and improve IT skills. Here the main topic seemed to be in the growth of the immigration services- that could combine adult literacy and learning, workplace development, and legal services

From practice to research to practice
Funding tends to be available to library schools for research purposes. However this only shows half of the picture, how it theory events and activities should happen. But this might not be the case in reality. Teaming up practitioners with researchers would create more relevant and cohesive research and practice for the sector. 

Digital literacy and inclusion
Bridging the gap between those who have and don't have digital skills is a complex and critical component of not only government policy but also keen to society working cohesively. But as the digital environment is ever changing and teachers are preparing students for jobs that don't exist at the moment, for libraries to join in this challenge is a great idea, but a hard one. With more of the world becoming on line, so much as changed, social interactions happening online, economics changing to online services as well as education being able to be delivered online. 
However I do support inclusion, and here I really think public libraries need to look at education for inspiration. The educational sector has worked very hard to eliminate discrimination of any sort and mostly succeeded at this. 

Shaping the profession
A massive variety of skills are needed now to 10 years ago, and with all these skills I still feel that libraries are missing a few tricks and we have long way to go until libraries are at the forefront of change. With these increases in skills, this puts a lot of pressure of library school providers and employers of librarians- ensuring that librarians enter the profession with an decent skills set, but they are supported to continue to seek professional development to improve skills. This also means that libraries can no longer provider an all round excellent service, roles will start to become more specialised. With certain people taking responsibility for certain areas. This can easily be seen where I work, I have needed to become a more specialist librarian in developing archiving skills- mainly digitally, as well as developing web editing skills. Two elements I would never have considered were within my role when I was at library school. So it looks like the universal librarian is over and the days of the specialist are here to stay. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Open access: A national licence

Having read the report Open Access: a National Report the Answer I can see that there is a major conversation to have on this topics, not only from librarians and publishers but also from the government. The paper reports that the current problem lies mainly within science and research sector, where the majority of research is created- but access is not easily granted. Open access sets to widen the possible readership and reduce the cost of such a provision. Several policies have been produced including the Finch report, in June 2012 and after that RCUK and HEFCE report.

Ideally the UK wants to operate under the idea of the Global Gold Open Access- where publishers are paid by researchers and papers are made available online for free. A national licence would achieve this as well as having economic benefits. Yet the Policy was only published in March 2015 and it has, as intended to create debate and discussion. There are benefits to having such a rich amount of academic content within the public realm, instead of locked behind academic institutions firewalls. Yet this is a cost, and maybe that cost to some would be too high.

At present the UK has an excellent record for producing research papers and should continue to demonstrate global leadership in disseminating research.

Current plans are that by 2020 material of publication level must be available on an open access basis, hence this growing need to some collaboration to take place. Some have suggested that JISC collections would be a good potential board who could oversee such a project. This paper suggests that an national licence provides a framework where publishers agree a contract with a government body that would make specific journals freely available to anyone within the UK.

Yet there are some negatives to such a scheme:
The UK would benefit, however no other country is doing such a project, so it will not be reciprocal between other nations. Particularly I am thinking I am thinking of America in this context.

If each institution had to create a digital repository there would need to be a level of expertise in maintaining such a system. Though I am happy as a librarian to add in new skills, this seems like a mammoth job in shove in the information professions.

The cost implications of who would pay for such a scheme.

There is another option- Green Open Access, this is when a manuscript that is not in the fully published form  but it held within a repository after an embargoed period.

As access is currently mainly granted to academic institutions- others miss out, those with bigger budgets can purchase more. Working in a smallish college means I will never have the budget that a multi-million pound university library. Introducing such a policy would help smaller institutions more than large ones.

The general idea does seem to have merit, and there would be a positive impact on the UK in terms of the amount of research that could be generated, as well as people not working in such silos of information and economic benefits. Yet at the moment more needs to be explored in terms of the pricing and cost to publishers, authority over information, ease of dissemination, storage, impact of changing technology and engagement from publishers. As we have already seen Art book publisher as less willing to provide Ebooks. Therefore limiting the impact and making it less of a national project and more of a STEM one.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Advance learning in libraries: an American approach.

Having just read the very exciting article entitled: 4 strategies in advance learning in libraries This paper was written in America and it is fascinating to read, several library leaders came together over 2 years to identify impact and outcomes of funding for libraries. Though this paper looks at federal funding, and examples are American. This is something useful to take from our state side information professionals. Having attended many conferences over the last few years, it has always occurred to me that America is somewhat ahead of the game. Having introduced a national Information Literacy month... yet the UK lags behind.

So to return to the summary article on these meetings. Though the meetings covered many topics, and looked at a variety of information professionals settings, 4 main themes were established. A full report is accessible which on my reading list.

In brief, for now, here are the 4 topics

  1. Connect LIS education and professional development to 21st century librarianship- starting and progressing from school librarians, this section looks at creating a new space and new services fit for the 21st century. Librarians should be embedded within the community that they work with. 
  2. Pursue research that connects with library practice- connecting research that informs and is informed by practice. Working with others, and ensuring dissemination needs to be optimal for impact and influence. 
  3. Designing participatory learning programs that demonstrate innovation and scalability- Design and develop library programmes that aid patrons over their lifespan.
  4. Develop cross-disciplinary collaborations that advance library services nationwide- Engage with other non library organisations on a national level, to broaden the service of the library to new audiences. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Cilip update September highlights

Ok, this issue clearly didn't have as much to engage me in the issue. Lots of space is dedicated to the up and coming LMS showcase, an event that I attended last year. Which was very useful and informative- considering the change in system that I am currently investigating. Obviously having attended the event already it holds limited interest to myself now...and probably won't hold any interest again until my employer thinks about changing. However being in that position last year the event was very useful...having the top LMS providers in one room.

But a few things caught my eye in terms of interesting things to read- firstly was the highlighted research project developed by Cilip. Potentially useful with my employer having an emphasis on individuals completing and presenting research ideas- plus my own personal plan is to complete my Masters within the next few years. Having already done a post grad in library and information studies, I left prior to the Dissertation- at the time not seeing the relevance of such a project and instead invested my time in Chartership. Reading this article there is possible future uses for being involved in such a project. Also as I am an Art librarian, of which we are a dying bred and being located within the south west, teaming up with others or working as part of a wider group always has it's advantages. This is on my watch list.

There was one interesting article- by Duncan Chappell, following up one year on from the terrible fire at Glasgow School of Art, which damaged the library and book stock. A year ago I was covering the maternity post for the co-editors role at ARLIS and contacted Glasgow School of Art so highlight the cause of the library. One year on, improvements have been made, which is so good to see.