Thing 12 – Attending Conferences

I recently attended the National Acquisitions Conference in York. Thankfully, library management in my institution are very encouraging when it comes to continuing professional development and they came to me with the idea. As my contract is project-based there was funding already allocated and my colleague was also attending as she was leading a workshop on our Collections Review Project. The conference was very well organised and new delegates were identifiable by stickers on their name-tags. This meant that the conference organisers could make sure they got around and introduced themselves which I felt was a very nice touch. There was also a slightly earlier drinks reception for new delegates before the conference dinner which meant we could hang out with people in the same boat and get to know each other.

When attending conferences I do sometimes tend to stick to people I know. I find it hard to branch out when I don’t absolutely have to. Having said that, I think workshops at events are great because they force you into discussion. I always try to take notes as I like to write up conferences for the purposes of documenting my CPD. In fact I will be writing a report on the NAG conference for Libfocus (which reminds me that is another thing on my to-do list!!) At this conference they experimented with Glisser; unfortunately, there were a few issues especially regarding android tablets but I can see these being a very useful tool once the kinks are ironed out. The idea is to allow people access to the slides and be interactive while taking notes, tweeting etc.

One thing I would say about attending events like this is that it is always a good idea to go over your notes and the presentations again when they are available. There’s always far too much to take in on the day.

As for next time I guess I’ll try to chat to a few more people. I would love to find a new professionals group event to attend as I think I would feel a bit more comfortable in that environment. However, the important thing is that although they can be slightly nerve-wracking I will continue to attend events because once I get past the initial nerves it is great to meet new people and it is always great to learn new things.

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Thing 13 – Professional Organisations

I became a student member of the Library Association of Ireland when I was completing my MLIS. It was invaluable to me because it was through Library Association of Ireland group events that I became acquainted with so many of the amazing librarians I now know. There is a huge support network available if you can just put yourself out there enough to attend a conference or networking event and say hello. And, the fact is that it is easier to stay in the loop when you are a member. I intend to remain a part of the LAI as an overseas member.

Since moving to the UK I have really missed being a part of all the LAI conferences and events. However, I have joined the Historic Libraries Forum and very recently CILIP. So far I’ve already had the opportunity to write a piece for the Historic Libraries Forum Newsletter and have attended a fascinating workshop on historic bookbinding. As regards CILIP I’m hoping not only will it be good for my CPD but it also looks good on my CV. I am also hoping to continue on to become a chartered member in the near future. If you have tips please know that you are more than welcome to get in touch!

I would like to attend some more events over here and get to know some more librarians. London is a big city and I do feel a little bit isolated sometimes, though I am lucky to be working with a lovely team and have something like Rudai23 to keep me networked.

While in Dublin I was very lucky to become a part of the Career Development Group (@LAICDG) and my only regret is that I couldn’t remain a member for as long as I would have liked. I took on the role of Secretary and really enjoyed every minute of organising events and thinking up new ways of engaging with people in the profession. I’m very proud my name was attached to the group even if it was only for a short time as they are doing such stellar work and their next event looks absolutely brilliant. I would highly recommend getting involved if you have the time; it is extremely rewarding.

For new professionals the NPDIreland group are brilliant and their events are great to get started as you know that almost everyone there will be in the same boat.

I do think we could also do more in our professional organisations, but the important thing is to try to make the most of your membership. Like I said if anyone has any hints and tips as regards chartership and/or tips about other organisations I should be joining or events I should be trying to attend here in London I would be delighted to hear from you.

Thing 11 – Reflective Practice

So I was doing so well until about Thing 7 and then life happened. I got completely out of the swing of things. Visitors and a trip home to Ireland meant that I missed a couple of weeks and then I felt so far behind I didn’t think I’d ever catch up. I missed the Hangout and the Twitter chat which was really disappointing but seeing the tweets on my feed this morning gave me the get up and go I needed to get back in the game.

I decided to focus on a couple of Things today – things that I already had experience of so I could read the blog and write up my thoughts quite quickly. Hopefully this will help me feel like I’ve caught up a bit.

Early on I had time set aside to fully concentrate on my Things but now not only have I fallen behind but my work schedule has changed which means that I need to re-examine my timetable. I’ve skipped Thing 9 until I have a time to catch up in place, but I am determined to catch up and continue.

Thankfully I am attending a conference next week so that will be great for Thing 12!

Thing 10: Live Streaming

I usually try to attend the A&SL conference but this year I was tied to my desk in work awaiting emails for a deadline and couldn’t be outside the office. Thankfully my work couldn’t really start until the emails came in and therefore it was fine for me to attend virtually. Normally I would try to follow the Twitter feed but a live stream is even better as you almost feel like you are there. The only downside is that you can’t choose breakout sessions etc or take part in the networking that happens over tea or lunch but you can network using Twitter etc to still be a part of the conversation.

At the moment I can’t think of a situation where I would need to live stream something from the library. But that doesn’t mean the opportunity won’t present itself in the future. I think that is why a course like Rudai23 is important – it is allowing us to be aware of what is out there. And yes there is a lot! Just because something is available doesn’t mean that you have to use it, we don’t need to bombard our users with every piece of technology there is, no-one appreciates that. However, as librarians we should be aware of these things so that if something does come up we know where to look for the right tools for the job.

Thing 8 – Curation Tools

Pinterest, Flipboard and Storify – I’ve used all three. Pinterest and Flipboard on a personal level. A Pinterest board for my friend’s wedding was so much fun. However, for work purposes I love Storify. Any organisation with a Twitter account should consider how they can use Storify to collate and curate tweets of interest to them. I’ve used Storify to create stories about conferences or events, and when I was part of an LAI group we used it to exhibit a twitter chat we had so that people who couldn’t participate at the time could still feel part of the conversation.

Unfortunately I missed the Rudai twitter chat (very disappointing) but I can’t wait to see how they use the Storify tool to put it all together!

We also use Storify in work. I think it’s a great idea for projects – create a hashtag and then collate all the tweets. It’s a quick win as it is very easy to set up but is visually appealing and accessible for stakeholders to see not only the work that is being done but also the interest the audience has in the work you are doing as it shows RTs and favourites.

If you’re using Twitter then I definitely recommend giving Storify a go!

I also love the idea of using Flipboard to create a magazine for young adults or children, I’m certainly willing to spend more time thinking how it could be useful in my domain.