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.

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.

Thing 7 – Podcasts

Okay, so for the last couple of years friends have been encouraging me to listen to podcasts. I was 100% fully sure that they weren’t my thing. Then yesterday I gave Serial a go and I have to be honest I listened to more episodes in one day than I’m proud to admit to. So Serial is probably one of the most popular podcasts ever and a great starter podcast but not perhaps indicative of what other podcasts will be like so has it encouraged me to listen to more? The short answer is ‘Yes, absolutely!’

It’s funny how we can convince ourselves that something isn’t our cup of tea without really trying it. I guess my stubborn personality has a lot to do with it – so many people told me to listen that I dug my heels in and decided I wanted to be a bit different I guess. Silly I know but obviously I’m only realising this about myself now that I’m forced to reflect – something to work on.

I really enjoyed Serial, the reporter is very engaging and the story itself is fascinating. I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy other podcasts as much but it has finally made me open to the idea of podcasts as a form of entertainment. I enjoyed the fact that I could listen while pottering around my apartment getting bits and pieces done. I can now see myself heading out for a long walk with a podcast for company. I’ll never be one of these people that can listen on the tube in the morning, as with reading I tend to get immersed and hate having to stop at a specific time – what if I get to a really good part? I have no self-control when it comes to these things, clearly given my earlier admission I’m a binger.

I’m looking forward to trying out some of the other podcasts on the Rudai list and I have a friend who is going to send me a list so I’ll be kept busy. I’m interested to see if I’ll enjoy any of the library-related podcasts.

As far as making my own? I don’t think so, at least not yet. However, I work with heritage collections and I can actually see how podcasts would be useful in telling tales from history, or medical history to be precise. We do use a blog but some of the stories are so fascinating and a short blog post can’t do them justice, perhaps a podcast would be the perfect forum.

By David Fuchs (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Thing 6 – Reflective Practice

I’ve really been enjoying Rudai23 and it has given me the opportunity and motivation to use this blog again which is great. However, I’m a bit behind at the moment and trying to catch up with my Things. Life got in the way for a few weeks but that’s okay isn’t it? It’s nice to see on the Rudai blog roll that we’re all at different stages and this kind-of takes some pressure off. Which is good because life/work gets in the way for all of us at times.

Although I haven’t commented on a lot of blogs I have read quite a number and I guess my big take-home is that I feel that I really fit with all of you lovely library people. Reading about people’s journeys into librarianship and how they feel about the profession is really something special. One thing I really love is that despite difficulties in libraries over the last couple of years I have yet to come across one blog that speaks about librarianship in a negative way. From what I have seen we love our jobs or our studies in librarianship and that says a lot.

Two years ago today I handed in my Capstone project and although it was financially difficult at times (like when I was interning) I haven’t regretted my decision to move into librarianship for a second. It has led me here – to being a very happy member of the library community and to a job I absolutely love. Through my work in the past I have helped people when they really needed it; I’ve helped build search strategies, found genealogical information that people thought was impossible to find and just been a ear to listen when someone needed it. And now in my new role I’m learning even more, this week I spent an entire week looking through and researching elephant folios from the 19th century. I’ve done so many different things and I’m loving it.

As far as the other posts go it is very interesting to hear how people feel about social media. I think for the most part there was a lot of agreement about using different tools for different purposes (i.e.Twitter/LinkedIn professionally and Facebook for personal social networking). I’m interested to see how the level of consensus will change as we move forward to tools that are a little less mainstream.