Thing 16: Collaboration Tools

Both in my new library role and at university collaboration tools are very important. As I am part time for both of these things I often find myself out of the loop. It’s difficult for everyone to have to catch you up on what’s been happening whilst you have been away but thanks to the joys of the internet and collaboration tools, they don’t have to!

I am currently working on a group presentation assignment at university and I was a little worried at first because I am only in uni one day a week so this makes group work quite difficult. But we all have access to Google Drive so it’s as simple as setting up a shared folder and sharing our research. We have one document that is a presentation draft and then we are all just uploading our findings onto separate documents.This ensures everyone has access to what everyone else is doing so when we do come together it will hopefully be easy to put the assignment together. Some of the tutors have also had us working on documents in Google Drive and I think it is a fantastic thing! What would we do without it!?

It is also very important in my new role that we regularly update the contents of the shared documents on OneDrive. We use it for statistics, rotas, learning materials, finance and ordering and lots more! As we all work different shift patterns it is crucial that there is a shared space that we all can access and contribute to.

All in all, I’m a fan 🙂

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Thing 15: Advocacy for Libraries

I genuinely believe public libraries exist for the good of the people and they deserve to be bragged about. I am going to be telling you about some of the things that I think are great about public libraries but I am also going to tell you some things that are not so great.

Who am I kidding, public libraries are great. What’s not so great is the fact that we have to actually speak up for libraries in the first place, defend them and justify their existence and relevance. The way the media portrays libraries also doesn’t help the situation but of course they wouldn’t have any attention grabbing news stories if they simply reported on the fantastic, everyday occurrences that take place in libraries. Instead headlines such as ‘UK libraries out of use by 2020’ grab the readers… The positive stories that come out of libraries just don’t make the news. The negative stories in the news are actually quite dangerous! They suggest our libraries are riddled with underachievement, failures and underperformance which absolutely contradicts what library staff are doing on the ground. It is unfair to make these assumptions and to share them in the news where everybody believes what they read. Library staff make positive contributions to members of society every day and stories such as these are simply untrue. Utter garbage actually! With the advent of the internet and popularity of e-resources libraries have been deemed to be “no longer relevant”. If you agree with Terry Deary, then you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about (to put it politely).

See below for short videos from the three libraries that have been shortlisted for the CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award

Libraries provide vital services to people from all walks of life under the convenience of one roof. They offer a sense of community, they are nice places to spend time, they encourage you to learn, provide endless amounts of information, free to use books and e-books, parents don’t have to face the daunting homework task alone, local history, family history, language support, book groups, supporting businesses, teaching people how to research and make informed decisions, helping people find legal information, getting people online, boosting people’s confidence, encouraging reading, supporting the elderly… what’s not to like?

Nick Poole puts it best “public libraries provide everyone with opportunities for learning and inspiration. They help people find work and set up their own business. Libraries are places where children and young people discover the joys of reading, learn new skills like coding and get help with their homework. They tackle social exclusion and isolation. They improve health and wellbeing and help people get online. Everyone is welcome and the space belongs to the public, which is increasingly rare in our communities.” (Nick Poole, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals)

Around 15% of Brits do not have access to the internet at home. Can you think of a place where they can go to use the internet for free and get support in doing so? Even if people do have access to the internet at home, it doesn’t mean necessarily mean they know how to use it. I’ve recently been volunteering in my local public library offering IT taster sessions and it really has opened my eyes to what libraries can offer people and how important they actually are.

Libraries mean a lot to people; they did in the past and they still do today. Check out the Library Stories project for examples of what Sheffield libraries mean to the people http://www.librarystories.co.uk/ and I challenge you to not get emotional! What a great project for library advocacy! They’re on Twitter too https://twitter.com/library_stories

http://www.librarystories.co.uk/present/

http://www.librarystories.co.uk/past/

I really liked the Voices for the Library campaign! Some interesting info here about library closures and what you can do about them http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/campaigns/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-library-closurescampaigns/

P.S. *PREACH* If you don’t have a library card, you need to get one! 🙂  If you really want to be a library advocate, use your library! *PREACH*

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

Augmented Reality: Making Libraries Cool

This is one of the things I’ve been most looking forward to because it just seems so sci-fi to me! It’s SO cool! 🙂

HAPPY BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY!  renatodantasc - https://www.flickr.com/photos/57212277@N03/

HAPPY BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY!
renatodantasc – https://www.flickr.com/photos/57212277@N03/

Of course, libraries don’t need augmented reality (AR) to be cool… But if done right, AR could be a really interesting library project and it would be a fun way to host library inductions. Most library inductions involve talking to people and telling them things, showing people around the library and/or handing out maps etc and this isn’t exactly the most thrilling of activities… It usually involves a lecture with some slides on what the library has on offer. Letting students explore and find things for themselves is a good way to keep them engaged and to keep things fun. You can do this in a traditional method such as giving them a map to follow and doing a library treasure hunt etc.

I will be involved in developing library inductions next year and I am really wanting to try something different and this could be it! Having an interesting and engaging library induction sets the tone for the rest of the year: especially if the induction shows the library to be a modern place that uses fun and interesting technologies.  A lot of students have mobile devices and we have 8 tablets in the library that we could use so hopefully having the devices shouldn’t be a problem.

We could partner with teachers and people from drama/ media/ TV production type courses to help us create original content to use as the overlays for our real world images/ auras in Aurasma. Getting students to talk about the resources we have and the things in the library that they are interested in could really help to make the content interesting and relevant to the students. I am so excited to be working in a library that has a fiction section and I think AR and book trailers could be something we could look into as well.

I’ve had a play around with Aurasma and there is so much potential! I tried to upload some historical speeches but it wasn’t in the correct format and it was really difficult finding the stuff to download in the first place. The aura I’ve attempted to create is a bit rubbish and I’ve reused the video I did for Thing 9 and I’ve made it public but I can’t seem to view it in the app (angry Amy). My username is as original as ever: amyward2009. Let me know if you have any luck viewing it and I will keep working on it.

I like the idea of uploading videos but I don’t know if there is a way to upload video URLs? It seems that it is more useful for original content. I am a little bit worried about using content I have found online but there is so much good stuff out there! Any advice?

Either way on my next evening shift I am going to have a play around in the library with Aurasma and Layar and I am going to do some more research into AR and how to develop a project from the library I work in. I think the students and my manager will love it!

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

GT Project: An investigation into the use of social media at the University of Bradford Library

Flickr mkhmarketing.wordpress.com

Flickr mkhmarketing.wordpress.com

For my graduate trainee project, I investigated how the University of Bradford (UoB) Library could improve its use of social media (SM) to promote library services and connect with users. I completed a literature review which helped me to understand the existing research, I assessed the library’s social media and made suggestions on how to improve it. I looked at the way similar institutions conduct themselves online and made comparisons. I also surveyed the University of Bradford Library staff to see how they felt about using social media to connect with users. It was a very useful thing to do as it really helped inform my suggestions and it also helped me to feel more confident knowing that most people were in agreement. This is a brief excerpt from my project 🙂

With the ever increasing popularity of social networking sites (SNS) and their widespread popularity, it is important that the library exploits this method of communication. Libraries are expected to have many streams of communication open with users and social media provides an excellent opportunity to connect with staff, existing and prospective students and colleagues in a novel way.

There are many ways in which social media can be used in a meaningful and beneficial way, especially within an academic library. Social media can be used to promote the library, have real-time customer service conversations with users and receive feedback. Most librarians understand that social media is an important tool that can help them to deliver their services. Here is a list of some of the ways in which social media could be used in the academic library:

  • To build a sense of community
  • To reach users in their homes and ‘virtual spaces’ as many people can now access lots of library resources outside of the library
  • To seek user’s opinions on library services, respond to user feedback and use it as an opportunity for self-assessment
  • Publicise events such One World Week and the recent special collections Mitrinovic Symposium
  • Promote new acquisitions
  • Promote and increase usage of library collections
  • Promoting workshops and inductions
  • Keep up to date with other librarians and academic institutions
  • Financial costs are believed to be low
  • As a broadcast tool for library updates and news
  • Opening hours and contact details
  • To connect with new and current students, as well as alumni and especially distance learners
  • To connect with the academic community and university staff
  • Potentially a customer services tool – dealing with enquiries, feedback and complaints
  • To update users on system maintenance and problems with library systems
  • Explore the use of interesting applications such as Pinterest and Instagram for inductions and workshop

My favourite article fittingly titled “#selfiesinthestacks” looked at how Instagram can be used by libraries to alleviate library anxiety in first year students, increase user engagement and offer active learning experiences. Wallis questions how much information students realistically retain whilst attending traditional library inductions, especially when so much is going on at the start of term. Wallis developed a fantastic library programme using Instagram which introduced new students to the library in a fun, social and modern way.

  • She downloaded the Instagram app on the library’s iPads and created a library account (https://instagram.com/umlibrary/). She then logged into the account on each of the iPads (6 of them).
  • She then presented a short PowerPoint which was a brief introduction to the library, directing students to the library catalogues, describing the layout of the library and explaining the task.
  • Students were asked to get into groups of three to five people and choose a team name.
  • Each group received an iPad and a sheet of paper with the following prompts listed. All apart from the specific book title are open to interpretation.
  • The weirdest book
  • Something confusing
  • The best study spot
  • This book (each group was given a different book to find)
  • Your group and a member of library staff
  • A DVD you want to watch
  • Students would then use the iPads to take photos based on the prompts and upload them to the library’s Instagram account.
  • The groups were given 30 minutes to explore the library
  • When they returned they looked through all of the images on a projector together and had a discussion about their experience.

There is little doubt that social media is becoming an integral part of 21st century communication and this is increasingly the case in how we conduct our personal lives, our education and our careers. In order to appreciate social media, to some extent you need to immerse yourself in it; you must understand why you are spending time on it, be acceptant of the positives and negatives and be aware of the opportunities that it presents. Using social media yourself is good practice for when you use in on behalf of the library.

There are many obstacles and challenges associated with using social media in a consistent and meaningful way. If the library does not keep an eye open on social media, it is possible that we will miss important discussions and feedback that are related to the library. The conversation will happen, whether the library wants to listen or not and not everyone is going to have positive things to say. People do use social media to share both negative and positive experiences they have had with institutions, organisations and businesses.

It is easy to be worried about using social media in a professional setting because of unprofessional, negative comments. People will say negative things on social media and there are advantages to facing this negativity head on. We can try to resolve any problems the user might be having, we can apologise and we can try to make it right. People will also say positive things and when they do, it is good for us to know that we are doing things right. Social media could be used as another means of gathering student feedback in addition to the traditional methods already in place. It is a lot easier for a student to send an email or write a comment online than it is to fill in a form and post it in the library. For many service providers, customer service has gone way beyond simply speaking to someone in person, by email or on the telephone.

Staff and students alike need to be aware of the impact social media can have on people’s lives. People should conduct themselves as they would in any normal social situation and that involves being polite, respectful and appreciative of the fact that by law everyone has the right to freedom of expression. The catch being that when you voice your opinion on social media, you are inviting people to do the same. So it is important that all posts are carefully considered as they can come back to bite you, as they did with Paris Brown in 2013. Comments she had posted in the past on Twitter were investigated for possible criminal offences. Paris posted tweets when she was between the ages of 14-16 which were considered to be racist and homophobic. At the age of 17 she had just been appointed Britain’s first youth crime commissioner but was forced to resign due to her previous ill-thought-out tweets.

With prospective employers having free access to social media just as everyone else does, it is important that people, especially students, know how to conduct themselves online. They need to take responsibility for their own actions, learn about their online privacy and be aware that when they post things online, it can be there for the whole world to see. Librarians are in a fantastic postion to demonstrate how best to use social media, but first they need to be on social media.

Here are some of the Padlets I made to go alongside my project:

Using the existing literature, making comparisons with other academic institutions and surveying UoB library staff, I explored the negative and positive aspects of social media. Social media does not have to be difficult and it does not have to take up huge amounts of time. But a tailored social media strategy needs to be in place and social media needs to be monitored regularly if it is to be successful. If our efforts can help students find useful information they would otherwise not have found or to seek help in the library because he/she saw us pop up on their social media feed, then that is a job well done.

See this link for my presentation http://prezi.com/vpzaqq4g4mpe/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Thing 13: Professional Organisations

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) 

As a new professional I think being a member of CILIP is really important because it is the leading, authoritative body which represents library professionals and aspiring library professionals. It is a good place to learn more about the library profession, professional values and ethics and library advocacy.

Anyone who is studying to become an information professional or anyone who is undertaking a graduate traineeship is entitled to free membership and it is definitely worth taking advantage of this. There is lots of information available about starting your career in libraries, salary guides and there is LISJOBSNET which is where I found my current position yay.

CILIP has a VLE which is for members and allows you to access learning materials, CPD resources and webinars. I watched a webinar on how to write a CV and it was great because it was aimed at information professionals. Most CV information out there is very generic and isn’t really all that helpful so this was great. Members also have access to the Impact Toolkit which helps librarians develop as professionals and provides resources on how to demonstrate impact in the workplace. There are loads of other resources such as your own personal portfolio which you can populate and there are template CVs and other things for you to use as well.

There is also the Professional Knowledge Skills Base (PKSB) which I have only looked at briefly but is an excellent resource. It brings together generic, technical and professional skills which can be used as a CPD/ self-assessment tool. I’m too busy with my new job and University work at the moment to look into this but I may look at it in more detail over the summer and when I am a qualified librarian (2 years).

Attending events is also another reason to sign up. I’ve attended a few free events now which I’ve seen on the CILIP website on in email newsletters. I was supposed to be going to the New Professional’s Day but I decided to give it a miss (I’ll go next year) because I was just starting a new job but my new employer is enthusiastic about me attending these kinds of events so being a member of CILIP is advantageous if you want to go to events and workshops.

I wrote a piece for a newsletter for the CILIP Yorkshire and Humberside and NLPN ‘Get Career Ready’ event. If you can write for CILIP or for one of the special interest groups or regional networks it is a really good opportunity and experience. Everyone has varied experiences and opinions and through CILIP people can share their thoughts and it is the best way to keep up to date with the profession and the changes that are happening all of the time.

The CILIP Update magazine is also an added bonus. It can be a really interesting read and I have it on the app that they have created which is really useful. I will be keeping my eye open for grants and bursary opportunities because I would love to get funding to go to a conference. That would be too amazing!

As a member of CILIP you are entitled to membership of two special interest groups and as I’ve just moved into FE, I have changed my membership to the Academic & Research Libraries Group and the Youth Libraries Group so I will hopefully be able to get more involved and learn lots from those two groups in the near future.

It is nice to be a member of a professional body; knowing that you are not alone and there are people out there to talk to and get advice from. The codes of professional practice and CILIP’s ethical principles provide librarians with a framework on how to conduct themselves and manage their responsibilities. I got a little tingle of happiness when I read them as I feel like I am part of something bigger and that all of the other librarians and myself can take on the world!

Flickr - Yassin Hassan http://bit.ly/1OFyEsK

Flickr – Yassin Hassan http://bit.ly/1OFyEsK