Thing 4: Google

I have a Google+ account but I don’t actually use it that much except for my Gmail account.

I do think that there are some very interesting and useful features on Google+ and my favourite has to be Google Hangouts which I hadn’t heard of before this 23 things course, so thanks again to the team. It’s a really good video and chat service and it makes it possible to see and speak to people from across the world! It makes collaborations such as this one possible.

I got involved in the Rudai23 Hangout which was shared with the rest of the participants and is available for the world to see on YouTube. Check it out


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

Thing 23: Making it all work together

I’ve attempted to use Hootsuite before and I am not a fan… I had another go at setting it up and I am just really confused by it and I don’t think I personally would find it useful. I like to spend time on each of my social media platforms because they are individual and unique and that’s why I use them. When I look at the Hootsuite dashboard I just see a mass of stuff and I think that takes the fun out of social media.

However, in a library setting I can see its potential as a great time saver and I would consider using it to manage the library’s social media accounts. In a library setting, social media is being used for a very specific purpose and not just for fun.

I have had another go with Flipboard and I’ve added my LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ accounts and so far it’s looking good so I will give it another go.

I can’t believe it’s come to an end! The last few posts have been hard for me to find time to complete and I’ve literally just made the deadline (I hope). I’ve come a long way since I completed Thing 1 and I feel it has helped me to become a better reflective thinker and a better librarian.

Thank you for providing this course, it’s been great! 🙂


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

Thing 22: Goodreads (Mobile Things)

I had a go with the GUM app but it would not work with my iPad for some reason so I am going to review Goodreads instead.

“Knowledge is power, and power is best shared among readers” – Otis Chandler, CEO and Co-Founder of Goodreads

Goodreads is an online “social cataloguing” site and app. I am going to review the app because it is what I use the most and I prefer to use it over the website. You can search the user-populated database that boasts over 1.1 billion titles. I am actually considering signing up to be a Goodreads librarian. I would be able to help improve the metadata on the database to ensure that people can find books and get the best possible information about the titles they are interested in.


These are my Goodreads bookshelves


These are the books I’m reading at the moment.

I regularly use Goodreads to track my reading process, add books that I want to read and to keep a record of the books I’ve read. I always come across books that I want to read so I simply add them to my to-read shelf with the scan function which I LOVE! It works so well. I’ve never had a barcode that wasn’t scanable on Goodreads. I don’t know about anyone else but I find it really entertaining scanning books.


A screenshot of the barcode scanning function in action. You need to get a little closer than this to scan but you get the idea.

My favourite function is the reading challenge. When I set my self a goal it makes it a lot harder to fail. So by setting myself a reading challenge on Goodreads I am essentially forcing myself to read which is good because I like reading… But it is easy to fall behind on my reading when I am busy and setting myself a yearly challenge helps me to keep up with my reading. I am not sure how many books I should set myself next year… How many books should a librarian be reading each year?

goodreads 3

I’ve read 20 books this year.

My least favourite function is actually the social element of the app. I am not really that interested in what everyone else is reading… I know that sounds kind of horrible but I think it is probably because not that many of my friends are using Goodreads. I do however check out other reader’s book reviews if I am unsure about a book and they usually help me to decide whether I should go ahead and start reading it. Most users are serious and respectful and will warn you if their review contains spoilers.

Goodreads has great functionality, it’s a fun way of tracking your reading process and it’s great for reading inspiration. One of the best apps on my phone! 🙂


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


Thing 19 – The legal side of things


 I wanted to put this blog post on hold until I had been to Play, Games and Information Literacy workshop because on the programme for the day was a workshop called the “copyright card game” which I thought might be an interesting thing to blog about.

I have been aware of copyright for a while but only in the last year or so have I really started to pay attention to it. We have also just covered copyright at university so I now feel I understand it all a lot more. However, I would still be cautious and not entirely confident if I was asked to advise a member of staff on what is acceptable for them to use in the classroom.

Copyright can be one of the more complicated and tedious things to learn/ teach and game that can add an element of fun and competition to this *ahem* dry topic is something that I’m very interested in! I love games, who doesn’t!? It is such a clever and sneaky way to teach people; they think they are having fun and are getting out of the learning task but they are learning, just in a more creative and engaging way. I know that I learnt a lot more at the workshop playing that game than I would have done if they had of just talked about copyright.

Here is the link to the copyright card game. It’s available as an open educational game resource and you can download everything you need to play it. The game is actually really quite difficult and it just goes to show that even when the room was full of librarians and information professionals; we didn’t know all of the answers. It would be a really great game to play to teach staff about copyright. I will certainly be thinking a lot more about what I am sharing online, especially on Pinterest… I am probably be a full blown copyright criminal because of my Pinterest activity but now I know.

Thing 21: Infographics

I really like infographics. It is one of the best ways of displaying information simply and interestingly. Check out my attempt at creating one using Venngage which is a free infographic creator. It is really easy to use and there are loads of themes and icons available for you to use. I didn’t use any stats or data, it’s just a social media top tips infograph. I can’t download my infographic with Venngage unfortunately so next time I think I will use easelly, it looks just as good and that functionality is really important you are going to use it in the library.

I think infographics could be very useful in the library especially as a way of getting important information to students. I think information that is colourful, attractive and gets to the point quickly is more likley to be read in the first place.


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

Thing 20 Presentations

Here is the link to my job interview Prezi  

And here is the link to my Grad Trainee Prezi 

Presentations used to absolutely terrify me! Especially when I first started at university. I remember doing really badly in one presentation and then I hated them. Standing up in front of people and speaking is an understandably scary thing for many people and unless you are the most confident person in the world, you are bound to be nervous.

The key thing to presenting I’ve learnt is to prepare like crazy! It is very obvious to the audience if you haven’t prepared and I guess the thing that is the scariest about presenting in front of people is not being able to speak confidently about something. If you have really prepared and practiced then there is no need to worry (apart from the normal nerves of course).

Since university I have done my fair share of presentations and I think you only get better with experience. Uni is the best time to practice presentations and become confident when doing them. You have a sympathetic audience but it is also quite high pressured and nerve-wracking at the same time but the best thing is that you get feedback on how to improve. If you are no longer at uni and you have a presentation you need to prepare for, I would recommend boring a friend or partner with it. Rehearse it in front of them and ask them to critique you honestly. Going over the presentation several times helps you to look more prepared on the day. Practice makes perfect as they say!

Many job interviews nowadays include a short presentation assessment as part of the process and in my opinion these are the worst kind of presentations but then again, I prefer them to the actual interviewing part. If you prepare and do a memorable presentation you’re halfway there to securing the position. If you can come across as confident and friendly when speaking in front of the interviewers you are going to impress them. I was very worried when I was told I had to do a presentation in front of the entire library service at Bradford University at the end of my graduate traineeship: I remember thinking I’d made a terrible mistake in accepting the position! In reality it was the best experience and now I’ve done that I think I would be happy to attempt an even bigger audience… a conference even!

My top presentation tips:

  • Prepare – seems obvious but make sure you know what you are taking about inside out. Don’t just learn what you are going to say because you may be asked to elaborate on certain points or asked tricky questions after the presentation is over.
  • Practice – Reading from your notes is never a good presentation look… Learn what you need to say and practice. Use your notes as prompts rather than reading from them. If you have presented it over and over again, this should be fairly straight forward.
  • Don’t put too much information on a slide and definitely don’t overload it with words. People want to listen to you, they don’t want to have to read! Use the information on the slides as key points on which to elaborate and build upon. Quotes are good though, everyone likes a good quote right (just make sure the person you are quoting actually said it/ you know where the quote came from).
  • Make eye contact – speak to your audience but don’t pay too much attention to what they are doing. Don’t panic because they are making notes.
  • Try something different… PowerPoint presentations can be a little boring. My manager was so pleased when I did a prezi instead of a PowerPoint at my interview. 
  • Have some water handy in case your mouth gets dry
  • Prepare a backup plan! What happens if your presentation is on a USB stick and you lose it on your way… Email it to yourself, store it on Dropbox… anything!
  • Don’t worry and enjoy 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.

Thing 18 Communicating Through Pictures

I mentioned this article in one of my previous blog posts but I am going to mention it again because this post is looking specifically at Instagram. I think every library should have an Instagram account or an equivalent. You can’t see all of the pretty book covers when they are stuck on the shelves… but you can see them in Instagram (or Pinterest!).

There is a really interesting fittingly titled “#selfiesinthestacks” which looks at how Instagram can be used by libraries to conduct library inductions and in doing so, alleviate library anxiety in new students, increase user engagement and offer active learning experiences. The author questions how much information students realistically retain whilst attending traditional library inductions, especially when so much is going on at the start of term. She developed a fantastic library induction 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 ( She then logged into the account on each of the iPads (6 of them). This obviously depends on the library having these kinds of resources available for students to use. Tablets can be expensive and although a lot of people have their own mobile devices, not everyone does. I am unsure how well this would work if you had the students using their own devices. We are lucky that we have around 8 tablets at work that we would be able to use for this sort of thing. It would be possible then to have groups of students sharing a tablet and doing these activities.
  • She 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. This is still ensuring that the students are getting the information they need to be able to use the library. I think library inductions need to be short and sweet and it is not necessary at this stage to go through things in a huge amount of detail. Academic, research and study skills can be saved for later.
  • Students were asked to get into groups of three to five people and choose a team name. This is the fun bit!
  • 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. This is obviously an activity that would require the students to talk and it would be quite a noise activity and it depends on the kind if library as to whether it would be appropriate to have groups of students running around. But I think an activity such as this one would help students to develop a better opinion of the library. If their first experience in the library environment is a positive, fun one then they are more like to see the library as a dynamic environment where they want to spend time, rather than a place where they are constantly being shushed. A sixth form college library is never silent! Therefore, I don’t think we would need to worry about the students making too much noise in this environment. What we may need to worry about is students uploading images that are not based on the prompts if you know what I’m saying… I guess you would just need to moderate the posts before they are made public.
  • When they returned they looked through all of the images on a projector together and had a discussion about their experience. We have our own classroom in the library that is used for inductions and lessons so we would be able to take the students in there for the presentation and once they have completed their activity.

I really like this idea and I really want to do it! Our library needs an Instagram account first but it is something I am working on. I convinced Bradford University library and I will convince Ashton! I have plenty of time to plan a session such as this one and introduce it to the team. I think everyone will like the idea, fingers crossed.

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.

Thing 17 – Reflective Practice

Using the Gibbs Reflective Cycle model to reflect upon on the work I am doing in my job is going to be a really useful way of monitoring how well I am doing in my new role. It will be especially useful as most of what I am doing is actually all new to me so there is going to be a lot that I can learn from my experiences.

When I think of reflective practice, for some reason I think about it being a task that takes a long time but I guess if you do it properly and follow this model then all you really need is a couple of lines for each point and then you will have something very useful for yourself and your team.

I can’t really do a full analysis of a specific event or project yet because I am still settling in but I will have a bit of a go. I started my new job at the start of October. I am a Learning Facilitator at a Sixth Form College library in Manchester. Myself and another lady job share and there are two other Learning Facilitators and an administrator on the team. We are responsible for the running of the library service, collection development, curriculum liaison etc in the college. So far it has been both exciting and challenging. As my graduate trainee experience is the main library experience I have I sometimes feel that I don’t have enough experience to be doing what I am doing but I am just overthinking things because I am doing everything perfectly fine (I think). I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment with the amount of work and responsibility I now have in this role but this is also a positive thing.

It is really good to actually be working in a library, nevermind in a professional role. I couldn’t have imagined this time a year ago that I would be at university studying for my Masters degree and working in a College. It is fantastic experience and I can learn more/ develop the skills that I am learning at university. The team recently went through a big restructure so another great thing about this job is that I am able to help shape the library at the college which again is another great experience. New ideas are welcome and I am able to pursue projects that interest me.

It is difficult working part-time as I have always worked full-time. I am in 3 days then there are 4 days when I am not in so by the time I go to work it feels like it has been a long time since I was last in and this makes it difficult to remember things I have to do, catch up on emails and so on. I think the way to resolve this is to plan for things better and make sure I plan what I am going to be doing when I am in work in advance. It is also worth me having a talk in more detail with my job share partner to see how she manages her time. I am asking lots of questions (sometimes possibly too many) but I feel this is the best way for me to learn how to do things and to keep up to date with what is going on.

This is probably a bad example to use for the gibbs reflective model because the thing I am reflecting on hasn’t ended so I can’t really talk about the outcome but I can think about some of the things I would do better. I would make better notes. I have a notepad full of random scribblings in a random order and some of the information I have noted down is actually really important and I do need to refer back to it regularly. It would make my job a lot easier if I had of taken better, neater notes and I will definitely remember this next time.

I am going to blog about the projects I am doing/ the new experiences in my job when I am settled in and I will refer back to this model. Thanks Rudai 23

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.

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 🙂

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 and I challenge you to not get emotional! What a great project for library advocacy! They’re on Twitter too

I really liked the Voices for the Library campaign! Some interesting info here about library closures and what you can do about them

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.