Librarianing update

I’ve been in my new job nearly 3 months and the new term is well underway. I am starting to feel settled in my new role and I am really enjoying it. My role is varied and interesting and it’s so nice to be working with a huge team of library workers. I have worked with someone, in a library, who once uttered the forbidden phrase: “they don’t need the library, everything is online”. So, it is so nice to be working with people who are all on the same page…

Here’s a brief overview of the stuff I’ve doing over the past few months:

  • I have so far delivered 18 welcome talks to new and returning fashion students. These vary from 10 mins – 1 hour. I have also started to deliver Info Skills teaching sessions and I have loads more booked in. I have some upcoming visual research workshops, a session covering a research briefing from Missguided and on Monday, I will be teaching students how to use Mintel to search for market reports. I am trying to experiment with playful learning and I facilitated a “speed databasing” exercise which went well. Learning about databases isn’t the most exciting so this at least makes it a little bit more entertaining. I still can’t believe it’s my job to teach a lecture theatre/ seminar room full of university students!
  • I am developing my subject knowledge every day. I’ve signed up to lots of trade publications and mailing lists to keep up to date with the fashion, retail and textiles industries. I have started spending money, buying books and curating reading lists. Getting paid to buy books is FUN!
  • I have also joined a critical reading group and the MMU bibliophiles book club. Having the opportunity to engage with academics and colleagues from across the university is so nice. It’s challenging and stimulating – everything I could want from a place of work.
  • I have joined the referencing team. I deliver workshops and online support to students on how to cite and reference materials for their assignments. This is actually more interesting than it sounds and is really testing my knowledge. Precision is key!
  • I have joined the library’s social media team. I post on the library’s Instagram page and contribute to the overall social media strategy (I get paid to play on IG basically).
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Give us a follow @mmulibrary

  • I have also joined the copyright team which is a little bit scary. I will be advising staff and students on copyright issues, including what academics can include in their teaching resources. I’ll also be delivering training to library staff and we’ll be launching a copyright awareness campaign next year. Even though it’s scary, it is really interesting and challenging. I’ve been paying more attention to copyright news and copyright in the beauty and fashion industries is actually fascinating. I came across The Fashion Law which is super interesting. The legality of make-up dupes and Instagram photos is my jam. Here’s some coverage of the latest James Charles Vs Wet N Wild scandal.
  • I am also on the Equality and Diversity team. We deal with enquiries from students with disabilities and work to ensure we are offering an inclusive environment where all students can make full use of our facilities and services. We are also working to ensure our collections are diverse and representative. As an ally, being in this team enables me to do my bit to make a difference for our students. We’re putting together a library guide to signpost the Library’s collections featuring authors, writers and content relating to the many different and diverse communities and identities across the University and beyond. We are working to challenge the whitewashing of the curriculum and will be advising academics on how to create diverse and representative reading lists.
  • I’ve joined Wakelet! I am using this to promote resources in a visual way. I need to figure out how I can get students and staff to look at it…

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  • I work in the customer service team on the help desk in a supervisory role which is also terrifying. It’s great working in a team with hard-working, experienced and knowledgeable people. Over the Summer, the info desk has been very quiet! The start of term has been crazy, as is expected, but its been nice having the library full of people and being asked questions.
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We get lots of training on how to improve the user experience

  • For new students, starting university is scary and confusing and it has been a privilege helping them during this exciting time in their academic lives. We gave away over 1,500 copies of Behind closed doors by Miriam Halahmy to welcome new students to the University. The author also came to visit on Wednesday and she signed my book! We had pizza, celebrated fiction and spent the afternoon talking about books! If this isn’t the dream job, I don’t know what is..?

However, it’s not all cardigans and rainbows. It’s been insanely busy and no matter how much I prepare, I still feel unprepared and anxious. I’ve had teaching sessions cancelled and changed at the last minute and I turned up to deliver a lecture to find there was no IT equipment in the room. I’ve also come down with the dreaded fresher’s flu…

But I have been welcomed by the team and I feel incredibly lucky to go to a job everyday that is stimulating, interesting, varied and enjoyable! Plus, there are tasty treats in the staff room every other day. Literally.

I’m here to stay.

Thanks for reading 🙂 

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Graduation.

Back in 2015 I was deliberating whether to do the Librarianship course at Sheffield or the MA in Library and Information Management at MMU. With the Information School apparently being No1 for Library and Information studies, I eventually settled on Sheffield because I guess it sounded more impressive.
So 3 years on I have finally completed the course! I am officially a qualified librarian!
But was it worth it?


It has been an interesting 3 years. I met some lovely people, especially during my first year. Really inspiring tutors and passionate librarians who have gone on to be successful. I did get a lot from the class discussions and seminars, something you’d probably miss out on if you were a distance learner. I did miss a lot, socially, by not doing the course full-time in Sheffield. I love the city and I really liked the campus. I would have liked to have spent more time in the libraries and the travelling really did get to me. I had to get up at 5.30am to get to uni for 9am for a few semesters and I’m really not a morning person. I simply attended classes and then went home which was a bit miserable really.
I was working part-time in the College Library so I only went over to Sheffield once a week. In reality, I felt more like a distance learning student. I did all of my studying on the train or at home. Luckily, Sheffield’s library resources are second to none. I was always able to find eBooks and online journals. If I did need a print book, the postal loans service sorted me out and auto-renewals made life easy. I love the Sheffield University Library Service!
I started working full-time during my 3rd year and at one point during the final few weeks of my dissertation, I was cooped up at home during the summer 2018 heatwave, cancelling plans with friends and stressing out! For about 2 weeks, I was convinced that my hair was falling out. My mum, friends and partner were amazing and helped me through. They cheered me up and proof read my work and I am eternally grateful.

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This was the only stress I felt during the entirety of the course which I count as a win. I definitely missed out on the intensity and stress of studying for an MA over one year – I admire all who have done this! It is an impressive feat! I managed to submit on time and that was it. I was done!
I wasn’t going to attend my graduation. Call me cheap but £51 for robes!? I didn’t really know anyone else graduating and I’d done it once. My first graduation was incredible; I was surrounded by friends and I’d literally had the best 3 years of my life! An amazing experience that was never going to be replicated. I also received two awards the first time round and I got a 1st.
But hey, I can’t scoff at a merit either. So obviously I decided to attend and I am really glad I did (we all wanted the day off work) and I did work hard after all, and I have spent a lot of money. Plus, graduation is a great excuse to dress up and celebrate!

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Most expensive mug ever?

I had a lovely day with my family and I’ll remember it forever! I watched Ciara Eastwell receive her honorary doctorate and the speeches almost had me in tears! It was amazing to hear the work of public librarians and libraries being celebrated on the day I became a Librarian.

Although… I have been calling myself a Librarian for a good few years now. I just have a certificate double confirming it. I did learn a lot on the course but I have learned most of what I know from working in a library and from colleagues, especially my grad trainee mentor, Sarah, and my colleague, Penelope. If I could do it all again, I would still do the MA but I would definitely go for a part-time, distance learning course. The Information School started a distance learning MA a year after I started the course…
I am hoping the course has opened doors that would have otherwise been closed had I not done the qualification. But there is also a hell of a lot I still have to learn. I’m not even sure what I want to do next. I do know that I will never be done with learning. I love studying and will jump at any opportunity presented to me to learn more. Hey, I might even do a PhD one day!

I am proud and confident in the knowledge that information professionals are needed now more than ever and I am excited to “officially” begin my career!

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If you fancy a career in libraries & information I’d be more than happy to talk to you about my experiences and answer your questions.

Definitely check these groups out for more info and events;

FLIP Network | Future library and information professionals

NLPN | A network for new and aspiring library professionals

CILIP

What is a library? by Dawn Finch

todmorden library

Todmorden Library | The copyright on this image is owned by Stanley Walker and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

 

Dawn hits the nail on the head! We have this local community Facebook group and last week someone posted a photograph of the “Train Station Library” and everyone was in love with it!

It’s great that people want to share with the community. It’s great that people are giving their old books new lease of life; but it’s not a Library.

We have a fantastic local Library. Why are people not shouting about that? And guess what, it’s full of books that you can use for FREE + so much more.

 

book swap

“Train Station Library”

A Medley Of Extemporanea

We all know the answer to this question, right? Sadly, it seems not. Even the briefest scan through recent articles in mainstream media shows that there is definitely a skewed understanding of what a PUBLIC library actually is.

At its most basic level, a library is a curated collection of books and other materials. Of course this does not fit when we add the word “public” to “library.” This is where things need a bit more explanation.

Wikipedia does quite a neat job of explaining the basics of what a public library is. It says this

“A public library is a library that is accessible by the general public and is generally funded from public sources, such as taxes. It is operated by librarians and library paraprofessionals, who are also civil servants.”

I think that rather neatly sums it up. I would also add -“forming part of the statutory public…

View original post 2,274 more words

Life of a Learning Facilitator

It’s coming to the end of a busy and eventful year. My manager left before the start of this academic year and I have really, really missed her! She interviewed me and hired me back in October 2015 and she was an absolutely fantastic manager, Librarian and mentor. She really helped me to grow into my role at Ashton Sixth Form College and develop my skills as a Librarian. She understood what it was like to be a new professional and most importantly, she understood libraries. She was hands on in the Library and she got stuff done! If I had an issue I could take it to her without a second of hesitation.

I have been a little down at certain points; worrying about how we are going to cope with the extra workload. Working in FE is hard. Teenagers can be quite mean sometimes. Despite the odd down day, I actually love my job. I’ve met some great students this year who were so appreciative of my help. It’s so nice when people ask for my help, take on board the advice I’ve given and succeed! They gave me a card and a bunch of flowers which was just amazing and healed every down day wound that I’ve acquired this year.

 

This week I attended the Higher and Adult Education Celebration and received another special thanks from the department and I definitely nearly cried when I had to go up onto the stage. There was also prosecco and cheese which ain’t bad! I think I need to work on managing my emotions a little better and develop a thicker skin because I’ve now realised that people do actually appreciate and notice my work and it has motivated me to work even harder and to continue the great work we’re doing in the Library. For those that don’t appreciate it, I need to use my skills, positive thinking and knowledge to convince them otherwise.

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It is a little quieter in the Library and we’ve been planning for next year and we have so many ideas for the Library Service. We have a new referral process for teachers to refer their students to the Library for 1-2-1 info literacy interventions which I am SO excited for.

I’ve been buying new comic books and graphic novels and am going to be running the Excelsior Award with students next year.

We are constantly developing our fiction collection and are going to be running #ReadingAhead again after a few years off (we haven’t run it since I started).

We’re having a more integral role in the delivery of the Extended Project Qualification next year and I am building their course on the Canvas VLE. I am an admin and will be delivering training to teaching staff in a few weeks (another great challenge and learning curve).

I have been invited to take part in a leadership course next year after my name was mentioned at SLT. Only 5 people a year get to do it. I am so thankful for the opportunity. It’s going to help me whilst I am in this role, it will in turn help the service and it’s a great addition to my CV.

I am going to the Youth Libraries Group Conference 2018 to explore reading promotion and fiction which I CANNOT wait for. PHILIP PULLMAN WILL BE THERE!!!

Today I shared and explored our art, design and tech collections with students planning their research for next year. A few projects were a little more complex so I’ve been doing a little research myself this afternoon and will be getting back to the students tomorrow.

The College hosted a FE Research Meet today and I was able to nip to one of the sessions which was delivered by an English teacher who’s College has implemented Accelerated Reading. They’ve embedded a culture of books and reading into college life. I came away inspired and hopeful!

Today we came across several problems with our Library Management System and I investigated and fixed them! Best feeling ever! My technical skills and knowledge of the system is improving all the time and it feels great.

I will never know all there is to know in this profession and that’s what keeps it interesting and exciting. Students come up with mind-boggling requests, our systems break down, and new ideas are always waiting to be discovered and implemented. Solving problems, helping people and sharing knowledge is the absolute best way to spend your day.

P.S. If you’re having a down day, talk about it, it helps! 🙂

 

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I am currently reading this book | It’s a would recommend so far 

LISDIS Conference 2016

 

I recently attended the LISDIS Conference which was hosted at University College London. @LISDISConf is a conference where recent graduates can showcase their Library and Information Science dissertation projects.

I was unable to attend the first conference which was held up north last year and was very lucky to have been awarded a travel bursary which was kindly offered by LISDIS and their sponsors (thank you). It is rare that I can afford to get down to London so this was a fantastic opportunity and I appreciate being offered the bursary, especially since I am starting to think about dissertation topics.

I would recommend this conference to all LIS students because it has given me so much to think about and listening to the experiences and advice from graduates is so helpful when you are about to go through the same thing. It seems most people are at either end of the dissertation spectrum: you either have too many dissertation topic ideas or too few. I have been compiling a list over the last year and this list is getting VERY long… On the one hand it feels good to already have ideas but on the other the ideas are way too broad and vague at the moment to be of any use to anyone.

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My ridiculous list of vague and random dissertation ideas inspired by conferences, my uni modules, Twitter, blogs and my reading. I don’t do my dissertation until next academic year… 

Jane Morgan Daniel and Megan Dyson both did their dissertations on topics related to their workplace and this is something that I am now seriously considering because of the easy availability of research data from usage stats, library users and organisation staff etc. I also want to make a real impact in my place of work with research as I feel it will keep me motivated and engaged with my topic. I will definitely take Jane and Megan’s advice on board if I do decide to do my dissertation about my workplace. I will ensure the research question is very narrow and focused, I will attempt to leave plenty of time to traverse the “minefield” that is data collection; especially when looking at usage stats and I will not underestimate the time it takes to conduct the literature review.

As well as gaining many ideas and useful tips from the presenters it was fascinating to hear about all of the fantastic research that has been done.It is so inspiring to hear about the outcomes of the work that people have put so much effort and time into. This is why LISDIS is such an amazing conference concept and it is so much more amazing that it is free! Librarians are awesome!

This is the conference program for the day:

Information and Data
Jane Morgan Daniel: The information needs of Occupational Therapy students

James Atkinson: A Library Love Triangle? An analysis of the relationship between data, information and knowledge in Library and Information Studies

Linking with our users
Helena Byrne: Connecting to the past through the Abbey Ballroom Indoor Football oral history project: Developing a resource guide and the physical exhibition for Drogheda Local Voices
Megan Dyson: The Hybrid Music Library: User format preferences at Leeds College of Music Library
Dilyana Ducheva: RDA implementation: the new cataloguing standard in Europe
Lunch and Library Tour
Parallel session – Emma Coonan on publishing in LIS journals
Challenging Ideas within LIS
Diana Hackett: An elephant in the room: information literacy in the narrative of UK public libraries
Katherine Quinn: Resisting Neoliberalism: the challenge of activist librarianship in the UK HE context

My favourite talk of the day was Diana Hackett’s presentation on information literacy in the narrative of UK public libraries.

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Her talk was especially pertinent as the National Libraries, Museums and Culture demo was taking place in London on the same day as the conference and even though we were all unable to attend, I think it’s fair to say we were all there in spirit with those marching for @5thNovDemo!

Diana found that there is a lack of advocacy for the varied and meaningful ways in which the public library can help people with their information literacy skills. The narrative describes services and concepts such as ‘digital literacy’, ‘getting support’ and ‘signposting’ but does not actually tell people what this entails and paints the library as a passive organisation. There is a failure to communicate the many ways in which information literacy can improve people’s lives.

Diana also identified a gap in the LIS literature; no one seems to be researching info lit in public libraries and this made me wonder why? A few people have told me that I should be looking towards working in the HE library sector rather than public libraries because that’s where the jobs are, public library jobs are low paid, there’s no room for progression etc. If new library professionals are being dissuaded from joining the public library workforce and if people are not researching info lit in public libraries then how can we improve and champion our public libraries?

I am also now considering researching public libraries for my dissertation thanks to Diana and her excellent presentation. The final piece of advice that I have taken away from LISDIS is that I should study something that I love and care about because that’s what makes good research.

Peace.x

 

 

Here is my UKSG Conference Review which I wrote for FLIP

In April UKSG held thier 39th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Bournemouth. Amy Ward, a part time MA Librarianship student and Learning Facilitatior at Ashton Sixth Form College, reports back on the experience. You can find Amy on Twitter as @amywardz I attended a free event hosted by UKSG back in November 2015 and all […]

via UKSG Conference Report: Amy Ward — Future Library and Information Professionals Network

Long time, no blog…

Whooaaah this year is going fast. I don’t even know when I last blogged but it certainly wasn’t in 2016. A very belated happy new year to you! I am now in semester 2 at uni and have been working in my new job for 4 months. Here are some of my thoughts about my career in general at the moment…

  • Going all the way to Sheffield is a pain in the ar*e… literally. It’s SOOOOO far away and the amount of sitting down I have to do on uni days is almost unbearable. 2 hour train journey + 2 hour lecture + 2 hours lunching and studying + 3 hour lecture + 2 hour train journey = so much bum on seat time. I never knew how fidgety I was until this course began
  • I did very well on the technical Information Retrieval module and I don’t quite know how… it was so hard. The one thing I learnt was that IR systems are insane and those people that build them are wizards
  • Currently studying Public & Youth Libraries and Researching Social Media. I am designing a prison library (unlimited budget) at the moment and it’s really fun.
  • I’m a strapped for cash student once again and I have to work two jobs to stay afloat but I love it. Both my jobs are really really great. It’s so nice seeing all of the old regulars at the Polished Knob and it’s good to know that I am going to have something to do over the summer/ will be able to save some money.
  • My library job is very hard and sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing.
  • Working part-time is actually really difficult. My working week starts on a Wednesday so I always have a lot of catching up to do and sometimes feel out of the loop and snowed under by the things that have been happening whilst I was away. I rarely feel like I am on top of things but when I do get on top of things it feels like the greatest achievement ever. Seriously.
  • But I love my library job because it is challenging in a good way. I am learning something new every day and I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to work as a professional librarian so early on in my career. The team I work with are so helpful to me and I think we all work really well together.
  • Managing student’s behaviour is the hardest part. It would be a dream if I could just do all of the book and resource related tasks and not have to tell students to behave every second but alas… teenagers.  There should be some sort of module that deals with this on library courses because this is something that I find very challenging as I’ve never done it before.
  • They’re not all bad and some of them are really sweet and funny. They are the reason I am there and buying books and resources and helping them to access and use them really is the best part.
  • The worst part is when you show them a fantastic resource and when your back is turned, they simply reopen that Wikipedia page they had just been looking at… utterly devastated!
  • I may have lost that battle but I will not lose the infolit war  🙂
  • I won a raffle and I am going to the UKSG Conference in Bournemouth in April and I’m so excited 1) because I am going to a conference 2) because I’ve never been to Bournemouth 3) because it’s a mini holiday yay!

 

Toodles for now.

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. http://find.jorum.ac.uk/resources/10949/19369. 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

https://infograph.venngage.com/p/44226/library-social-media-top-tips

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.

rudai

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.