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

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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