NLPN: Voted by you: Amy takes the floor

I was recently offered the opportunity to “take the floor” at the latest NLPN networking and CPD event.

As well as 3 really useful sessions from info pros (which you can read about in this write up by Emma Dent), the NLPN team scheduled in some time for 3 short 10 minute presentations. This is designed to give someone the opportunity to present on a topic of their choice to a friendly, informal audience.

The criteria outlined by NLPN was:

  • Are you passionate and knowledgeable about an aspect of Library and Information work that would be of interest to early career professionals?
  • Do you have experience of working on a project that has enhanced your insight or practical abilities that would be of value to new professionals?
  • Do you have practical tips to impart about how you have developed your skills or expertise?
  • Have you contributed to or been part of innovative service development in your workplace?
  • Do you have practical advice to offer from your career trajectory to date?

Since completing my dissertation, I have been on the lookout for opportunities to practice my public speaking and to share my research. I felt I matched all of the criteria; I am certainly knowledgeable after working on the project for almost a year. My topic is a perpetual problem in the sector, highlighted by my research, and by conversations with colleagues, therefore I figured people would probably be interested. As this opportunity was only 10 minutes, I had to apply. 10 minutes isn’t all that scary, amiright?

These are the slides that I initially sent to NLPN. I was so pleased when they emailed me to tell me they would like me to present. The one piece of feedback they offered was to trim down the content and I agree, there is way too much text. But the slides in their original form are probably best to link to online as I am not there to provide the context.

So… voila!

After delivering one 10 minute talk, I am in no way an oration oracle but I would like to share my experience as they may be helpful to others who are preparing to deliver a talk or a presentation.


I really enjoyed my talk. People seemed to be very interested and I received a lot of questions*. Answering people’s questions and discussing my topic was my favourite part. I felt we could have discussed the issue for a lot longer.

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Oh hey

As a kind of safety net, I usually have reams of paper when I talk as they make me feel more prepared. I usually never look at them. In fact, it can cause me to lose my trail of thought completely. No one likes to watch someone awkwardly fumble with sheets of paper. I am starting to have more confidence in myself and my knowledge to go to my talks without a novel of notes.

For this talk, I prepared just two little cue cards with key points that I did not want to leave out and this was really helpful for me. Postcards are the perfect size and these ones looked good on the floor too.

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The cutest of cue cards

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I am aware I have a tendency to talk very fast but I think because I practiced and timed myself, on this occasion I did okay. I found it really useful to run through the talk several times and to time myself on my phone. I actually set up my timer on the day so that I would not over or under run on my timing. I also practiced in front of a colleague and my partner to ask for their feedback which they gave and I acted upon before the talk.

Top 3 tips for preparing for a talk or a presentation of any kind:

  1. Practice, practice, practice! So you know fully in your mind what you are talking about. This will allow you to confidently communicate your topic with the audience. Confidence is key – even if you have to fake it!
  2. Time yourself. Timing is very important – don’t rush through it but don’t blab on forever. Put your phone on silent and use the timer or get a stop watch and keep an eye on it.
  3. Enjoy it! How often to do get to have people’s (hopefully) undivided attention? It’s your chance to talk about your area of expertise, your experiences, or your work. You have something worth saying and by sharing this knowledge with people, you are doing something good. So enjoy 😀

I would like to thank the NLPN team and the sponsors for putting on these fantastic FREE events. They really are so useful to me as a new professional. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to share my work with others and to develop my skills further in a safe, friendly environment. The willingness of info pros to share their skills, their research and their time is why the profession is so fabulous!

*One of the questions was along these lines – “What’s next? Had I shared my research with my team? Have we seen an improvement in behaviour?” At the time my answer was “I haven’t done anything yet”. But I had my reasons. I was waiting to receive my dissertation mark and I wanted to devise a plan of action.

We are going to be making some big changes in the Library over the next few months and I will be sharing snippets of my research and my experiences leading this change.

So if behaviour management in libraries is your thing, stay tuned!

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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 

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

Podcasts: Consumer or Creator?

Podcasts are something that I’ve never taken the time to get into but I appreciate that they are a great thing that I am definitely missing out on. I’ve heard about Serial and really wanted to give it a go. I’ve tried to listen to audiobooks and I do enjoy them but I find it difficult to sit and listen and do nothing else. I like the fact that I am being read to and it’s really relaxing but I can only sit and listen for so long. I definitely prefer to read books myself.

I don’t know the best way to actually listen to podcasts – when and how do people listen to them? How do you fit them into your day? Please let me know because I’d like to find more time to listen to them.

I miss reading and studying history and I admit, I really don’t have the time at the moment to be reading my history books. They’re safely waiting for me in my tiny library. I’ve made a promise to myself that I will read them again. They aren’t going anywhere that’s for sure and I will keep buying more.

A snapshot of my neglected history collection – ignore the Batman comic

But I guess this is where podcasts can come in handy because I can listen to them and do stuff at the same time… As long as the stuff I am doing doesn’t require too much brain power; cleaning, bathing or sitting on a train for example.

I’ve just discovered this podcast and I am definitely excited by it. The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor takes us through the History of the World in 100 Objects which can be found in the British Museum. Telling the tales of history through things is what museums do and it’s one of the most entertaining ways to learn about history. This podcast, first broadcast in 2010, examines human history through some of the things that we have created during our existence.

Podcasts can definitely be used for entertainment and leisure purposes – I think I am definitely going to take a bath and carry on listening to this podcast.

I think podcasts could definitely be used in the library. As far as I am aware no one creates their own podcasts in the library I work in at the moment but I can see their potential, especially when thinking about “100 objects” projects and blogs that are used in libraries and special collections to inform people about their star objects. It’s nice to have the option to learn about things in different ways and they could be useful for creating accessible content. The enthusiasm and knowledge of archivists, curators and special collections librarians would come across really well on a podcast. I will also be keeping my ears open for new podcasts and listen to some more of the podcasts on “Circulating Ideas” because they are really useful for professional development. I really enjoyed epidode 64: Troy Swanson & Heather Jagman talking about their book Not Just Where To Click: Teaching Students How To Think About Information. Thanks Rudai 23 for introducing this to me.

On that note however, I think I am going to be a podcast consumer rather than a podcast creator because at the moment, I don’t feel like I have enough interesting things to talk about. Plus, I hate the sound of my own voice, it’s weird!

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 development.

Thing No 3: My LinkedIn Experience & Professional Brand

Thing No 3 has also come at a great time for me – Rudai 23, you’re doing great things for my continuing professional development in general actually. Thank you! I have recently been updating my LinkedIn as my graduate traineeship is ending soon so I will once again on the job market.

In this post I am going to share my experiences, thoughts and tips on using LinkedIn, the career/ business focused social networking and online CV site. Many people have probably heard of LinkedIn, many of you may already use it or have used it/ attempted to use it at some point in the past.

A few things LinkedIn can do for you:

  1. Build a professional network of colleagues, academics and industry insiders
  2. Get involved in professional discussions and keep in the loop
  3. Create your professional brand which will advertise your best self – Google and LinkedIn like each a lot so if some Googles you, your name could be there
  4. Have a dynamic online CV which showcases your achievements – upload images, files, presentations, awards etc

Is it worth the time and effort I hear you ask? I am not going to sugar-coat it; creating a LinkedIn profile does take a lot of time and effort. I spent upwards of 2 hours a few nights ago working on my profile but I felt a lot better for doing it. It is worth the effort for two reasons. Firstly, potential employers or colleagues could see your profile so it’s an easy way to make a good first impression, secondly, it’s an up to date summary of your experiences and achievements to date. I use my LinkedIn account to remind myself of all of the things I’ve done and achieved both in the work place and at college and University (I forget otherwise oops).

As the 23 things team have demonstrated, to convey your professional brand there are a few key points to consider. The most important ones for me are:

  1. IMAGE – How do you want people to see you? I’ve chopped and changed my profile picture so many times it’s bordering on obsessive. I don’t recommend you do that. Choose a nice head and shoulders shot, dressed for work maybe and show off your professional side. Think… If you had to send a potential employer an image of yourself it’s not going to be a selfie from 20 years ago. You want to make a good impression. I had my picture taken at the Universiity careers fair where they had a LinkedIn photobooth offering a free professional photo service for staff and students to use on their online CVs etc.
  2. HEADLINE – Make sure to use the professional headline carefully as this summarises your professional brand. Right now I am using my job title as it best summarises my current position but come September when I go back to university this will be different. Use it you reflect your career at present and your future goals.
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My LinkedIn headline at the moment and my professional photo. You may be able to see my “expert” editing where I’ve attempted to hide the flyway hair I had going on.

3. SUMMARY – I received advice from a LinkedIn workshop and this was to make sure you fill in all fields but especially the summary field. This is your bio where you will quickly convey your professional brand and what you’re all about to anyone looking at your page.

Tip: Complete the write up of your job descriptions/ summaries etc in Microsoft Word or something similar. This will highlight any spelling mistakes for make, whereas if you enter it straight into the field on LinkedIn, you’ll never know you spelt something wrong, but others certainly will!

There is a lot of information out there which can help you build a good online CV. At the University of Bradford we’re lucky to have a Career Development Adviser who put on a really useful workshop on how to use LinkedIn, so if you can get to anything like that it would be very useful.

One thing that I keep wondering about LinkedIn; can you have too much text and information? How breif or detailed should the summaries and descriptions be? What do you think?

*** If you think any of the advice I’ve given is terrible or could be improved please leave me a comment and let me know. Also if you think something I am doing on my profile is rubbish or could be improved, give me a nudge.***

***Thank you!***