June 11, 2014

Academic liaison and outreach

The CPD25 event “Supporting our users – Current trends in academic liaison and outreach” on 15th May aimed to provide an overall view about academic liaison including the techniques used and the knowledge and skills required.

The session did provide a good overview and gave me a good board sense about what academic liaison involves. Finding out about the range of terminology used was interesting particularly as I had the impression that the roles in different institutions were essentially the same. However with variations in the job titles that included subject librarian, academic liaison librarian, academic support librarian or even an information consultant, I was made aware that the terms used could be related to the emphasis placed on the role i.e. whether the role is about being a subject specialist or focused on liaison skills.

A breakdown of the key aspects of academic liaison was insightful as this help with providing a sense of what the role can involve and some of the requirements of individuals in these roles. I felt that whatever capacities these roles form they are a key part of an academic library because as the speakers highlighted they contribute towards developing links between the library and academic departments, building trust and managing expectations, along with developing and maintaining collections. I liked the list of attributes considered to be important for these roles and how far ranging they were, including having subject knowledge, good communication skills, patience, being a strategic planner, a facilitator, and a diplomat.

Having comparisons helped to build up a broad picture of the how these roles sit within different institutions. The case studies presented gave an idea of what an average day is like for the Information Specialists at King’s College Library Service. These made me aware about how they manage with large departments spend across various campuses or the variety of departments that have different needs and levels of engagement. Also during the session it was good to have the opportunity to hear from others who worked in small colleges or institutions without specialist staff and this made me further appreciate how varied the liaison work can be.

The new models of staffing structures in some institutions it will be interesting to see how they play out. As these are based on functions rather than having specialists. It will be interesting to know if they will be by the lack of expert knowledge or if a work varied workforces means that departments become more integrated with the library because there is not a single point of reference.

From what I could gather the current issues affecting academic liaison roles seemed to be ones beyond the control of an academic liaison librarian, for example the expectation of students and the idea that everything is on the web. Also the changes with departments meaning their workloads are increasing and focus on scoring systems such as the National Student Survey.

With the changes within institutions it will be interesting to see if the academic liaison role is one that will be continued to be valued.


April 13, 2014

Holistic work and life development programme

I have begun a development programme at work which has taken me by surprise. It has reminded me just how important all aspects of my life are and not just the professional side.


The initial workshop was intense and I was completely unprepared. For a deeply private person there was a lot more sharing than expected. However this has made me more aware of the things that I value and understand what other people value when they seek to lead a life that encompasses all that they hold important.


Alongside the workshop we have been equip with a workbook which is completely overwhelming however being encourage to go through it at our own pace has meant that I have not completely been put off. Also a meeting with a fellow participate has proved insightful and knowing I am more comfortable talking with just one person rather than a group meant I was able to discuss matters more freely.


These past few years I have been so focused on developing a career and neglected other areas of my life that are meaningful to me.


I hope that through this workshop I gain a better sense of perspective and develop the ability to nurture all important aspects of my life. I also feel that this type of programme should be standard and offered more readily as it is already helping me deal with major changes with the workplace.

November 20, 2013

Thing 14: Zotero / Mendeley / CiteULike

Zotero and Mendeley

From the video this has a great selling point. It seems to make managing and citing records seem effortless.

In a time where information is so readily available it of course means that a tool that helps with making it easier to manage is essential.

This is something I would use in a personal sense and professional.

For researchers I can see how useful this tool must be. However I know from the library I currently in that it would not be possible to access this resource. Although I can see that the way round that would be for researchers to email the results and add later.

This seems like an effective tool. Will need to give it try.

May 2, 2013

Lib Camp London 2013

This is my reflection on the Lib Camp in London held at Senate House Library on Saturday 2nd March 2013.

Normally the idea of going to a conference fills me with the dread somehow the ‘unconference’ has a different draw. This being my second one and I knew to expect the unexpected. Basically it was an unstructured day of library professionals meeting together to share and discuss various issues relating to the library and information world. It was a great event for discovering the range of issues and areas of the libraries that would not be possible at other conferences.

Points I picked up from the talks

Hidden Collections
Session led by Katie Birkwood

  • RLUK Report highlights issues with cataloguing, collections not digitised may be ones users expect to see
  • Study days can be used to promote hidden collections and have input from stakeholders
  • Possibilities of using crowd sourcing technology
  • Suggested pilot project: catalogue a small number of items from collection and involve non special collection staff
  • Catalogue with input from users such as reviews, report errors, tags. However there may be the need to consider having tag controls
  • Talks and blogs can be good ways of explaining why material might be of interest to researchers
  • Catalogue search results can reveal the items in collections which reader are looking for but has not been catalogued
  • Arrange 1:1 sessions
  • Projects could involve museum and archives students who can discover the collections

What I learnt

  • Variety of issues with hidden collections
  • Lots of opportunities
  • Time and money are key issue

Radical Libraries
Session led by The Itinerant Poetry Librarian and Alice Corble

  • Alternative libraries brings to light the role of libraries and their purpose
  • Some examples of Radical Libraries
  • Street Books, USA

– Access to libraries provided to homeless people

– Mobile library on bike going to where the homeless people are. Provides books of interest. Follows up on progress of readers

– It was pointed out that San Francisco libraries employ social workers

  • Radical Reference

– On the street reference service at gatherings such as conventions
– Involved with the Occupy Movement
– Online presence people can ask questions and passed onto someone who knows

– Open Knowledge Foundation http://okfn.org/

  • A47 Truck Library

– Special Collection of Art to be opened and while waiting set up a mobile library in a truck.
– The mobile library can be opened up and even has a stage.

  • Mile High Reference Desk: Library on a plane

– Matches information to destination
– Online chat
– Provides reading material

  • Itinerant Poetry Library

– Special collection of lost or forgotten poetry

  • Fanzine Libraries
  • Montreal Alternative Libraries
  • Issues facing radical libraries

– Funding (Private, charity, HLF)

– Public library model
– Volunteers
– Special collections
– Community led
– Political agenda
– Self appointed librarians
– Self defining
– Mixture of professional and non-professionals
– Collaborate with other organisations such as art which do outreach projects.

What I learnt

  • How radical libraries serve the public

Cycling for libraries
Session led by Graham Seaman

  • Information about ‘Cycling for Libraries’ Tour which this year is in the Netherlands
  • Proposal to start ‘Cycling for libraries UK’

What I learnt

  • Nice way of discovering libraries and raising their profile.

Swearing in libraries
Session led by Richard Veevers

  • Discussion opened with consideration of the linguistic and historic origins of swear words
  • Understanding of swearing and the intention could help with assessing a situation

What I learnt

  • Need to have an understanding and awareness of people

Librarians and personalities types
Session led by Rosie Hare and Andrew Preater

  • Consideration for what personalities are associated with a librarians.
  • Think about the different professional roles in libraries and how personalities suited certain roles.
  • Thought about the differences between introverts and extroverts

What I learnt


  • Surprised at how many extroverts are drawn to the profession
  • People make adjustments for the their colleagues personalities in order to make it easier to get the job done.
  • There are many contradictions of the stereotypes of librarians.
  • Some of the stereotypes are positive and depends entirely on the situation.
December 9, 2012

CPD Thing 13: Google Docs, Wikis and Dropbox

Google Docs

I like the ease of using Google Drive and I can see it being useful. However this is of course only good because I have Google account and therefore if I were collaborating with someone who doesn’t than I see this being a barrier because I wouldn’t want to pressure anyone to sign up especially.


I like the idea of being able to use this with people who do not have an account. However I would be interested to know how secure the ‘public’ folder is.


Having only seen a few uses of Wikis this is something I would like to explore more. I would like to find out about uses of Wikis as information resources and the potential they have.

I like the plainness of wikis and the fluidity and look forward to an opportunity to using one.


I can definitely see the advantage of using the cloud when working on projects particularly as I jump around using various devices. I also see how it makes sense when working with people and it is difficult to meet with them in person to work on a project.

The disadvantages would be the issue of security and reliability. Also accessibility as in my workplace there are blocks on certain sites so it could not be used as a way of working on external projects without convincing these blocks to be lifted.

These have made be think twice about using emails to work on a document.

December 4, 2012

CPD Thing 12: Putting the social into social media

Resuming 23 Things after a break it seems appropriate to pick with “Putting the social into social media” as this something I clearly need to work on. I social activity online is minimal with regards to engaging but I am sure not why this is. This is something I would like to work on.

July 27, 2012

Visit to the Museum of English Rural Life

Being an urbanite a visit to the Museum of English Rural Life was one where I found it difficult to form expectations. My experience of the country is one of simply passing through and a means of escape from the city. However I had only ever witness rural life on television or films and felt my knowledge to be very limited. To go as part of the professional visit meant I was prepared to take in as much as I was able.

The visit took place on Thursday 19th July. The new experiences started upon arrival to Reading. This was the first time I have walked through Reading and seen more than just the train station. It is a strikingly beautiful town and does not have that crowded (with regards to buildings) feeling of London.

 Not knowing what to expect from The Museum of English Rural Life none the less I was impressed. I believe it presented a very a specialised subject in a very considered way that drew you in. Although I was rather put out when greeted by a straw man, the kind you might find in grisly fairy tales and not the one helping Dorothy. However the straw moustache did soften its features a bit. This encounter only occurred after being welcomed by the friendly staff at the front desk.  

 We given were an insightful presentation and tour about the library and archives. I particularly liked that the library is housed in former student halls for residence making the spaces more private.

 The library and archives had a wonderful collection that was impressively diverse.

Some of the highlights of the collections we were shown included a farm diary from the 18th century, a first edition of the Origin of Species, a book on four legged beasts which included peculiar illustrations including an elephant with web like feet.

 I thought it was good that they had a discovery resource tool for searching the catalogues as the library and the archives collections are on two different systems.

 I liked how the Museum arranged its object collections by material which was an interesting way of displaying collections. I like the range of crafts that were on display, the clothes and the wagons. Our host rather intriguingly drew our attention to a mystery object which was made out of metal and had two small tennis-sized balls attached to a metal chain. We were informed that it could either be a curtain draw or sheep’s contraceptive.

July 27, 2012

CPD 23 Thing 11 Mentoring

I am a great believer in experienced professionals sharing knowledge and providing guidance to new professionals. Although I have not yet had an official mentor, I have thought about all the informal mentors I have had.

I like to ask questions. Sometime lots of questions. Sometimes standard ones. Sometimes challenging ones. For me this is one of the ways I learn. My questioning can lead onto my understanding. My professional questioning has often been directed to experience colleagues who have helped to shape my understanding about the librarianship. I thank them for their patience.

My hope is to be able to find an official mentor. Uncertain of how to go about such matters I have found the following articles very helpful, particularly Priscilla Shontz point about not waiting for others to teach you things:

Sophie R. Brookover “Mentors:  What Are They Good For?”, on LIScareer.com http://www.liscareer.com/brookover_mentoring.htm

Priscilla Shontz “Be a Proactive Protege’”
(an excerpt from Jump Start Your Career in Library & Information Science) on LIScareer.com http://www.liscareer.com/shontz_protege.htm

I shall continue to ask questions.

July 16, 2012

CPD Thing 10: Qualifications

Graduate Traineeship

I was able to do a traineeship straight after completing my first degree. It was at a law library. The role was a library assistant and I worked in a small team. This proved to be ideal as I had a very diverse role and was able to learn about the operations and functions of a library. The traineeship involved working on the front desk, dealing with enquiries, processing stock, housekeeping and other ad hoc duties. We were also able to go on visits to other libraries and training on legal research. I was able to determine very early on that I liked working in a library and was keen to join the profession and so I applied to do my Masters following the traineeship.


My degree was in Library and Information studies and provided a wide scope about the profession and gave me a solid foundation. I was able to establish areas of interest and have explored these since completing the degree. I have also drawn upon many aspects of the degree as part of my first professional post.

July 16, 2012

CPD Thing 9: Evernote

The benefits of using this tool seem to come through when working on a collaborative project that involves conducting research online. I can also see how in some cases it would be better to use this in place of bookmarking as such if a site is regularly updated and the bookmark does not return you the content you wish to view. I have also witness how this prove a good tool when you are travelling and need to carry documents and other vital information.