Library Camping Again

The last conference I attended (the Ark Group Managing Your Law Firm Library) was seriously disappointing so could a free unconference event beat it in terms of learning opportunities?

Having been at Library Camp Glasgow last year I had a good idea what to expect, I decided not to pitch a session but was fully prepared to join in the discussion in the sessions I attended.

As I expected when I decided not to pitch a session none of the sessions were directly relevant to working in a corporate library so I chose which sessions to attend based on personal interest. Up first I went to to the session on CILIP Professional Registration, although I’ve been chartered for many years I am involved in the mentoring scheme for new candidates so I felt I had valid opinions and thoughts to add to the discussion and things to learn. The main thing I took away from this was that support for chartership is devolved to the home nations, as a mentor I probably should have known this before. My main contribution was probably to reiterate to CILIP that communication over the new professional registration rules has been poor and still needs to improve and the issues with the VLE such as training only in video form remain. Amongst other things we also discussed why we charter and is it still relevant today, there was a consensus that it’s useful to give structure to our CPD and to prove to current and future employers that we are keeping our skills up to date. Upcoming obligatory revalidation got the thumbs up from everyone.

For my second session I went to Martin Wade’s session on internet privacy and libraries. A really interesting discussion starting from IFLA’s current work to create a privacy statement for library associations to sign up to. The focus of this discussion seemed to be on public libraries, also touching on school libraries. However the main points that I took from the discussion are that digital literacy (or lack of) is a big issue and that libraries need to strike a balance between ethics and legislation to remain our trusted spaces; these issues are also relevant in corporate libraries. We do some work on digital literacy in our research training, there is possibly a gap for us to work with the IT team to do more in this area.

Lunch was a good chance to catch up with some people I don’t see often enough and to take a wee wander around the Mitchell Library picking up a leaflet about their services for businesses as well.

My first afternoon session was “Do you practice what you preach?” The concept of this session was that we teach the users of our services good practice but do we follow these practices ourselves? I know that I am OK at recording my CPD on the CILIP VLE but this session made me think about reflective practice. Do I do enough reflective practice? Probably not, when caught up in a busy day it’s easy to forget and hard to spare the time. Also just reflective practice on its own isn’t enough, how do I turn reflective practice into action to make changes? Something I need to reflect on I think 😉 In this session we also talked about keeping a personal bibliography. I already note all the books I read using Goodreads and I use Evernote to keep blogs and online articles I might want to refer back to but as I don’t do any scholarly research or writing there’s probably no need for me to keep a “proper” bibliography. I do intend to investigate some of the software used for this though.

My last choice of session was 23 Librarians Live – based on the 23 Librarians blog – a chat about our skills and where else other than traditional library jobs we might use them. This was a really interesting chat which I won’t give detail of as participants career journeys are not mine to share. The main conclusion was that librarians have lots of skills that are transferable to other jobs or to use in expanding what we currently do, often in unexpected ways.  A key tip was to concentrate on skills and not job titles.

Overall it was a worthwhile and interesting day. There were times it was frustrating to get bogged down in one person’s job or one sector and not to be able to look to the whole profession; if ever there was a time for librarians and libraries to work together for the good of the profession it is now when there are so many threats against us. There is also a lot we can can learn from sector to sector if we are willing to be open, perhaps because law firm librarianship in Scotland is so niche this is something I do anyway through necessity. Thanks to the participants who did share so much in terms of experiences and hints and tips, I hope I might also have said something useful to other people at Library Camp!

So did library camp beat the expensive law firm library conference? Yes, in terms of the inspiration and motivation I got from the day, I have lots to think about and ideas to take forward for my personal development. The law firm library conference probably wins on directly relevant work stuff but I enjoyed library camp much more.

Thanks to the organisers for your hard work in making a good day and to the sponsors, those chocolate muffins were yummy.


CPD23 2012 Thing 3 revisited – Personal Branding

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Since I posted about this last year (see previous post) I have done a bit of work on tidying up my online brand. In particular I have created a bit more of a divide between personal and professional.

I started with the decision to make Facebook for personal use only and I have unfriended most of my colleagues so now only my family and friends can see my holiday photos!

I already had two Twitter accounts, one for personal use and one for professional use.  I haven’t done much more with the professional account except to be a bit more careful with tone and content of what I post.

The biggest change since last year is the creation of this blog.  I have styled it to match my professional twitter account, they have the same background and link to each other.  I still maintain my previous blog but it’s entirely for personal use.

I beefed up my LinkedIn profile a little, though some further work on this wouldn’t go amiss especially as we are being strongly encouraged at work to use LinkedIn more.  I link to my professional Twitter account and this blog from LinkedIn so things are all a bit more tied together now.

As suggested I searched for myself on the internet; I have a very common name so searching just that didn’t find me in the first few results pages, however adding librarian or library and bingo, my LinkedIn profile is number one hit and number two is to a mention on the CILIP website.

Last year my intention was to take the lessons learnt in this exercise into real life, this is much more difficult to do and I am only making slow progress. I think crazy, angry librarian from 2011 has made far fewer appearances so that’s a good start!

CPD23 2011 Thing 3 – Personal Branding

Thing 3 is about personal branding, this is what I had to say on the subject in 2011 –

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This is the “thing” I feel I need to work on most, I am really bad at it.

Online I have too many, very different identities; for a start this blog doesn’t know whether it is personal or professional! Then there is LinkedIn which is definitely professional and at the other extreme Facebook where I have deliberately decided not to say where I work but I have many colleagues and ex-colleagues as friends; is it OK for them to see the drunk photos? On Twitter I have two accounts, one is personal and the other which also feeds through to LinkedIn more professional. But again I have got muddled and some followers follow both accounts. Also I sometimes tweet to the wrong account leading to a scramble to delete tweets and LinkedIn updates.

My aim is to tidy the above up and create something more coherent for a professional brand. This may include some name and avatar changes and a change of style on this blog. In the process I may have to cull some Twitter followers (or encourage them to move accounts) and Facebook friends. Though I am still now sure how successful splitting the personal and professional can be?

And perhaps even more important I need to take the lessons and decisions from this task into my real professional life and stamp my brand on what I do in the office. I have been reading Susie Kay’s book, “The ABC of Professionalism”, there are many ideas to take from it into this task. A professional of her definition would not have allowed a situation to get quite as heated in the office as I did this morning. Crazy, angry librarian is not the brand I want!

For me this is a really challenging “thing” and I suspect that the decisions may take me more than just this week, so watch out for a Thing 3 part 2 post sometime in the future. I look forward to reading how others have managed to solve these problems.

Note: I never did come back to this and write part 2!

CPD23 2012 – Thing 2 revisited

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Thing 2 is to explore other blogs, this is something I do everyday, I follow a large number of blogs covering work related topics and various things I am interested in personally.

I use Google Reader to keep track of all the blogs I follow, this allows me to organise the feeds by topic and then to quickly scan through the posts to pick out what is relevant and interesting.  It also means I don’t miss anything important. I’ve gone as far as to set up two Google accounts so that I can keep work and personal feeds separate and not get distracted by fun posts at work or sucked into reading work posts at the weekend.  It also helps with the information overload to keep the fun stuff separate for the weekend.

Some of my favourite library, KM, law or IT related blogs are –

Last year the main thing that I learnt from Thing 2 was to comment on a blog if I found it particularly useful or thought provoking.  I have carried on doing this and find it rewarding, sometimes a blog post can just be the catalyst for further discussion on a topic.  I’ve also found that if I take the time to interact with someone’s blog they may well return the favour and comment on my blog which has led to me guest posting on a Brazilian lingerie blog, not where I expected this to lead but why not!!

CPD23 2011 – Thing 2

Thing 2 is explore other blogs, this is what I had to say in 2011 –

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For Thing 2 I have been browsing through the list of blogs belonging to the other participants. There are loads of impressive bloggers amongst us so I have my Google reader account open ready to subscribe to some.

There are so many blogs and so little time that I have used the Delicious list filtered by the helpful tags starting with law, my field and Scotland, my location.

A few that have count my eye are –

I have also dipped into a small number of other blogs, mainly drawn in by the titles, there are some inventive librarians out there!

From Thing 2 I have learnt to take the time to comment on a blog where appropriate, it may start a new discussion; and it’s just nice to give feedback when you have enjoyed a post or found it useful.

CPD23 2012

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Last year I took part in CPD23 but due to selling my flat and living with my parents while I made my new house habitable meant I had no internet access in evenings and weekends and restrictions on work IT meant I failed to complete a number of the “things”.  Slightly belatedly I noticed that CPD23 is running again so it seems like the perfect opportunity to revisit to update and fill in the blanks.  I now have internet at home and an IT upgrade at work means I have no excuses this time.

The posts from 2011 are lurking on another blog which I don’t want to link to so I’ll post them here first. Expect a flurry of CDP23 2011 and CPD23 2012 posts whilst I catch up with the programme.

Thanks to Sarahgb for the inspiration