Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Time to reflect

Image by Irargerich
It’s December now, which means I’ve hit the six month mark in my new job. Thought I’d have a little ponder and reflect on my time here so far.

Initially, I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay in this role as it entails a 65 mile round trip to one campus and an 80 mile round trip to the other campus. I find the drive draining, and although I try to use it as ‘down time’ I’m not really succeeding with that just yet. I live in hope that one day I’ll find the commute relaxing.

Looking back, I can see I’ve developed skills I didn’t make much use of in my previous role as a School Librarian. I spend a fair amount of my working week classifying new stock, although it is constantly a bottle neck in the book-processing procedure. It’s nice to get my teeth into Dewey again, I didn’t realise how much I missed it while I was at the school. There are some books for which I simply I can’t decide upon class numbers, and these tend to have extended stays on our classification shelf in the office; I know this is a weakness of mine, I shouldn’t pick and choose the books I classify, I’ll try to be more inclusive in the new year.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Study Visit Confirmation

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, so I thought I’d use this opportunity to share some good news.

Back in August, my line manager suggested I apply to attend an EU-funded study visit. I’ll admit to being quite dubious at the time – I thought only the best of the best were ever awarded places on these kinds of things. I was even more dubious when I saw the application form itself - it was solid! I brushed it under the carpet and ignored it for a while, and when the week of the deadline arrived I still hadn’t done anything about it. I was really in two minds – it’d be great to do but surely my chances were low, so why even bother. In a moment of madness, I posted my dilemma on Facebook. Usually, the majority of people just ignore my status updates but this one generated a huge response and everyone said I should go for it. So I did. I burned the midnight oil and with the help of my long-suffering boyfriend, put together the best damn application I could manage. Popped it in the post the day before the deadline and never expected to hear anything more of it.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 23

Image by Jcgoforth
…And so here we are: Thing 23. 'The End'.

CPD23 Things has finally come to a close and I’ve blogged my way through each Thing over the past few months. The final Thing is to produce a six-word story to sum up the experience, and I’ve wracked my brains for this. I can’t adequately condense it into so few words, but here is my attempt: ‘hectic but enjoyable; I learnt lots!’

What was good about CPD23 Things?
I really enjoyed this course, so so soooo much! I hadn’t heard of some the tools introduced to us, and others I was already familiar with. Highlights for me include Thing 2 browse other blogs. I felt this worked well with Thing 3, as it reinforced the ideals of personal brands. In the early days of CPD23, I decided to follow various blogs purely by their layout; at this stage blog content was low, so aesthetic first impressions played a part in deciding which to follow. It really made me think about the first impressions my blog created for readers and I was thrilled to have positive comments posted regarding it.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 22

'Two Little Ducks 22'. Image by Kugelfish
Thing 22: Volunteering
The idea of volunteering in libraries is one which came to mind earlier this year after I was made redundant. I had never considered it before this time. When job hunting, there were all manner of complicated clauses attached to my redundancy package. In reality, when it was all stripped down to nuts and bolts, it meant after leaving my old job I could not start work in a new job for 5 weeks. When I had the interview for my new job I felt quite anxious about mentioning this to them, but a member of the interview panel was from the Human Resources department and was familiar with such clauses. Nobody else on the panel had heard of such things, so I was glad the HR officer was there to verify it! I worried that this would make me appear less attractive as a potential employee, so I offered to work for them on a voluntary basis during these five weeks. In the end nothing came of it, but I was quite prepared to do so if it helped secure me a post. I was interviewed in February but could not accept a start date before June, and I very lucky my new employers waited so long for me.

Last year one of the interviews I attended was in a hospital library. I received good feedback regarding my presentation but didn’t get the position as they felt my knowledge of medical resources was restricted. If I’d had some relevant voluntary work on my CV it may have helped. At the moment I am still settling into my current role, so taking on an additional voluntary position would likely cause my head to explode! Should I start to feel the need to address my career direction, I would happily consider volunteering in a different library sector in order to strengthen my experience base.

(Only 1 ‘Thing’ left to go…!)

Monday, 17 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 21

Image by Peregrine Blue
Thing 21: Promoting yourself in job applications / interviews

As any regular readers of BtB will know, I was made redundant earlier this year so have recently been ‘out there’ in the job market. I found it very scary and very stressful, but I jumped in with both feet straight away and tried to tackle the issue head on.

I wanted to beef up my CV, so I became an assistant leader at WeightWatchers. I really felt it important to have some voluntary work on there that was not library-related, to show that I can be committed and dedicated in all aspects of my life. I did this for 7 months and really enjoyed it – I felt part of a community. The commute to/from my new job meant I had to resign from this, and I was surprised how sad that made me. I was proud of it and miss it.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 20

Image by Images_Of_Money
Thing 20: Career Projects
I find the library world really interesting and love to chat to people about why they have formed a career around it. I must be nosey! A few years ago I heard about the Library Roots/Routes project where folks outline their reasons for working in the profession and the path they took to get there. I added my contribution to the wiki and blogged about it here. I’ve read lots of entries on and have noticed a common theme in many – there are more facets to the professional than we realised when we joined it. Everything we do is hidden behind the scenes in order to create a seamless service for our users. It perhaps does us (as library staff) a disservice, but that’s the way it should be – library users don’t need to be aware of all the backstage action, they just need a good service they can rely on. And as long as that’s what they get then I’m happy.

Library Day in the Life is a similar project, where library staff record their daily activities at work for a specific week. I took part in it this year after several years of missing the date. Being newly hooked up on Twitter (a previous Thing) made following the project far more interesting as I was able to read people’s updates in real time, rather than waiting until blog posts had been compiled. I loved reading what others had written about their roles – it’s a great way of learning what life is like in different library sectors.

Monday, 10 October 2011

CPD23 Things 18 & 19

Image by KirstyHall
Thing 18: Jing / screen capture / podcasts

Again, another ‘Thing’ I have only limited experience in. In a previous life, when I was a school librarian, I created a number of book review podcasts. They were uploaded to the library website as a way of demonstrating how school libraries can engage with technology. I used it as an activity for the pupils in my lunchtime book club (thus cunningly disguising the fact they were guinea pigs). We had a trip out of school to a local recording studio and used iMacs and Garageband software and it was all great fun. We turned them into ‘enhanced’ podcasts, meaning images and background music were attached. I gave the pupils copies to take home on disk and it really helped to raise the profile of the library.

I don’t have much call to create podcasts and the like in my current role, but you never know. I’m hoping to introduce the Six Book Challenge this year (if anyone has any tips I’d be very grateful!), so maybe that’ll be the opportunity I’m looking for…

 As for Jing, I’m afraid I have no clue…!

Thing 19: Integration.

Image by Phil_Parker

There have been so many different tools to look at with CPD23; some I didn’t particularly like but others I have loved! I guess that’s partly the beauty of the course – being self-directed you can follow-up the Things which appeal to you more than the Things that don’t. I’ve really taken to Twitter after I started using it for Thing 4. I check it numerous times during the day on my iPhone – during my breaks at work, whilst my tea is cooking at home, while I’m waiting for my electric blanket to warm up at night – you name it! I find it a great way to keep abreast of what other library professionals are doing. I also have started using LinkedIn regularly too, although the nature of it doesn’t require you to log in quite as often.

Also, doing CPD23 has given me the confidence to dabble with Wordpress blogs. I’d only ever used Blogger before, but now I regularly post on the library’s blog, hosted by Wordpress. CPD23 increased my confidence with blogs and I now feel able to say I have a working knowledge of more than one blogging platform.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 17

Thing 17: Data Visualisation.
Haven’t really had much experience in this field, I must confess. I’ve dabbled with, an online tool which creates a visual graphic of your CV information. Fairly easy to use, various ways of customising it – I recommend giving it a try. I liked how it presented my experience and activities in a more engaging way, but not quite sure how/when I’d actually use it. Maybe include it in my portfolio of activity, which I take to job interviews, alongside my CV?

Image taken by Doogsta
One of the Senior Learning Assistants I work with has recently created a Prezi presentation which we use as an online induction to the library. She says it took her a while to get to grips with how to use it, but the end result looks fab. I really want to give it a go myself, but it’s going to take me a bit of time to get round to it I’m afraid. So, for Thing 17, I pledge to create a Prezi of my own but I just don’t have time to do so just yet. Work is crazy at the moment with us leading a very hectic schedule of infomation skills sessions (I feel as though I'm in a classroom more than I'm in the library), so I'll have to mess about with Prezi in my free time at home. Not sure when I'll get round to it, but I’ll make sure I blog about it whenever I do. In the meantime, if anyone has any thoughts or tips about Prezi, I'd be pleased to hear them...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel...

When I started my new job four months ago, I became a super user of Heritage LMS. My previous experience had been with OLIB and Eclipse, and although I had often heard of Heritage I had never really seen it action.
Image taken by ComedyNose

For the first three months of this job I found Heritage totally overwhelming; it is a huge piece of software encompassing many different modules and I found it quite intimidating. As Systems Librarian is it my job to maintain Heritage – keep it updated, ensure it runs smoothly and is both accessible and useful to our users. Not having ever used Heritage before I had no idea how to do any of this. I tried to learn as much as I could myself, but found even the helpsheets and manuals too complicated for a beginner. To say I was wading through mud would have been an understatement.

This began to slowly change last month after I attended the Heritage Open Day. I found it incredibly valuable and blogged about it here. It helped me realise that Heritage users come from all manner of libraries and we all use it in different ways. It helped me to relax a little and panic less.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

CPD23 Thing 16

Thing 16: Advocacy
The main reason I enjoyed working in a school library is because I felt a large part of my role was to be a library advocate to teenagers. They are the library users of the future and I really believed I had the chance to impart upon them the value of libraries. I worked hard to make sure the library played an active role in the school and had a high profile amongst staff. I also tried to make sure that library initiatives were in the local press at least once every six months.

Image taken by Blpgirl
 Here in the college library, things are a little different as I am no longer a head of department. We have a marketing group within the library team, which produces posters and newsletters etc, and I am not involved with this (other than contributing pieces to the newsletter).
I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to be able to present at a conference, but I have had a few ‘bits & bobs’ published in Cilip’s Update and Gazette magazines. Nothing major, I just reply when they ask for contributions to particular columns. I’ve also had a few letters published too. I like seeing my name in print, and it gave me something to talk about in interviews when I was job hunting after my redundancy earlier this year.

On the whole, library advocacy is a topic I am becoming more enthusiastic about as time goes by. Last week I had an interview to take part in the publicity campaign for the new Library of Birmingham. I was so excited at the chance of being able to stand up publicly and speak out for libraries, but unfortunately I left the interview feeling as though I wasn’t quite what they were looking for. They said it’d be at least 2 weeks before I’d hear anything back, so I’ll keep you posted. On the same day (coincidentally!), I attended my first ever meeting of the local Cilip branch. I was quite nervous, but it was on a small scale and pretty informal. The position of branch Secretary was vacant so I offered my services. Many moons ago I was once Secretary for a history society and enjoyed feeling as though I was doing something valuable with my spare time. I could see the branch was in desperate need of a Secretary and it’s a challenge I’m willing to tackle! At the moment, the Chair is going to gather together the files in order to ‘hand over the secretarial archive’. Exciting!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

CPD23 Thing 15

Image taken by -Ebelien-
Attending, Presenting and Organising
Thing 15 asks us to ponder our position on attending, presenting and organising events. In the past I have attended various events, but not as many as I would have liked. An old favourite of mine was the annual Library and Information Show held at Birmingham NEC. It hasn’t been on for a few years (wonder why???). It increased my awareness of the library world and I’d come back with as many free pens as I could carry! The NEC is huge and I’d never know where to go, so I’d just follow people who looked like typical librarians and sure enough I’d arrive in the correct hall. I know it’s wrong to stereotype but I did find it amusing! In the past 18 months I’ve started to look at sessions held by local Cilip branches and have attended two so far. I find possible attendance at these is far more realistic than sessions held by Cilip (mega pricey and nearly always in London); in contrast these are local and very reasonably priced. I’ve also attended a few online conferences (which I am a big fan of – they seem such fun!) run by JISC Regional Support. I hope to continue attending such events whenever possible as I feel I’ve taken something away from nearly all of them.

Friday, 26 August 2011

At last!

Something happened today at work which brought me so much joy I thought I'd share it with you all. Finally, for the first time since I began this job, my ongoing attempt to clear the classification shelves has succeeded! WooHoo! Here is photogaphic proof of this nirvana-like state; it may well be the most boring photo you'll see, but fellow classifiers will know the sheer happiness of such a sight.

 PS. I'm choosing to ignore those last few books. I can't settle on classmarks for them so I'm leaving them for The Boss to tackle instead.

PPS. Click here to see what these shelves usually look like.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Blog Stats

Have just checked the stats for the blog and visits to BtB have passed the 4,000 mark! Hurrah! Am so chuffed and I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit and browse BtB. I know popular blogs reach 4,000 visits in no time at all, but when I started BtB I didn’t think anyone would ever look at it so I’m really quite taken aback.

I find looking at blog statistics really interesting. Here’s a general breakdown:

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Favourite Reads

Just finished reading a book which really moved me (One Day by David Nicholls) and it got me thinking about books I’ve found pleasure in. So, here is a list; not merely of books I’ve enjoyed (far too numerous), but here are ten books which have made a positive lasting impression upon me and my life.

1. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Seabold. A Richard and Judy Bookclub book, this had a huge impact on me. It's not a very pleasant read but it's a book everyone ought to tackle.

2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon. At the time of reading, I worked with an Autistic pupil, and this book helped me understand the condition a little better than I did.

3. The Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling. All-encompassing. I don't see how anybody can not be drawn in by these books.

4. Riders, by Jilly Cooper. I read this when I moved to Wales at 18. I was homesick at first and this helped take my mind off things. It became my refuge during a time I found difficult to cope and adapt.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Heritage Open Day

On Thursday 18 Aug, I went along to a Heritage LMS open day held at the IS Oxford headquarters. Each institution could have two places free of charge, so our Graduate Trainee came along with me.

Neither of us are overly familiar with the software and, from my point-of-view, it was quite a valuable day. There were presentations by IS Oxford staff tackling issues such as reports, global changes and the new Heritage Cirqa software. I made 6 pages of notes and there are several things I hope to follow up. I left the presentations feeling as though I’d picked up some good tips and some valuable action-points. Today, all attendees received an email containing information, helpsheets and links to do with those topics discussed during the presentations. Although my involvement with the company has been quite basic until now, I must admit to finding IS Oxford user-friendly and approachable.

I am a follower of Heritage on Facebook and this week it proved to be quite fun. They built up the event over the preceding days by posting statuses about the buffet (which was top notch) and providing updated weather reports for the day itself. On the train heading to Oxford I was browsing Facebook and there were updates of early-bird open day visitors arriving. Staff took a number of photos during the day and I’m hoping these will soon be posted to Facebook. I know it’s not to everyone’s taste, but I am a fan of this social network and Heritage having a page somehow closes the distance between ‘them and us.’

Image supplied by IS Oxford

Friday, 19 August 2011

CPD23 Thing 13

Thing 13: Google Docs, Dropbox & Wikis  

Image taken by Chrissinjo 
I’ve never used Dropbox or Google Docs before. Always meant to, just never got round to it. I don’t know much about it, but I find cloud technology very intriguing. So, with CPD23 in mind, I’ve used Google to creat a document and shared it with our Graduate Trainee based at another location. It worked quite well actually and I was impressed. It simple and user-friendly. Likewise, she also shared a doc with me and receiving it was very straight forward. Both of us viewing the doc at the same time was quite amusing, although it turned a little messy when I 'comandered' the cursor and inserted text into the very sentance she was already working on. A little problematic, but perhaps there are ways around this when you know how to utilise Goofle Docs properly. Definitely a useful tool and one I'd like to explore further.

Dropbox looks like it may take a little longer to master. Don’t really have time at work so I’ll grab a look at it sometime at home. I am the queen of memory sticks and always have one on my person at almost any given time. In my last employment post, my memory stick was stolen by a pupil and I lost several documents. I can see Dropbox providing a convenient alternative to the perils of memory sticks.

The other element of Thing 13 is wikis. Finally – something I do have a little experience of! I’ve never had cause to establish a wiki myself, but I have added to various ones in the past:

The library routes project

If anyone knows of any others please drop me a comment to let me know. I enjoy adding to library-related wikis, it’s nice to participate and make a small contribution to a library initiative. These wikis have brought to my attention several blogs which I now regularly follow and a large proportion of BtB’s traffic is directed from these three sites. It’s an easy way of sharing experiences and I really do recommend joining in. Wikis = FTW!

Friday, 12 August 2011

New Build: Part 2

The shelving units arrive
Well, this week has been one of the more unusual weeks at work. As I’ve explained before, our Hinckley site is moving to a new build, and this week has been the week of action! The head librarian is away on annual leave at the moment so overseeing the move has fallen on my shoulders. Although I’ve been involved with library moves before, it hasn’t been whilst I’ve held a senior position, so it’s all quite an eye-opener!

My days this week have been spent either with workmen or architects. Organised chaos is the term I’d use to describe it; boxes everywhere, visible cables loose, moving furniture, inspecting/reporting faults, no room to swing a cat (should I wish to). The library office has a light switch but no light fitting. The fire door opens inwards instead of outwards. The enquiry desk phone has stopped working. The MFDs were not delivered on schedule. But there is some good news: today, the removals company is unpacking the 209 boxes of books and positioning them on the shelves. It’s happening as I type and is very exciting! The room itself is quite nice. In an ideal world it would have been larger, but we can work with the space we've been given and develop it into a decent learning environment. One of the walls is a top to toe window so the place is very light and airy.

The books arrive
I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished library, but I know I have to first survive another week of organised chaos. It’s all going to plan though and luckily there hasn’t been any major issues. Finally, by the end of today, the space will start to look like a library and there will be room to move! I’ve found it a stressful journey with lots of hurdles to jump, but I’ve learnt lots about project management (and myself) and now – finally! – there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hurrah!

Will blog again about the new build when the library is finished and looking lovely. I can’t wait!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

CPD23 Thing 12

Image taken by Billbooz
Thing 12: Social Media
Not quite sure what to say about Thing 12 which doesn't just rehash what I've already written for previous Things.

I am a big user of social networks for communicating with friends and have had accounts with both Facebook and MySpace for that reason. I’ve also recently started to use Twitter to communicate with other library folk who I wouldn’t have had the opportunity of ‘meeting’ otherwise. I am a member of various forums too (mostly to do with my geocaching hobby and my position on Cilip's editorial panel), but I think that’s about as far as my use of social media goes. Apart from this blog, obviously!

I know there is a wide variety of social media tools out there which are utilised massively by the library community, but I’m afraid I’ve been a little slow on the uptake. I’m quite ashamed of it if I’m being honest. One of the things I hoped CPD23 would lead to is an exploration of basic cloud technology; I know this is a weak spot of mine so I’m looking forward to the next Thing where we are encouraged to look at Google Docs and Dropbox.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

CPD23 Thing 11

Image taken by Nivermind
Thing 11: Mentoring
I am a b-i-g fan of the mentoring process, having experienced it from both sides. I find it extremely useful and a great way of learning new things (whether I’m the mentor or mentee).

My first experience of being a mentor was in the final year of my undergrad degree. I signed up to the university’s Peer Guide scheme where I was assigned 5 first year students to act as a mentor to. I was quite shy at the time, so I didn’t make as much of it as I should have, but I enjoyed what I did. However, retrospectively I do feel a tad guilty that I didn’t do a better job for those kids.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

'My Job' Column

This month, I feature in the ‘My Job’ column in Cilip Update with Gazette magazine. For 300 words I prattle on about the differences between my new job (FE) and my old job (school). If you’re a Cilip member you can view the magazine online with your username and password; however, if you aren’t a member and are curious to read my ramblings, the text is given below. 

(Click on the image and it should open in a larger window, making it easier to read.)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

CPD23 Thing 10

Image taken by Yoppy
Thing 10: Routes into Librarianship
So, Thing #10 is to blog about how and why we are where we are career-wise...

My story is pretty straight forward, and probably similar to a lot of other people's accounts. However, so that I don’t merely repeat my Library Roots / Routes record, here's a brief outline below:

The left-hand box represents my employment roles and the right-hand box shows the additional activities I’ve done parallel to this. Over the years I’ve learnt that, for my own satisfaction and development, I like to have ‘something else’ on the go at the same time (such as an evening course, writing an article or maintaining BtB). I know it's cheesy, but the more you put in the more you get out.

Not quite sure what the future has in store for me, but there are a few things I think I’d like it to include (should the Wish Fairy being listening...)

Line management qualification
Involvement with a Cilip committee
HE library role (one day in the future)
Winning the lottery

And if I could crack all that, I'd be one very happy bunny!

    Wednesday, 3 August 2011

    CPD23 Thing 9

    Image taken by Marco Raaphorst
    Thing 9: Evernote
    From reading various CPD23blogs, I can see that many people have found Evernote to be a useful tool in keeping track of the information on websites and making notes regarding it. I've never heard of it before. I know that this may make me seem a bit ‘behind the times’, and maybe I’m missing the point entirely, but I just don’t see that I have a need for Evernote. When exactly do people use it? In which situations and for what reason? Would it be of greater use to someone who regularly performs research? A student, maybe?  I don’t know.

    Can a fan of Evernote please tell me?!

    (PS. Completely unrelated to cpd23, but this is my 65th blog post. Woo!!! Yay!!!)

    Tuesday, 2 August 2011

    CPD23 Thing 8

    Thing 8: Google Calendar:
    I think this post will be short and sweet (and all one paragraph!). I’ve taken a look at Google Calendar for the purpose of CPD23, and whilst I can see its value, I doubt I’ll be using it myself. Not in the immediate future anyhoo. I already use an online calendar via Microsoft Outlook. It is linked to my work email account and synced with my iPhone calendar, so I have access to it whether I’m online or not. Also, my line manager and I share our Outlook calendars with each other, meaning we are always able to see when either of us has appointments. This sharing feature, along with the ability to sync it to my phone, is what I find most useful and is the main reason I am not looking to move to an alternative online calendar. However, Google Calendar looks a pretty decent tool and is definitely worth bearing in mind for the future. Thank you, CPD23, for encouraging me to look at alternative options such as this - I would probably never have done so otherwise! 

    Image taken by Aeroix

    Friday, 29 July 2011

    Day in the Life (R7) part 4

    From completely full to roughly hall full :(
    Friday 29 July
    Today is the final day of Library Day in the Life and my plan is to complete my self-imposed challenge of emptying the classification shelf. I took a photo of the shelf at the start of the week and another at the end of the week. Did I succeed in my challenge? A quick comparision of the photos will tell you that... I did not. Curses.

    I kick off my classification marathon, except there’s a problem with the OPAC and enquiry menu. The IT dept have to reboot the server to get it working again *losing valuable classification time damnit*

    Meanwhile, I finish the annual report, finally! I should have emailed it to my boss before heading off on a week’s annual leave at the end of today, but I forgot all about it until I got home and don’t have access to my storage area from here – ooops! Not quite sure what to do about this pickle at the moment. Hmmmm.

    Exchange resources (AKA ‘idea stealing’) with a fellow FE librarian (hello Andrea!) who left a comment on BtB. I never know who – if anyone – reads my blog so it was nice to make contact. Hopefully we’ve both gained something useful.

    Not long before the end of the day, the boss tells me we have a date for the external company coming in to move the books from the old library to the new one, and he’s on annual leave at the time so I’ll be the one who ‘masterminds moving day’. It isn’t for 2 weeks but already I’m panicing in case I mess up and discard some vitally important piece of kit instead of transferring it over. And as for telling the removals men where to position the bookshelves in the new library... I don't know! *Trying hard not to panic*

    Thursday, 28 July 2011

    Day in the Life (R7) part 3

    Library entrance-come-storage area
    Thursday 28 July
    The day kicks off with checking my emails and a few minutes browsing a handful of library-related blogs. One of the assistants goes through the daily overdues procedure with me to make sure I’m fully up to speed with how to run them for both campus locations. It seems pretty straight forward, but will I remember???

    Do some more work on the second draft of the annual report but I can’t really settle into it today. I’m expecting an important email and despite checking my account every two minutes, it doesn’t arrive. It’s also difficult to concentrate today – the place is like a building site. There are glaziers installing new windows throughout the building and there is constant stream of debris hitting our windows. I think the library's new windows are due to be fitted next week while I'm on annual leave. There is also carpet being laid next door and the library entrance now resembles an assault course with so much furniture stored in the gangway. There is even a new library enquiry desk in the middle of the study area waiting to be fitted. The place looks like a warehouse at the moment - I have to laugh!

    In the afternoon I leave the Nuneaton campus and drive over to the Hinckley site. Have a pow-wow with a senior assistant about the new date labels and use of SMS-linked QR Codes. While we’re both there, the head librarian and I put our heads together to tidy up the classification of several areas of stock. We produce one number with 7 post-decimal point digits. We ditch it as it’s far too complicated, but the boss made me laugh when he described it as ‘hardcore classification’!

    Wednesday, 27 July 2011

    Day in the Life (R7) part 2

    Tuesday 26 July
    Began the day with my usual practice of reading emails and catching up with the latest CPD23 Thing(s). The rest of the morning was spent re-designing the date labels with the head librarian and generating SMS-linked QR Codes to feature on them, offering another option for renewals and enquiries.

    I’d like to post the codes to our OPAC too, but I’m new to the software and can’t see an immediately obvious way of doing it. I post my first-ever forum message to Marvin, asking other Heritage users if they know of a way to do it. I eagerly check my emails throughout the day but nobody replies.
    I guess it isn’t possible.

    I’m at the Nuneaton campus today and our other campus (Hinckley) is in the middle of a move to a new-build library. With the help of another member of staff, I learn how to run the overdues for one location from a different location. Will tackle this again Thursday morning to make sure I’ve got the hang of it properly.

    After lunch there’s an impromptu meeting with the boss to discuss the job specification for a vacant post (should funding be agreed for it) and then I registered for Library Camp UK 11 (which I’d heard about on Twitter over lunch). The majority of the afternoon is spent on the second draft of the annual report and Heritage housekeeping tasks, before I finish the day with 30 minutes of classification.

    Wednesday is annual leave so my next Library Day in the Life entry will be posted Thursday.

    My desk this afternoon, during my classification challenge

    Monday, 25 July 2011

    Day in the Life (R7) part 1

    Monday 25 July
    Have been looking forward to taking part in Library Day In The Life for ages, but it's not the most exciting of weeks to record. I work in a college, it's the summer hols so it's tumbleweed quiet. Have been tweeting sporadically throughout the day (@CaraClarke #libday7), but here’s my main account:

    Arrive at work 8.30am after a 60 minute commute on the motorway. Start off by reading and replying to emails. Receive confirmation of a place at a Heritage training day *smiles*.

    Finish off my first draft of the library’s first ever annual report, which the head librarian then politely rips apart. Feel a bit miffed so I head into the workroom for a break. After a chat with the assistants I feel a bit better and return to my desk to tackle the backlog of classification. The classification shelf is full to bursting. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to empty the shelf by Friday. A bit ambitious, particularly as the librarian wants the second draft of the annual report by Friday, but hey ho I can but try. (Skip ahead to Friday's blog post to see if I succeed in my mission...)

    Spend my 30 minute lunch break in the workroom alone, browsing Facebook and chatting to my boyfriend on the phone. Swapping one library office for another library office is not the best way to spend my lunch break – I must get out for some fresh air during lunch tomorrow. The rest of the day is spent debating the joys of class numbers with Melvin Dewey (mostly politics and law with a bit of porn thrown in for good measure). By the late afternoon I’ve spent so long at my computer I have eye-strain and a headache. Take a break and feel a little more refreshed.

    Mini-conflab with the boss about the library’s use of QR codes and business cards. Will sort something out tomorrow, but for now, it’s 4.30pm and my working day is o-v-e-r.

    Wednesday, 20 July 2011

    CPD23 Thing 7

    Thing 7: Professional Networks. Here are my thoughts…
    I’ve been a member of Cilip since 2004, but it has been only recently that I’ve actually gone to any of their events. This year I went to the West Midlands branch Members’ Day (which I blogged about here and really enjoyed), and last year I went to the Librarians as Teachers day. I get very nervous going to such things, especially on my own when I don’t know anyone, which was the case on both of these occasions.

    Image taken by Flattop
    I’m a member of the Editorial Panel for Cilip’s Update with Gazette magazine, about half way through a three year term. It involves providing feedback via forums each time an issue is published. It also involves bi-annual meetings at Cilip HQ in London, but with the current restructuring going on, the future of these meetings is uncertain. I enjoy this and it has really increased my current awareness of issues reported in the magazine. It was also a massive boost to my CV when I was job hunting a few months ago.

    In my previous life as a school librarian, I was part of several networks; the School Library Association, the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, the Library Campaign and the local School Library Service Network. I found the last one of these to be most useful in terms of networking, ideas and resources. It’s such a shame that a trend seems to be developing which sees councils closing down branches to save funds.

    Shall I tell you a secret? Sometimes, in my wildest dreams, I fantasise about being on the committee for my local branch of Cilip. I don’t know what role I could do – I’m not very good at highlighting my individual skills – but quite fancy something to do with the newsletter or secretary or treasury posts. Back in the day during my undergrad degree I was secretary for the University History Society. Ahhh, memories…

    In the cpd23 blog post for Thing 7 there were several networks mentioned that I’d never heard of. Will try to have a nose around and see what they’re like. There’s so many it’s hard to keep up with them all.

    Tuesday, 19 July 2011

    CPD23 Thing 6

    Image taken by Rosmary
    Thing 6: Social Networks

    I use Facebook on a daily basis to keep in touch with friends. It works well for me and suits my needs. However, when I worked at the school library, it would regularly be at the centre of cyber-bullying issues and the police were often involved. I am a Facebook admin for NWHC library page, which we use mainly to promote the library blog. I‘m not sure how to maximise it yet, but I feel this is an under-developed marketing tool for the library. My personal account follows several library initiatives on Facebook and I’ve learnt quite a bit through it.

    Twitter. Hmmm. I’ve checked in daily since Thing 4 recommended it, but we’ve still not really gelled. I use it to raise my current awareness of professional issues, but I don’t like the barrage of useless tweets which come along with that. I’m persevering with it but will see what happens.

    I really ought to have a LinkedIn account. When recruiting for the job, my new line manager Googled me to see if I had an online presence, and I’d probably have scored a little higher if he’d been able to find me on LinkedIn. I’ll try to find time for it during the week.

    I use Cilip Communities fairly often. BtB is part of the Blog Landscape and my role on Update with Gazette’s editorial panel involves using the forums.

    I’ve recently compiled a training plan for our graduate trainee and part of it was to explore relevant social networking sites. Generally, I’m quite a fan of social networking and get a lot from it. I find it valuable and easy using my iPhone apps, though that’s not to say I want a million different accounts dotted about all over the place. I social networking sites convenient and useful but must admit they are definitely a double-edged sword.

    Monday, 18 July 2011

    New Build: Part 1

    Last week, our library team spent a morning visiting the new build library at Northampton College. The outing was arranged as part of our staff development and I’m sure each of us left green with envy!

    We were given a thorough presentation by librarian Grazyna Kuczera regarding the planning and building of the project. Grazyna is quite a character and really brought the process to life. After this we had a tour of the new facilities and oh-my-word they are amazing! It was really inspiring and the tour generated lots of discussion about library layout and design. It was interesting to hear about the ups and downs of the project and see the final version up and running. The LRC team members there were quite open and willing to share their experiences – good and bad – about it all.

    Library staff from the City of Wolverhampton College were there too for a tour, which was nice as I met one them again the following day at the HUG session in Birmingham (which I blogged about here). If any of you ‘out there’ work in FE and would like to tour a new build library, I can’t recommend Northampton College enough.

    Sunday, 17 July 2011


    From the name, HUG sounds as though it should be some sort of love-in session, but no; it is the infamous Heritage User Group. HUG is independent of Heritage and is a platform for users to work with developers IS Oxford to provide feedback and share experiences.

    Image taken by Jo-h
    As part of my new job I am required to be a superuser of Heritage, a LMS I am completely new to. I am discovering it is a huge piece of software and I find the reports functionality to be quite intimidating, but I must - and will! - get to grips with it.

    Yesterday was the bi-annual meeting of HUG so I went along. It was held in a conference centre at Aston University which is quite local to where I live (= nice morning lie-in). There were approximately 35 Heritage users present spanning a variety of library sectors. It was a chance to meet others and I'm really glad I went.

    The day consisted of a number of presentations from other users describing innovative uses of the software, plus a detailed session from IS Oxford outlining Cirqa (which will eventually replace Heritage). During the afternoon we separated into smaller focus groups to discuss what we like/dislike about Heritage, and I was comforted to realise I am not alone in my failure to immediately gel with the reports module. Hurrah! Unfortunately, it was disappointing to be told that my suggestion of making Heritage Online smartphone/tablet friendly is not on IS Oxford's actin plan for the forseeable future. If they don't embrace non-windows based technology they may start to falter.

    The next HUG meeting is during the winter and I think I'd find attendance there to be equally as valuable. I believe it's usually held in London rather than Brum, so I'll have to see how healthy the staff development budget is looking nearer the time...

    Friday, 15 July 2011

    CPD23 Thing 5

    Image taken by Rosmary
    Thing 5: Reflective Practice

    I quite enjoyed the reflective chapter of my dissertation a few years ago, which was my first real attempt at reflective writing. I started this blog a few years later when I was going though the chartership process, thinking it’d help me record my thoughts and impressions whilst also giving me a greater web presence. Earlier this year BtB was accepted as part of the Cilip Landscape. I applied for this with the intention that it’d help to keep me on the reflective straight and narrow.

    Regarding CPD23, I feel it’s really encouraged me to ponder things that would never have occurred to me before. It has raised my awareness of certain tools, spurred me on the get to grips with Twitter and think seriously about my personal brand. I’m really appreciative that so many CPD23 blogs have been created – I love browsing them. I haven’t looked at RSS feeds yet but I’m hoping to do so when I have a bit more time.

    A large part of CPD23, for me, is helping the other members of the library team find their feet with blogging. Several were unfamiliar with Blogger as a platform or wary of the idea of blogging altogether so I sit down and talk them through it. I hope they find it helpful! It’s also helping me get to know the other members of the team, which I’m thankful for as breaking the ice with new people is something I struggle with on a personal basis. So thank you CPD23!

    Wednesday, 13 July 2011

    Staff Conference

    This past week was the college’s annual Staff Conference, which sees members of staff attending internal staff development sessions. Being a newbie to the college, I was quite keen to learn as much as possible and attend as many as I could. The selection was quite diverse and I chose sessions on the college’s sustainability policy, a personal fitness MOT and how to perform appraisals. I also learnt about Pacific Institute, which is a programme the college subscribes to promoting positive individual wellbeing amongst staff. I’d never heard of PI before, I wonder where else makes use of it?

    Yesterday was the end-of-term Share Fair. I’d never come across this before but it’s quite a good idea. Each department puts on a stall demonstrating their recent activities. The catering dept gave sushi demonstrations – very entertaining! The library stall had a plasma screen showing a loop presentation and various pieces of our loan-able AV equipment on display. By far the most popular were the four iPads we currently have on trial from the local JISC Regional Support Centre. We are hoping to purchase a small number of tablet devices in the not-too-distant future and this was a nice way of promoting them. I quite enjoyed the Share Fair experience. It was a nice way of learning about other departments and I gathered some information about a particular evening course for the next academic year. I staffed the library stall for 30 minutes and was a little nervous in case I was asked any in-depth questions about our service which I may not know the answers to, but in reality I spent most of the time talking about iPads. We had some interesting feedback about them.

    With the whole library team attending various staff development sessions, it’s been quite a busy week, and the organisation of the timetable was particularly challenging! I had forgotten that we are a dual site college and booked myself on one session which I couldn’t attend because I was timetabled at a different campus. Oooh well, tis further proof that I am still on that newbie learning curve...

    Tuesday, 12 July 2011

    CPD23 Thing 4 Part 2

    Thing 4 Part 2 RSS Feeds, Twitter and Pushnote

    Last night I spent 90 minutes playing around with Twitter. Have had an account for a few years but never used it. It all looks a bit confusing to me and as clear as mud. So, deep breath...

    With Thing 3 in mind, I used the settings to alter the look of my profile so that the colour scheme now matches that of my blog. I also changed my profile picture to the same photo shown on BtB's 'about me' tab. I re-jigged my followers list so that it’s mostly ‘key library tweeters’ and posted a few tweets myself. Before I knew it, a handful of people had replied, which was quite exciting! I even managed to join a hash-tag conversation!

    I feel a bit better about the whole Twitter experience now. It still looks a little confusing, but hopefully it’ll become clearer with perseverance.

    Due to time constraints, I’m afraid RSS Feeds and Pushnote are on the backburner for now.

    Monday, 11 July 2011

    Library Day in the Life (R7)

    Today I registered to take part in Round 7 of Library Day in the Life. Finally!!!!

    Library Day in the Life is a project where participants share their working days via blog posts, photos and Twitter updates. What a fab way of learning how other libraries operate on a daily basis! Have had my eye on this for the past 2 years or so but never got round to joining in. (I blogged about missing Rounds 4 and 5 here and here.) It runs twice a year, but January I'd be too preoccupied and every July I'd be unable to participate because the school library I worked in would be closed. If any of you regularly dip into BtB, you'll probably know I now work in a college library, which will be open during Round 7, so I can finally take part! Yipeeee!

    My details are #38 in the Library Day in the Life participant list.

    Tuesday, 5 July 2011

    CPD23 Thing 4 Part 1

    Thing 4: RSS feeds, Twitter, Pushnote

    Phew! Is it just me, or does Thing 4 seem like a pretty B-I-G Thing?! By the looks of it, it'll take me longer than a week to get to grips with these, so I'm quite glad that Thing 5 is reflective practice.

    Have never used RSS feeds but it's something that I've long been meaning to explore. Infact, I'm quite ashamed that I've not dabbled with them before.

    Pushnote. No idea.

    Twitter. I've had an account for a few years but rarely use it (ie never!). Like RSS feeds, Twitter is something I know I ought to be familiar with but I've lacked the inclinatin to learn the mechanics of yet another social site. Being on the list of Things will finally make me get around to Tweeting properly.

    Thing 4 Part 2 to follow....

    Thursday, 30 June 2011

    CPD23 Thing 3

     Thing 3: Personal Brand

    I’ve considered my personal brand a few times in the past and have blogged about it here. It’s a topic I’ve given much thought to and I’ve yet to reach a ‘brand’ I’m finally happy with.
    In April 2011 I changed the layout of my blog, and went for a pink and pale grey colour scheme. I wanted something cool, sharp and uncluttered. I like the contrast between the colours and feel they reflect the different aspects of my personality, but I’m aware that pink isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and may turn off some people (particularly men). I’ve stayed with it because I like it, but it’s a constant dilemma for me. Recently, a few CPD23-ers have commented on / referred to BtB and the appearance has been complimented no less than 4 times! Those comments put a huge smile on my face as it’s something I’ve pondered long and hard.
    Image taken by Jim Donnelly

    I’d feel happier about my ‘brand’ if I had an image of some sort, which was instantly recognisable as belonging to BtB. Several blogs use images in this way (Wikiman, Joeyanne Libraryanne, Organising Chaos) and I think it adds a certain something. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on though – maybe the letters BtB in some sort of fancy arrangement?

    Generally, I try to keep my personal and professional online profiles apart. I don’t usually mention BtB on Facebook and vice versa. I do have a Twitter account but I’ve never really taken to the mechanics of it and generally tend to ignore tweeting. It’s a powerful tool so that’s something I need to address – thankfully it’s one of the ‘Things’ to come!

    I Googled myself, as advised by CPD23, to check my online visibility. My first search (‘Cara Clarke’) resulted in people with the same name on various social networks, plus my Race For Life sponsorship page. My second search (‘Cara Clarke library’) produced more refined results. The first page of hits included BtB, my presence on other library blogs / wikis, Cilip WM branch's Flickr photostream, Cilip’s Update with Gazette editorial panel and finally some Twitter remarks. The search produced a general summary of my library-related activity. I found it quite an interesting exercise to do and the results were quite surprising. It made me realise that although it might be a bit patchy, I've somehow developed more of an online presence than I thought!

    Wednesday, 29 June 2011

    Webinar Wonderings...

    Ideally, BtB should reflect my library experiences whether good or bad. It’s very easy to write about how brilliant an event has been, but it’s slightly more awkward writing about things that went pear-shaped.

    Today, I was hoping to attend a webinar relating to OpenAthens, which made use of GoToMeeting software. Everything was ready, there I was poised with my headphones, but the software refused to open. I called upon the IT technicians who spent 40 minutes trying to access it. Apparently there was a compatibility problem with servers and firewalls and account privileges and other jargon-words that go way over my head. The long and short of it was – it just couldn’t be opened.

    My experience of webinars is limited, but I wonder if many other people have had frustrating / disappointing experiences with them? Previously, I’ve attended a two-day webinar event, which used Elluminate software. (I blogged about it here.) It went off without a hitch and I was left with a really positive experience. However, I see now that there are such a lot of variables involved and it leads me to wonder if webinar experiences are generally quite hit-and-miss…

    Friday, 24 June 2011

    Finding my Feet

    Image taken by Aussiegall
    I haven’t yet blogged about my new job in a college, but I’ve just completed my third week there. I know all you millions of BtB fans are dying to know how I’ve been getting on, but my reasons for being silent are two-fold. Firstly, I’m not quite sure what to say – I’m still getting to grips with it all. Secondly, I’m hoping to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and produce a short report which I plan to sell to highest bidder (heehee).

    An announcement of my having moved roles can be read in the People News section of June's Cilip Update with Gazette. (The magazine is available online but to Cilip members only.)

    FE is very different to compulsory education and the respective library services are very different too. I am forever asking questions and some days I feel lost. I’ll be okay once I’ve found my feet, it’s just not an immediate development. However, here are my two main observations thus far:

    1. A 65 mile daily round trip is a lot longer than a 4 mile daily round trip. Sounds obvious, I know, but I’ve still not managed to adapt yet. I will though… just as soon as I find the energy to get up off the sofa in the evenings.

    2. The gas-lift swivel chair at the enquiry desk gradually sinks lower regardless how heavy the person sitting in it may be. Which, on a personal level, is a huge relief as I feared it was just when I sat in it!

    Tuesday, 21 June 2011

    CPD23 Thing 2

    Image taken by Tim Green
    Thing 2: Stalking blogs and commenting

    Spent an hour browsing various blogs from the CPD23 Delicious bookmarks. There are sooo many to choose from, loved looking at all the inventive names folks have given their blogs. I’ve selected seven to follow. The majority are from the same sector I work in, but this is a good opportunity to mix it up a little, so I’m also following a couple of non-FE library blogs, and one from another country.

    I’m hoping that following the blogs will be a good way of eye-spying what it’s like to work in a variety of libraries, but I didn’t want to follow too many in case I’m inundated with updates. Most were new and quite empty, so I selected those particular seven purely because I liked the blog names and backgrounds. While I appreciate they are each a work-in-progress (as is my own), it really makes you think about the importance of first impressions.

    Looking forward to seeing what everyone gets up to over the next few months. Hopefully, fingers crossed, a few fellow participants will look up BtB!

    Monday, 20 June 2011

    CPD23 Thing 1

    Image taken by drcorneilus
    Well, today is the day that cpd23 kicks off, so here I am blogging about Thing 1:

    Thing 1: Blog and blogging
    I created Behind the Bookshelves back in 2009. I was going through chartership at the time felt I needed to be more proactive and have an online presence (other than Facebook!). The frequency of posting has been sporadic – sometimes several each week, other times nothing for months – but I’m not too fussed about that. BtB is an informal record of my musings and that’s how I like it – a casual, drop in place people can visit whenever the fancy takes them.

    My line manager at work suggested cpd23 to the library team, and of the 12 of us I think there are about 8 taking part. I thought it looked a fun way of learning new things, rather than attending a rigid course. I’m looking forward to Thing 3 (personal brand), Thing 4 (RSS feeds) and Thing 13 (file sharing). These have all been on my ‘to do’ list for a while but I never seemed to get round to them. Hopefully cpd23 will be the kick up the backside I need!   

    Wednesday, 8 June 2011


    23 Things has been around for a few years now, during which time it has grown massively in popularity. I've never followed it personally, but I do find it quite interesting. It's a fun example of self-directed learning, a way of increasing a person's online knowledge, profile and activity.

    Found this rather fab blog today, 23 Things for Professional Development, which draws inspiration from the original 23 Things. I shall definitely enroll on it! CPD23 describes itself as....

    23 Things for Professional Development is a free online programme open to information professionals at all stages of their career, in all types of role, and anywhere across the world.

    Inspired by the 23 Things programmes for social media, this new programme will consist of a mixture of social media "Things" and "Things" to do with professional development. The programme starts on 20 June and will run until early October 2011.

    Each week the CPD23 blog will be updated with details of the next thing to be explored. Catch up weeks and reflection weeks are built into the programme, so it's not a problem if you’re going to be away for a week or two!

    If you’re on Twitter follow @cpd23 and tweet with the hashtag #cpd23.

    Friday, 20 May 2011

    SLS Closures

    Just read an article on BBC News entitled 'Authors slam school library cuts'. When I worked in a school library I found the council's School Library Service (SLS) invaluable. When I was made redundant from the school back in April, the future of my local SLS was under discussion (the council building in which it is housed is to be closed and the SLS wasn't aware of this until it was leaked to the local newspaper!) and the neaby Birmingham SLS has been scrapped. The SLS co-ordinates activities, sources funding, provides resources, creates networking opportunities and provides training. Libraries are a vital part of schools and with the way SLS across the country are closing due to funding shortages, school libraries themselves will falter in terms of quality, however proactive a particular librarian happens to be - that it, of course, presuming an individual school employs a librarian in the first place.

    Closing SLS is outrageous, and likewise reducing school library provisions is outrageous. There's no two ways about it. Yes, I know there are other priorities, but surely literacy is all-important in schools? I no longer work in a school library, but the situation still makes my blood boil with anger!
    Rant over. Please take a look at the BBC article. It strongly echoes the excellent work of The Campaign for the Book.

    Thursday, 19 May 2011

    Discover-e 2011

    This week I took part in a two-day event organised by JISC Regional Support Centre (West Mids) entitled Discover-e 2011. It was a free, online event consisting of numerous webinars, based on the theme of ‘Supporting learning providers’ priorities’.

    Approximately 135 delegates signed up to the event and we were able to individually select which sessions we’d prefer to attend.  This was my first time participating in a webinar / online conference so I was a little apprehensive, but I was genuinely surprised how simple and straight-forward it was. The sessions were delivered using Elluminate software which allows delegates in the room to view a PowerPoint presentation, whilst listening to the presentation being delivered live through headphones. There is also a chatbox visible, so delegates can raise questions or start a parallel discussion. In addition to this, there are function buttons allowing delegates to applaud, laugh or raise their hands.

    The first session I attended was delivered by Steve Taylor of Mercia Management. It was entitled ‘Tablet PCs in remote / mobile learning’. There were 38 delegates in the room for this presentation, although the number was fluid as people were able to enter / leave the room as they wished. Steve told of his organisation’s experience of loaning out netbooks to engineering apprentice students. Overall, Steve said the initiative had been smooth-flowing with no acts of hardware / software misuse. Mercia Management found that loaning netbooks generated an excitement amongst the students who were keen to accept the responsibility of the equipment. There was an increase in IT literacy, faster assignment completions and increased achievements. I’m glad this was the first sessions I attended; I have experience of a similar initiative from my previous post in a school and therefore felt able to contribute to the session by discussing this in the chatbox.

    Wednesday, 18 May 2011

    Librarians with Lives

    Dear Library Fans,

    One of my favourite library-related blogs to read is Librarians with Lives.  It's an informal blog discussing ways of fitting CPD into busy lives, and often features guest posts. I've written a post for it which has been published today, entitled Cilip Update and CPD. As the title suggests, I discuss how to use Cilip's Update with Gazette publication as a CPD opportunity. I hope you enjoy it.

    Monday, 16 May 2011

    Cilip Blog Landscape

    Cilip Communities is a section of the Cilip website which helps bring together the activities of Cilip members. One way in which this is done is via the Blog Landscape, an aggregated collection of blogs written by various Cilip members. It is similar to the UK Library Blogs wiki but entries are specific to Cilip members' blogs.

    I am pleased to say that, as from last Friday, 'Behind the Bookshelves' is a member of the Blog Landscape and now proudly displays the Cilip Blogger button. BtB is link #74 in the long lost of blog sites. In the 4 days since the BtB has been included, 5 people have viewed the blog through it. Hopefully, joining the Blog Landscape will not only increase the number of visitors to the blog, but also help encourage me to make regular postings. I am an avid reader of blogs and enjoy posting, but must admit that during times of particular stress / enjoyment / rushed off my feet it tends to be one of the activities that gets relegated from my 'to do' list. It's ironic as these are the times that most demand to be recorded. I maintained a diary thoughout my teenage years but during similar such times my entries would become increasingly sparse. Here I am aged 32 saying exactly the same about this blog; I wonder - will I ever change?