Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Reading Habits

Whilst browsing the archives of Theatregrad’s blog, came across a questionnaire about reading habits which has done the rounds on a fair few blogs (though nobody seems to know where it originated from!). Couldn’t resist giving it a go:

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack?
Every now and then I’ll have a glass of squash and some chocolate while reading. It relaxes me and feels like a luxurious treat!

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
If it’s a fiction book there’s no need to mark it, unless I’m reading it alongside an accompanying revision guide (which I sometimes do just for fun. Sad, I know.). My text books are FULL of annotations and scribbles.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Leaving School

Some of you may already be aware that I have recently been made redundant from the school library. I haven’t blogged about it until now as I wanted to gain distance and perspective first – reading a wholly negative blog post is no fun and benefits nobody. 

I worked at the school for almost 6 years and in September 2010 it merged with a local school to form a ‘new’ dual site school. The original plan was for the school to remain dual site, with some subjects on North Site and others on South Site. However, with the coalition’s controversial removal of the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ (BSF) programme in Summer 2010, the school lost £32million. This was a massive political u-turn and, at grass roots levels, it meant the school could no longer afford to operate two sites. So, ultimately, redundancies were made from both support and teaching staff.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

New-Look Blog!

I spent this afternoon helping a friend set up a new blog and guiding her through the 'dos and donts' got me thinking: how do people perceive my blog? What does its appearance say to viewers? Is it too cluttered? Unprofessional and too amateur? With too many additional gadgets?

Those amongst you with sharp eyes will have noticed the change in theme and layout here at BtB. I've decided to go for cool colours and clean lines. I've looked at the themes adopted by other blogs, in particular two renowned local bloggers Joeyanne and David Viner; the first opts for lilac flowers whilst the latter prefers blacks and greys. It's such a personal decision but hopefully, the choice of colours I've plunged for (notably the addition of pink) will reflect my character, but the theme is general enough to appeal to the majority. Have also removed several gadgets which made the page a little too busy. It is now uncluttered and easy to understand. So, welcome to the new-look blog. Whadya think?

Friday, 15 April 2011

QR Codes

Just scanned my first QR Code. Downloaded a QR Reader app on the iPhone a while ago but didn't get round to using it til tonight. I was flicking through a TV magazine and found one out of the blue. It contained various trailers for TV programmes.

Great fun! And ingenious too! So many possibilities! I saw a couple on the walls when I visited the library at the Stoke campus of Staffordshire University recently, wish I'd had chance to scan them to see what treasures they held.

Looked up Quick Responce Codes on Wikipedia to find out a bit more about them. Didn't realise they were as old as they are, and I especially didn't realise they'd been used in Kylie and Pet Shop Boys pop videos! Widely used in the East but with a slow uptake in the West.

Hmmm, just a little randomness here, thinking out loud; wonder if I can generate a QR Code for this blog and then post it to my Facebook profile? I shall let you know how I get on...

Sunday, 3 April 2011


Last year I blogged about a college interview for a PTLLS course (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector). This is the foundation license of post-16 teaching. I don't intend to become a teacher but there are teaching skills involved in librarianship and the course helps to consolidate them.

I enrolled with Sandwell College and completed the course in July 2010. It was invaluable, I learnt so much and became more confident when teaching.

In order to successfully complete the course, learners must submit a portfolio of assignments (lesson plan, scheme of work, inclusivity, behaviour management, classroom layout etc) and be observed teaching a 30 minute lesson. The lesson could be based around infromal topics, and mine focussed on book covering. For one of my lesson resources, I created a short step-by-step video (my boyfriend was the cameraman/editor and my hands/voice were the stars!). Have recently bought a new PC and whilst tidying up my computer files I came across the video again. Thought I'd post it for your viewing pleasure.

Ayone who knows me well will find this video hilarious. I, on the other hand, find it almost cringeworthy. Do I really sound like that?!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

iPhone App

Testing! Testing! First time blogging using the iPhone app 'Blogwriter'.

What will it turn out like? Will it have naff formatting? Will it have a signature from the app? Oooh so many questions! Let's press send and find out!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Members' Day (WM branch)

This week I attended the Members’ Day and AGM of Cilip’s West Midlands branch, held at the Stoke campus of Staffordshire University. It’s the first time I’ve attended such an event and the way it was structured brought back memories of when I was part of a History Society committee.

The theme of the day was based around libraries of the future, and there were several informative presentations on new builds in the West Midlands, covering Staffordshire University, the Library of Birmingham, Newman University College and Worcester’s The Hive. Each talk had its own merits and I enjoyed them all, particularly the discussion regarding The Hive – it seems such a unique project. However, for me, one comment stood out from the rest of the day. During the post-talk Q&A session, the panel were asked how the names were selected for these new projects. Chris Porter, from Newman University College, said they had fought long and hard to maintain the term ‘library’ as part of the rebuild’s new name. She explained that in an attempt to move with the times, libraries constantly try to rebadge themselves and, over the years, have favoured names such as Resource Centre or Learning Hub etc., yet the term library has always been the predominant name for such a facility. The word has been in use for thousands of years and it is always the term people use to describe the place. So why change it? Why rebrand it purely for the sake of rebranding it? At this stage I almost wanted to stand up, applaud and shout ‘hear, hear’! Her comments resoluted with me totally – I am proud to be a ‘Librarian’ and have no desire to be a ‘Learning Hub Facilitator’.

During the day, people who gained Cilip awards during the previous 12 months were invited to have an additional certificate presented form the local branch. Having completed chartership last year, I took up this offer and felt quite proud when Cilip Vice-President Phil Bradley shook my hand and people started to clap. The chartership process is quite tough and it was nice to have a way of marking it, other than a certificate simply falling through the letter-box. There are photos of the day (including one of me!) in the branch's Flickr photostream.

My first impression of the local branch’s Members’ Day was quite favourable and I would definitely recommend attendance to others. The committee members were friendly and approachable; the event was reasonably priced and provided excellent value for money. I shall definitely be there for Members’ Day 2012!