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.