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....