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