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.