Wednesday, 26 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 23

Image by Jcgoforth
…And so here we are: Thing 23. 'The End'.

CPD23 Things has finally come to a close and I’ve blogged my way through each Thing over the past few months. The final Thing is to produce a six-word story to sum up the experience, and I’ve wracked my brains for this. I can’t adequately condense it into so few words, but here is my attempt: ‘hectic but enjoyable; I learnt lots!’

What was good about CPD23 Things?
I really enjoyed this course, so so soooo much! I hadn’t heard of some the tools introduced to us, and others I was already familiar with. Highlights for me include Thing 2 browse other blogs. I felt this worked well with Thing 3, as it reinforced the ideals of personal brands. In the early days of CPD23, I decided to follow various blogs purely by their layout; at this stage blog content was low, so aesthetic first impressions played a part in deciding which to follow. It really made me think about the first impressions my blog created for readers and I was thrilled to have positive comments posted regarding it.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 22

'Two Little Ducks 22'. Image by Kugelfish
Thing 22: Volunteering
The idea of volunteering in libraries is one which came to mind earlier this year after I was made redundant. I had never considered it before this time. When job hunting, there were all manner of complicated clauses attached to my redundancy package. In reality, when it was all stripped down to nuts and bolts, it meant after leaving my old job I could not start work in a new job for 5 weeks. When I had the interview for my new job I felt quite anxious about mentioning this to them, but a member of the interview panel was from the Human Resources department and was familiar with such clauses. Nobody else on the panel had heard of such things, so I was glad the HR officer was there to verify it! I worried that this would make me appear less attractive as a potential employee, so I offered to work for them on a voluntary basis during these five weeks. In the end nothing came of it, but I was quite prepared to do so if it helped secure me a post. I was interviewed in February but could not accept a start date before June, and I very lucky my new employers waited so long for me.

Last year one of the interviews I attended was in a hospital library. I received good feedback regarding my presentation but didn’t get the position as they felt my knowledge of medical resources was restricted. If I’d had some relevant voluntary work on my CV it may have helped. At the moment I am still settling into my current role, so taking on an additional voluntary position would likely cause my head to explode! Should I start to feel the need to address my career direction, I would happily consider volunteering in a different library sector in order to strengthen my experience base.

(Only 1 ‘Thing’ left to go…!)

Monday, 17 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 21

Image by Peregrine Blue
Thing 21: Promoting yourself in job applications / interviews

As any regular readers of BtB will know, I was made redundant earlier this year so have recently been ‘out there’ in the job market. I found it very scary and very stressful, but I jumped in with both feet straight away and tried to tackle the issue head on.

I wanted to beef up my CV, so I became an assistant leader at WeightWatchers. I really felt it important to have some voluntary work on there that was not library-related, to show that I can be committed and dedicated in all aspects of my life. I did this for 7 months and really enjoyed it – I felt part of a community. The commute to/from my new job meant I had to resign from this, and I was surprised how sad that made me. I was proud of it and miss it.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 20

Image by Images_Of_Money
Thing 20: Career Projects
I find the library world really interesting and love to chat to people about why they have formed a career around it. I must be nosey! A few years ago I heard about the Library Roots/Routes project where folks outline their reasons for working in the profession and the path they took to get there. I added my contribution to the wiki and blogged about it here. I’ve read lots of entries on and have noticed a common theme in many – there are more facets to the professional than we realised when we joined it. Everything we do is hidden behind the scenes in order to create a seamless service for our users. It perhaps does us (as library staff) a disservice, but that’s the way it should be – library users don’t need to be aware of all the backstage action, they just need a good service they can rely on. And as long as that’s what they get then I’m happy.

Library Day in the Life is a similar project, where library staff record their daily activities at work for a specific week. I took part in it this year after several years of missing the date. Being newly hooked up on Twitter (a previous Thing) made following the project far more interesting as I was able to read people’s updates in real time, rather than waiting until blog posts had been compiled. I loved reading what others had written about their roles – it’s a great way of learning what life is like in different library sectors.

Monday, 10 October 2011

CPD23 Things 18 & 19

Image by KirstyHall
Thing 18: Jing / screen capture / podcasts

Again, another ‘Thing’ I have only limited experience in. In a previous life, when I was a school librarian, I created a number of book review podcasts. They were uploaded to the library website as a way of demonstrating how school libraries can engage with technology. I used it as an activity for the pupils in my lunchtime book club (thus cunningly disguising the fact they were guinea pigs). We had a trip out of school to a local recording studio and used iMacs and Garageband software and it was all great fun. We turned them into ‘enhanced’ podcasts, meaning images and background music were attached. I gave the pupils copies to take home on disk and it really helped to raise the profile of the library.

I don’t have much call to create podcasts and the like in my current role, but you never know. I’m hoping to introduce the Six Book Challenge this year (if anyone has any tips I’d be very grateful!), so maybe that’ll be the opportunity I’m looking for…

 As for Jing, I’m afraid I have no clue…!

Thing 19: Integration.

Image by Phil_Parker

There have been so many different tools to look at with CPD23; some I didn’t particularly like but others I have loved! I guess that’s partly the beauty of the course – being self-directed you can follow-up the Things which appeal to you more than the Things that don’t. I’ve really taken to Twitter after I started using it for Thing 4. I check it numerous times during the day on my iPhone – during my breaks at work, whilst my tea is cooking at home, while I’m waiting for my electric blanket to warm up at night – you name it! I find it a great way to keep abreast of what other library professionals are doing. I also have started using LinkedIn regularly too, although the nature of it doesn’t require you to log in quite as often.

Also, doing CPD23 has given me the confidence to dabble with Wordpress blogs. I’d only ever used Blogger before, but now I regularly post on the library’s blog, hosted by Wordpress. CPD23 increased my confidence with blogs and I now feel able to say I have a working knowledge of more than one blogging platform.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

CPD23 Thing 17

Thing 17: Data Visualisation.
Haven’t really had much experience in this field, I must confess. I’ve dabbled with, an online tool which creates a visual graphic of your CV information. Fairly easy to use, various ways of customising it – I recommend giving it a try. I liked how it presented my experience and activities in a more engaging way, but not quite sure how/when I’d actually use it. Maybe include it in my portfolio of activity, which I take to job interviews, alongside my CV?

Image taken by Doogsta
One of the Senior Learning Assistants I work with has recently created a Prezi presentation which we use as an online induction to the library. She says it took her a while to get to grips with how to use it, but the end result looks fab. I really want to give it a go myself, but it’s going to take me a bit of time to get round to it I’m afraid. So, for Thing 17, I pledge to create a Prezi of my own but I just don’t have time to do so just yet. Work is crazy at the moment with us leading a very hectic schedule of infomation skills sessions (I feel as though I'm in a classroom more than I'm in the library), so I'll have to mess about with Prezi in my free time at home. Not sure when I'll get round to it, but I’ll make sure I blog about it whenever I do. In the meantime, if anyone has any thoughts or tips about Prezi, I'd be pleased to hear them...