Friday, 22 June 2012

Study Visit Participation

A poster detailing the visit
During May, I spent a week in Warsaw, Poland, on a Transversal study visit. The visit was funded by the EU and focused on ‘new media in education and theprofessional development of librarians’. Each year, hundreds of places are offered on study visits through the Ecorys / Transversal programme. To qualify, participants must live within an EU country and work in adult education. On this particular visit, there were 13 participants from Iceland, Spain, Italy, France, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Aruba, Bulgaria, Romania and the UK. The types of libraries represented included college, university, medical, school, public and national.

I was thrilled to discover my application had been successful, but as the time grew nearer I became increasingly nervous; being very under-travelled, I was worried about travelling alone with a language barrier.  A member of the college Estates department is Polish and gave me a basic language lesson which helped put me at ease.
During the visit, each participant gave a 30 minute presentation outlining the educational system in their home countries, as well as the organisation of libraries services. It was interesting and reassuring to realise that, despite living in different countries and working in different types of libraries, librarians throughout Europe face the same issues. We were able to exchange elements of good practice and useful connections were made.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Event Organisation

This month, I dipped my toe in the water of event organisation. This is the first time I’ve been involved in any events since I moved jobs last year. In the school library (where I worked previously), I often organised events in the library such as books fairs, author visits, quizzes for visiting primary schools, or I’d take a bus load of students out to events. In my current job of Systems Librarian, events aren’t particularly part of my daily remit, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to do something I’m not generally involved with anymore.

The first event was a CILIP West Midlands branch visit to Sandwell Community History and Archives Service (CHAS). I did not conduct the tour, but helped with the logistics of the day. I represented the committee by greeting attendees and thanking our hosts afterwards. It was a relatively small scale visit with 8 attendees and 2 hosts, but the venue was fairly intimate in size so the group worked quite nicely. It’s been a while since I’d done anything like this so I was a little nervous, and was relieved when I found an attendee willing to write a piece about the visit for the branch newsletter (initially when I’d asked nobody volunteered). From the point of view of being a local resident, I found the behind the scenes tour very interesting, especially when we were able to see areas and artefacts which members of the public are not allowed access to.

The second event was a copyright workshop held in the college in which I work. The head librarian invited a member of the CLA education team to give a workshop on copyright for colleges, and I assisted with the logistics of it by organising refreshments and the room layout. I also made sure attendees knew where to go at the end of the workshop and filled in feedback forms. There were 19 people in attendance at the event with a lively question and answer session drawing it to a close.

Do I miss being in a position to fully organise events? If I’m being completely honest, I guess I do miss the buzz a little, but my daily job is so busy I haven’t given it any thought until now. There’s a definite sense of achievement after a successful event in knowing you had a small hand in it behind the scenes. I wonder if all event organisers get nervous beforehand, as I always have done? If I decide that event organisation is something I’d like to do more of, I know the opportunity is there to help out with CILIP WM committee.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

My First Anniversary

Image taken by nubobo
Last week was the one year anniversary of my starting work in my current job and the time seems right for a mini-reflection. Initially, I didn’t plan to stay very long in my current job - the commute is long and the petrol bill high - but I find myself liking the library, the college and the people.

Whilst I loved my previous job, it was no longer challenging. I wonder how long it will be before I start to see this role in the same way? At the moment I can’t ever imagine feeling that, even after a year I still feel as though I am learning how to do things. I can genuinely say that almost every day is a learning curve for me in one way or another and whilst that can be tiring, it’s also stimulating and enjoyable. Trying to narrow it down is quite tricky, but here are the main activities which I think have helped me develop the most over the past few months:*

Sunday, 3 June 2012


Just wanted to say sorry that I've not posted anything these past few weeks, and I'm afraid it'll probably be a few more weeks before I manage to whip up my next post.

Things are hectic at the moment and I feel snowed under a huge mountain of tasks, both in work and out of work. Ever feel as though you're running just to catch up? That's me right now. My time management skills have left and abandoned me! Have lots to blog about - study visit, evening course reflections, software integration project, one year anniversary in my job, starting up a book club, my CILIP WM role, Ofsted - the list goes on. So stick around, the posts will start arriving soon(ish), promise...
Photo taken by erix!
( I use this blog as a reflective diary and feel as though I've let myself down by breaking my third aim for 2012.)