Friday, 24 May 2013


I’ve recently realised that I’ve not yet blogged about my attendance at the learning resources forum held by JISC West Midlands RegionalSupport Centre. It was hosted by Bournville College on 25th  March 2013 – so this post is somewhat late, but better late than never!

Image taken by C!...
The programme for the day looked quite exciting; the main draws for me were Jo Alcock (from BCU) speaking about mobile technologies and Liz Wyman (from Newcastle-under-Lyme College) speaking about sourcing accessible formats. In addition to this, library staff from the host college presented about establishing a rebrand of the service.

I made plenty of notes during the day and returned to work with plenty of ideas to explore. Some of the tools Jo demonstrated we already make use of in the library (Foursquare, and QR codes for example), but I developed an awareness of various online tools I hadn’t previously heard of. Poll Everywhere could be utilised during our user education sessions as a way of ascertaining immediate feedback, and my curiosity has been sparked about how library use augmented realities. This is something I know very little about but am keen to learn more. Jo also spoke of roving within the library using tablet devices. Whilst this is probably more applicable to multi-level university libraries than a single room FE college library, the team in which I work has spoken about how we could take the library elsewhere on site, possibly by setting up a portable helpdesk (of sorts) in the refectory.

Liz’s presentation related to something of which there was very little awareness of amongst delegates. The Publisher Lookup Database allows libraries to have electronic versions for individual learners who have specific needs. It sounds a wonderful service and I hope this is something we are able to offer in future. On a personal note, I feel our assistance towards learners with special needs is the library’s weakest area; I am sure there are plenty of unexplored ways in which we could offer more support and I think this would be an excellent start.
Bournville College's learning zone.
Last – but not least – was the presentation from the host library. Bournville College is a new build built on the site of the former Longbridge Rover plant. Amanda Braund took us through the considerations of establishing a new library environment and rebranding it the ‘learning zone’. It is always interesting to hear ‘behind the scenes’ tales of a different library service, and this was no exception. It warmed the cockles of my heart to know that we are not the only library environment to have had issues with learners misusing sofas!

The day ended with a section called ‘delegate show and tell’. We each had to discuss initiatives which had worked well and not so well. It was an informal way of sharing general ideas and thoughts (good practice and not so-good practice!). I spoke about the library’s annual report (which generated a few enquiries) and our registering for CoLRiC’s peer accreditation scheme.

This was the first RSC forum I’d been to, and I hope it won’t be the last. Not only did I learn a lot from the presentations, but I also left with a list of action points to explore. The day provided a networking opportunity as I met up with a few familiar faces I’d seen at other library events. I got so much out of this day and simply couldn’t believe the event was free! If, like me, you have previously thought ‘shall I go, shalln’t I go?’, you should definitely go – it’s a great opportunity for sharing good practice.

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