Saturday, 27 December 2014

Brighton, baby! ARLG 2014 conference

Earlier this year I was successful in applying for the 2014 AlisonNorthover Bursary, awarded by ARLG. I used the award to fund my attendance at the 2014 ARLG conference, entitled ‘The final frontier: to boldly go where youhave never gone before’. This was the second CILIP ARLG study conference and was held at the University of Sussex, near Brighton, between 23rd-25th June.

I have pondered long and hard how to best record and reflect upon my attendance at the conference, and even now – several months later – I’m still not sure of the best way to approach it. The conference offered a very full schedule of talks and workshops, and I came away with a wealth of knowledge. I met new people, learned new things about myself and had an amazing time. Attempting to put the entire experience into words is a tall order! It may not be the most innovative method, but I shall tackle it in the form of a daily diary, leading to a final post summarising my overall thoughts. I make no promises, but shall attempt to keep the entries relatively short, to prevent them from becoming overly descriptive, tedious reads.

And so, dear reader, settle down on the sofa with a warm drink as I take you back to the summer of 2014…

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

2014: Ups and downs

Hanging in there!
Image by SvartaBaskern
The end of 2014 is fast approaching and this leads me to reflect on any new skills and competencies I’ve developed this year. ..

  • The college in which I work has undergone mass restructuring this Summer, and a new staffing structure has been implemented in the library. (I didn't add any posts to BtB during this time of uncertainty as I feared they may be wholly negative in tone.) In order to maintain a balanced equilibrium, I have focussed on how I adapt to change. Regarding this, I found ‘Who moved my cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson to be a useful and light-hearted book. It made me realise that change is a normal part of life and it is our attitude which determines if it is a positive or negative change. I have also revisited the Pacific Institute course I undertook on positive self-awareness psychology.

  • My job is now a shared role between two colleges. This is not without challenges, and I find organisational and prioritising skills are crucial if I am to successfully tackle the increased workload. I was interviewed for my own job and although this is not unheard of these days, I found it quite worrying at the time. The two libraries have very different cultures and adjusting to this is quite the balancing act!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Tour: Library of Birmingham

The queue to enter the library during its
opening weekend
At the end of each academic year, the college in which I work holds a staff development day for all staff. This year, the library team visited the new Library of Birmingham for a tour. 

The Library of Birmingham is fairly local to where I live so I had visited it before as a user and also for the 2013 CILIP AGM. However, the majority of people in the library team had not visited before as they live outside of the West Midlands area. It was nice being able to share their enthusiasm of experiencing it for the first time. All eleven of us were present, which is an achievement in itself! Due to part time hours, term-time only working and being multi-site, we are often ships that pass in the night. One of us pointed out that the new library had brought us all together and it takes a rare thing to do that!

Tickets for the tour were £5 for non-members and a reduced rate for members. I must say it was well worth the money! The tour lasted almost two hours and we learned so much more than if we had simply been browsing the library as users. Our guide was knowledgeable and answered all our questions about the service provided and the building itself. We visited each terrace and balcony, the archive room and the Shakespeare Memorial Room. I particularly liked the BFI programme booths and spent quite some time here on a previous visit. I also noted that it has a licenced bar! A unique selling point of the library is the beautiful view – a wonderful source of inspiration for those with creative minds. I love seeing the building in the Birmingham skyline. As a member of the local community I feel proud of it. I first visited it the weekend it opened and queued for 15 minutes to get it. A queue for a library – who would have believed it in this day and age?!