Thing 16 – Getting involved cont’d…

Thing 16 – advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published…

It IS unfortunate the These Economic Times have necessitated a push, a rise in advocacy. In Australia we have been less affected by the GFC etc, but libraries can be seen as soft targets – so there is always time and room for advocacy. I have followed quite a few campaigns, both in the UK and in the US to save libraries from closure or radical budget cuts.

ALIA – my professional association has advocacy information, and the latest public campaign is taking place in the state of Queensland, where the ‘dumb idea’ campaign is being waged against the Queensland government (a newly elected government) that is closing some government libraries.

What I think is interesting (and I am not involved in public libraries really, but I have read about) is that public libraries are so incredibly important in a community and I think some of the campaigns and studies have been quite successful in showing this. Studies such as ‘Enriching communities: the value of public libraries in NSW’ are really important publications. This two page summary of some Victorian research is also really useful; ‘Dollars, sense and public libraries‘.

Traditionally libraries are not good at advocacy, but it is a necessary and vital skill – to be able to articulate and promote and advocate for your library service.

I was recently involved in a ‘Value of Libraries Symposium’  (was on the planning group) held in my local area. A great day, but in some ways we are left with – what now – who will take this further? Where do we go from here?

And yes…a blog is a great way of keeping record of all of your involvement – in whatever you do.


Thing 15 – Getting involved

Thing 15: Attending, presenting at and organising seminars, conferences and other events.

I have a training background. In another life I was a staff trainer in the public service (civil service in the UK) for a few years. I prepared and delivered training. Since working as a librarian (8 years now) I have again been involved in training – completing a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment  and have been involved in preparing and organising training and presenting in a variety of forums. But writing papers and delivering at conferences is a bit of a new ball game for me.  But I have done it this year!!

I decided that I wanted to get more involved in this sort of thing – good for my development, and this year presented at the ALIA Biennial

This was a great experience – I was able to present the paper with a graduate of the program utilizing Prezi, Xtranormal, some polling and it was very well received. What I didn’t do was present a peer-reviewed paper – and this is something I would like to work on in the future.

I do a lot of project work in my library role, and our underlying goal in all of our projects now is to have a one of the results – that we sub,it a paper for publication or present findings at a conference. I think this is a really useful aspiration!

I am also presenting a poster, with a 7  minute presentation at the next ALIA conference in Brisbane, Australia in February 2012 – Information Online .

And yes- there is that dilemma about what to talk about…but I do agree with:
“You may well be wondering what on earth you could speak about. I’m strongly of the opinion that if you’re working in a professional way – evaluating your services and modifying them in the hopes of improving them, you’ve probably got something to speak to others about..”

That is a great start! How often do you go to talks and conferences and think…’we do that’ or ‘we do that differently and it would be useful to tell people about it…’

It’s partly a mindset.

We are actually looking at this whole area as a project at work…sort of doing a 23Things on writing abstracts, writing papers, presenting at conferences, writing grants.

And I love Ned Potter- and pretty much anything he writes about!!

And if you cannot get to conferences, get onto twitter and follow the hashtag….Twitter is just great for conferences, talks, events!!

*26 October postscript – also meant to say- a Twitter lib friend has a bit of a mantra – she only goes to conferences that she has been successful in presenting at…which is a good way to look at it (although for some of us it would mean a long time between conferences  😦  )

Thing 14 – Zotero/ Mendeley/citeulike

(I started this post in August!!) It’s interesting isn’t it. I work in an academic library that pays for EndNote and RefWorks and there are so many great free products that do a fantastic job of managing references etc.

So I am going to look at Mendeley.

I am preparing a proposal for some green initiatives at my workplace for 2013, so will use Mendeley to store them.

22 October – well things got the better of me and I am very far behind in all of this. It’s worrying to say that I haven’t wanted to blog about Mendeley because I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on it. Certainly I have been storing my references for this particular project – but that’s all. I haven’t been very sophisticated in my discovery of this at all.

The one thing I have noticed about Mendeley is that it IS desktop based, and I am not always at my desktop! Sounds obvious, but it’s been learning for me!

And it has been worthwhile seeing another bibliographic management resource – and there are several that people can use if they don’t have access to EndNote and RefWorks. In fact, even if people can access EndNote or RefWorks – these are all good options.

The difference is in support. My workplace does support EndNote and RefWorks which means if staff/students have queries – we do help out. Not sure how much support we can offer if someone has a Mendeley query, although I am confident in helping out a little and knowing that there are probably heaps of online forums and support to help.

I don’t offer EndNote/RefWorks support in my job – I only do a 3 hour desk shift in the Library a week, but we have a great EndNote guide and a RefWorks guide as well (RefWorks is new and hasn’t been rolled out officially at my workplace).

So realistically all I am doing here is ticking this one off. But I do know about it!!

Thing 13 – Google Docs, Wikis and DropBox

I have used Google Drive/docs quite a bit. I like that I can share and edit and collaborate with those within and outside my organisation so easily! Google Docs is also a great tool to share with students- as so many of them do group projects.

I have used Google Docs to collaborate about workshops, and also about Twitter ‘Secret Santa’ and ‘Secret stork’ events.  Secret santa is a bunch of twitter tweeps who send a secret santa to another person at Christmas. I coordinate the names/details/addresses with a couple of other elves! The same works for our ‘secret stork’ spreadsheet as there are a number of Twitter friends who are expecting babies!

I have also used DropBox.

I have also used wikis, but not as much any more. Of course I use Wikipedia all the time, but find wikis have to be updated otherwise they lose their use. We do use an internal SharePoint wiki at work for procedures and that seems to work well.


Thing 12 – putting the social into social media

I love social media. Not all of it. Well mainly Twitter and blogs if the truth be told. I tolerate FaceBook because I co-run our Library FB page (but I am getting so tired of the inane re-posting of graphics and photos in my news feed).

The advantages (given in this post) and my thoughts.

Social networking can lead to better communication

This is probably the point I have the most problems with. I do agree that I have met people through social media that I would never have met IRL – Australia is a big place, and the spread of people is really around the coastline and it’s a huge coastline 🙂

But better communication ? I guess the thing I worry about is the quality of communication. I noticed a change this year on my birthday on Facebook- quite a lot of friends opted to ring, text, email me instead of just writing on my wall (which is, after all, a pretty easy thing to do). Don’t get me wrong- I loved the messages on my FB wall- I just wonder if people would bother if it wasn’t so easy??

It creates a more collaborative working space where people are encouraged to share their ideas.

Definitely like this. I have asked questions on Twitter and had speedy and varied replies. Social media is a great place to share and ask questions.

It aids in building online communities.

Again yes- I share in a vibrant and great online library community mainly through Twitter but also blogs

Social networking can also provide easy access to other areas of the profession.

Again yes- in contact with not only academic librarians, but many librarians and others who work in a range of libraries or who are library academics…

Do I interact or do I lurk?

I lurk a bit. Honestly, sometimes it just depends on how I am feeling.

Do I stay in my comfort zone or do I go outside it?

Mainly in my comfort zone I think.

If I am reluctant, why is this so?

I follow lots of funny, bright, smart people. Lots of high achievers! A lot who are doing higher study, speak often at conferences. I guess I sometimes feel I don’t have enough wonderful or different to offer?

Thing 11 – mentoring OR “I don’t fit!”

Mentoring – maybe this is why I don’t do this PD that well….have I ever had a mentor?

I don’t think so in any official sense- but I think I have had lots of informal mentors along the way.

BUT- is that good enough?

I don’t think so…

and the conclusion to the post on this says just that!

“In short, do try to find a mentor.  At any stage of your career, reaching out to people you admire and seeking their counsel is immensely rewarding and beneficial.  You will find that if you cultivate a good mentor, it is likely that one day in the future you will in turn ‘pay it forward’ and generously give of your time to a fellow librarian seeking advice and traction in this rapidly changing world of librarianship”.

This IS something I need to think about, but it all goes with the …where am I going in librarianship conversation…and at the moment I have no answers…..


Thing 10 – qualifications in librarianship

It’s interesting to see how things are done in the UK. I do like the idea of traineeships and the charterships program.

In fact, our Australian librarianship experience looks a little thin compared to all of this? Career pathway diagram from ALIA.

Here is a list of the ALIA librarianship courses. ALIA is the Australian Library and Information Association – our professional association. There has been a move away from undergraduate courses over the last ten years. There is now an emphasis more on postgraduate library courses.

ALIA does provide a PD scheme for professionals  something I have not taken up, as I can’t clearly see the benefit for me? My PD seems to come through Twitter and following blogs and online these days.

This post needs a lot more time and thought. I confess to just doing an awfully quick job, just to get this post up…but will go back to this. I always knew that librarians in the US did postgrad quals after doing some other college degree, and certainly the path to librarianship in the UK is different again (and looks to be really interesting!).

You can read the short version about my path to librarianship – which was not really considered or strategic or planned at all…merely me taking up an opportunity….

I was lucky enough to do a graduate year after my studies which was fantastic, but it is not the norm and in fact I was the first to do a graduate program with my particular employer for years and years.

I guess this shows a little the paths to librarianship. They are so individual and varies (as people are), but I guess my main concern is that I didn’t even think of librarianship until quite late. Perhaps we still don’t sell the career to people??