100 Happy Days!

I stumbled upon this article this evening: ‘A Beautiful Mess: 100 Happy Days!’ (http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwtszzlxo) which suggests listing one thing each day that made you happy. I’ve decided, on a whim, to give it a try! I generally consider myself to be an optimistic person, but I think we all get a bit stuck in routines and forget to appreciate things, and people, around us.

Today’s thing that made me happy was having Sunday Dinner with my parents and sister, we don’t do it very often, but I always enjoy it!

I’ll post my Things on Twitter each day, but I’ll do a round up periodically on the blog.

 

Update: the official 100 Happy Days website is http://100happydays.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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Cake, Glorious Cake!

Ooops! I thought I’d posted this early last week! In my defence I’ve been really busy the last few weeks, but maybe I’ll get a chance to tell you all about it when I have some time off next week!


As mentioned in my previous post, last week (edit: read late November, early December!) had a bit of a cake theme! First a cake stall at the church Christmas Fayre to raise money for the Brownies, then a charity cake sale in my library to raise money for Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Foundation (which is coincidentally a great way to get various hospital staff  into the Health Library!) and then much more cake on Saturday (30th November) at LibraryCamp. I’ve also learnt a few things along this theme and I thought I’d share some of them.

First, when doing a charity cake sale always have a back up chocolate sponge tucked away! Previous experience has already taught me that gooey chocolate cake sells well and usually  first, but this week I sold two cakes (almost whole) in the first 15 minutes. Admittedly this person was bringing it to their department to share, but it meant I didn’t have any for the rest of the day!

That my sister’s lemon drizzle cake will really impress the neighbours who bought it in the church fayre – and they will tell your mother that!

You should target the cake to your audience – the brightly coloured cupcakes sold best to the Brownies, the whole cakes to the little old ladies at church and gooey chocolate cake to hospital staff! (And everyone loves tea loaf!)

Spend extra time decorating your cake! The iced cupcakes sold quicker than the uniced ones – and we decided that Mark’s ‘Gromit’ cake was too good to cut up so we raffled it whole, and ended up making more money for charity than we would have selling it per slice!

Wallace and Gromit Cake

Gromit Cake

Even if you don’t feel like baking you can still contribute. After baking all week I decided to take the ‘easy’ route and made Fridge Cake for LibraryCamp, I even threw in the little marshmallows I had left over from my attempt at making Shaun the Sheep cupcakes. My Fridge Cake came second in the cake competition and I won a lovely bottle of wine!

Speaking of LibraryCamp, next year I will be bringing something savoury with me. There was lots of delicious cake available, but by mid afternoon I just wanted something salty to break up the sweetness. Thankfully some other people had thought of this, but there wasn’t quite enough by the end of the day.

If you’ve got any tips of your own I would love to hear them!

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Looking forward to LibraryCamp!

I’ve had a busy few weeks between work and Brownies commitments (and a bit of a cake theme across the lot!) so it’s only today I’ve been able to say that the final countdown to LibraryCamp has started – it’s on Saturday!

There’s a list of proposed sessions available on the wiki and for this blog post I thought it might be nice to make a note of the ones I was thinking of attending – but there’s far more than I thought so the ones I end up going to will probably depend on my mood on the day!

  • Encouraging Innovation – My Library Service has actually won some  awards for innovation, so this might be interesting to see what everyone else is doing and share our experiences
  • Dramatic Confidence… – Doing presentations always makes me nervous so this could be useful to pick up some tips!
  • Learning to Teach – again I have some experience in this area having recently done my PTLLS qualification, so I might drop in and share my experiences of this
  • For Future Reference – this session is about modern library services and I think this is particularly relevant to Health Libraries as we try to encourage Evidence Based Practice and using up to date references – a clichéd view of ‘dusty old books in the library’ is not what we want!
  • Create a National Public Libraries Website – while I don’t work in a Public Library I do have experience of web development, so I might offer to lend some of my knowledge to this project!
  • Advance Social Media in Libraries – this looks like a useful one, especially for me with our Library working to promote our presence of Twitter and Facebook – and I’ll be bringing along my copy of ‘Building Communities…’ that I recently reviewed if anyone wants to have a look at this useful book!
  • Tips to Librarians of the Future – the idea here is everyone adds to a book with their tips on Librarianship – and as a budding Librarian I am very interested to see what tips I can pick up from the other LibraryCampers!
  • Open Source Toolkit for Librarians – again, web tools and techniques are right up my alley so this could be a very interesting session and hopefully I’ll come away with lots of ideas!

There’s over 30 session proposals at the moment, and I imagine there will be some last minute additions too so this list is by no means final! Other session suggestions include ‘How to engage reluctant readers’, ‘Copyright Ninjas – Rebels with a Cause’ and a game of ‘Mafia’!

It is also traditional to bring cake:

… bring enthusiasm. Bring ideas. Bring cakes.

but having recently baked cakes for the Brownies Christmas Fayre (last Saturday) and the Library’s charity cake sale (yesterday) I’m seriously considering no-bake cake as my contribution!

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Facebook and general Social Media ramblings!

Social media, specifically their use by libraries, has been a bit of a theme for my work life for the last week or so.

Last week I submitted a book review to the Health Libraries Group newsletter on ‘Building Communities: Social networking for academic libraries‘ which focussed mainly on Facebook and Twitter. While the book is aimed at academic libraries, I think the ideas can be implemented in all types of libraries.

I administer the Facebook Page for my Library service, and while our number of followers is low, it is (very) slowly growing. Garofalo suggests sending out posts twice a week – enough to keep you popping up in the followers feed, but not enough to bombard them – and in all honesty I haven’t sent out many posts recently. Facebook is blocked on the work network so I have to use the one computer in the IT suite that is on the University network or do it at home (which isn’t really in my job description, but happens occasionally anyway!) The only problem with using the university computer is that if a student wants it I can’t have it, and typically when I make time to post something there’s a student sat there!

So I decided this week, with my post-book-review renewed enthusiasm for all things social media, that I was going to have a play with scheduled posts – I’ve known about it for some time, but never thought much about experimenting with it. I sat down yesterday and went through my diary for a few things to post about – I’ve picked a good few weeks to trial this with, we have a cake sale, two roadshows and three drop-in training sessions over the next five weeks so I’ve scheduled posts advertising all of them. The first scheduled post is due to go out tomorrow, which should be interesting!

Another piece of advice that Garofalo gave was to link your Library’s Facebook, Twitter and blog – which is something I did when we set up the Facebook and Twitter about two years ago – so as well as my scheduled posts users will be seeing anything that comes in from our blog – which we post to quite regularly – and our Tweets. Our Facebook doesn’t post to Twitter, I recall some logic to the decision when I made it two years ago, but can’t for the life of me recall it now, so I’m planning to set that up soon which will help populate our Twitter a little. We have managed to get our Twitter unblocked for a small number of library staff so that we can send messages from our desks, but we don’t always make time for it – maybe I should schedule some tweets too?!

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NHS Midlands Regional Trainer’s Forum

I haven’t had much time to blog recently, so I’m only now getting round to writing up my notes from this year’s annual Regional Trainer’s Forum (RTF) conference in October. During the year we mostly communicate by email – sharing anything relevant, but our annual conference is a chance to get together and actually talk to each other face to face!

We started as always with the Chair’s Annual Report which summarized the year, including our merger early in the year between the West Midlands RTF and the East Midlands – and our subsequent rebrand as the NHS Midlands Regional Trainer’s Forum. We then had an overview of how changes within the NHS organisation had impacted the group – more indirectly, but it’s nice to have it summarized for us!

We then had an overview of progress from the various project groups we have running. Some are making excellent progress, one group has even won a innovation award for their project*, and some have unfortunately stalled for one reason or another, either because of group members moving out of the area or like the project group I’m working with from technical issues in the implementation!

Then we had a half an hour presentation from Blackwell’s about their eBook platform – it was very interesting to see what they offer, but I don’t have any say in purchasing for my library so it wasn’t really relevant to me, but I know that in the room I was an exception in this regard. After lunch, provided by Blackwell’s, and some networking (read: had a nice chat and a look round the health library!) we then split up for the afternoon sessions.

I attended a session on using Open Source software – which was really interesting. the Softaculous software we were shown looks really easy to use and provided the Stafford PGMC library with lots of options, including a blog and FAQ section, which had previously been almost impossible to implement. I have to say, that if my library service hadn’t recently made the switch from our Trust’s software to the WordPress interface I would be passing this information to my boss – as it stands we can do everything we want with WordPress, but I’ll be keeping my notes handy in case we ever want to look at other options, or want more features on our website!

Overall, it was a really good day – I got to talk to a few colleagues I don’t see regularly; learnt about some new software (the techy in me loves this!) and I got to have a nosey around someone else’s library! Not a lot you can against that really is there!

*I distinctly remember this being on someone’s slides, but apparently didn’t make a note of whose in order to cite it, sorry!

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Critical Appraisal Training

In my years as a Health Librarian no subject has struck fear into the hearts of colleagues and library users alike than Critical Appraisal! (For those of you who don’t know Critical Appraisal is reading a Journal article critically to decide whether the article, or more particularly the research it describes, are of value both generally to the relevant field of medicine and to you in particular).

Last week (it’s been a busy few weeks it’s taken me until now to get around to writing about it!) I went on a Librarian’s Training Day on the subject of Critical Appraisal. Because I’m relatively new to my training role I have no previous experience of Critical Appraisal, either teaching it or using it. For my Masters dissertation I was looking for Case Studies and Editorials so ‘academic’ value wasn’t something I appraised articles for! My colleagues who attended with me were all rather nervous of the subject, but most admit they don’t use their Critical Appraisal skills very often and are therefore out of practice. So I was a bit nervous about what to expect!

The tutor, Michelle Maden from Edge Hill University, was fantastic! She knew that most of us were a bit nervous so she started us with the scary bit first – the dreaded statistics! When the article authors are talking about trials they present lots of figures to back up there findings, so in order to appraise an article (or trial) you need to be able to understand the principles of what these figures are saying. There were a few figures which Michelle pointed out we don’t have to know how it’s calculated, we just have to know how to read it (and they are typically compared to something so you just have to know what you’re comparing it to!)

Michelle took us through it all in very easy steps (if anyone is interested in me writing a summary article of Critical Appraisal, let me know and I will!) The main thing I took out from the session though is that the session was repeatable. If someone were to ask me for Critical Appraisal Training I wouldn’t be afraid to have a go or to try and answer a question. Don’t get me wrong the first time I teach a Critical Appraisal session I’ll want my Line Manager there as back up, but I’m no longer scared to give it a go, because now I know what I’m talking about!!

The day also gave me a chance to have a nosey round someone else’s library (Stafford Hospital) which I love doing and although I didn’t get a chance to take pictures this time, I did get a great idea for bookmarks with QR Codes on them to direct people to the NICE and BNF smartphone apps!

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Twitter and QR Codes

Ooops! I wrote this a month ago and never actually pressed ‘Publish’!


Earlier this week I ran an in-house training session on Twitter and QR codes as part of our Library Assistant’s Training Day – I was kind of excited; this was the first time I’ve attended as a presenter, not trainee!

We ran the sessions as short 15 minutes taster sessions on a variety of topics, which also included augmented reality – using Aurasma – Prezi, LibraryThing, Pinterest and Flickr.  I only really covered the basics, but for most of the library assistants this was ideal; many had never used Twitter before and most were only vaguely familiar with QR codes, some that had seen them in the library didn’t know how easy they are to create!

Twitter

We planned some practical demonstrations of Twitter on the day – using the #shelibmobile hashtag. This has the added benefit that I could use it to demonstrate the search function – it helped that two of the librarians who weren’t attending (covering the libraries) were tweeting (despite one trying to claim he was rushed off his feet within minutes of me spotting a tweet from him!). I would have liked to have demonstrated a  Twitter Wall like the one I saw at the CILIP WM day in Feb, but for the number of Tweets we sent it wasn’t necessary – maybe that’s something to build on for a future training event?

We mostly use Twitter for marketing/promotion – I’m curious as to how other Libraries (particularly Health Libraries) use Twitter although I know potential uses include:

  • Marketing/Promotion
  • conversations with users – not just problem-solving/troubleshooting!
  • conversations with stakeholders and other local libraries

QR Codes

I wanted to show off the versatility of QR Codes, so I put together some examples of different uses:

  • Contact details on library bookmarks – inspired by embedded vCard information on business cards
  • Links to a feedback page on our website – inspired by a card I picked up in a Burton Menswear shop!
  • Links to library website on posters, particularly shortcuts to searches on the catalogue
  • I’ve seen articles online about using QR Codes for treasure trails in libraries which I mentioned, but wasn’t able to provide a demonstration for
  • I’ve seen them used in the Herbert Museum, Coventry to provide more information about a piece of artwork

Is there any other way you or your library is using Twitter and/or QR Codes? I would love to hear about it, either in the comments below or on Twitter @LBasini

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