Tag Archives: CPD23

Librarians as Teachers 2013

This event was actually last week – but it’s taken me this long to catch up, what with posting photos and presentations to the event website (http://lat2013.wordpress.com), writing an article for the Career Development Group’s Newsletter (the national one, not the West Midlands’ Central Issues) as well as normal working stuff and a few extra meetings thrown in this week too!

The event well really well – I’ve seen a few posts on Twitter describing it as ‘fabulous’ and ‘inspiring’ – as well as an International attendee describing it as ‘worth travelling from Australia for!’ (Although I should point out she didn’t travel to the UK just for this event!) All of the feedback that we’ve received so far has been very positive, all of the aspects of the day that we asked people to rate have been rated as excellent or good.

LAT2013 was also my first go at using Storify – It was really easy, although a few Tweets of mine didn’t show up for some reason and I had to add them manually (but again this was easy to do, and I’d spotted the problem in Twitter so I don’t think Storify was to blame!). I’m very happy with the result, although I would have liked to be able to add some photos from my camera. I could have imported pictures from Flickr, but I don’t have an account, and making an account just to upload photos into Storify seemed too complicated. If I was going to use Storify regularly though I absolutely would sign up for Flickr as I feel that it needed a few more images to help break up the tweets and other text.

I was also a little disappointed to find out that I couldn’t embed the event Storify into the WordPress website – not without upgrading to WordPress.org and installing a widget, so I’ve had to link to it instead. It’s not a problem, it just means that the site page doesn’t look like how I wanted it to!

You can see the presentations and photos from the day on the website: lat2013.wordpress.com and I’ll add a link to my Impact article when it gets published!

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Happy Birthday!

I’m ashamed to admit, but I didn’t notice that it had been one year since I started my blog until a notification popped up from WordPress!

Screenshot of my Anniversary notification from WordPress

My Anniversary notification from WordPress

A lot has changed since I wrote my first posts – my first CPD23 post offers a nice insight into my progress over the last year: I’ve completed, and passed, my ACLIP Certification as well as carrying on with my blog past CPD23, a small goal, but one I’ve reached nonetheless!

Professionally I’ve joined the CILIP Career Development Group (West Midlands) committee and settled into my role as Vice-Chair. I’ve even joined the organising committee for our upcoming Librarians as Teachers event. The start of last year also saw me move into a new role at work, which I am now fully settled into – and still loving it! My new role has given me the chance to get involved with doing literature searches for clinical staff as well as get involved with the Training the Library runs.

This flows nicely into my next achievement; I’m now half way through my Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector (PTLLS) course, a training need I identified during my ACLIP, but haven’t had time to focus on until now. I’m learning lots of new things, and I’m planning a blog post to summarise it all when I have all of my assignments out of the way (so sometime in late June when I finish!)

Another skill I’ve learnt from doing this blog is using WordPress itself. It sounds obvious, but since I’ve started blogging our Library has redesigned it’s website – and we’re using WordPress.org as a Content Management System. I wasn’t responsible for designing and building the site, but I am one of the content contributors and being familiar with WordPress has given me a big head start in getting everything set up and posted. I also built a website for the Librarians as Teachers  event I’m helping to organise. We needed something, quick, simple and cheap – so to me WordPress was an obvious solution. I can add pages from work, or from home, and if we’d needed to I could have added other team members to the admin. It was also really easy last week to update it when we booked the last available place – less than five minutes later I’d logged in and updated the website.

It’s hard to believe a year has passed by so quickly, hopefully the next 12 months will bring lots more good news with it. To be honest, a majority of my aims for the next year aren’t professional, but once my PTLLS is out of the way, I plan on looking a bit more closely at Chartership – particularly finding out if I can undertake it in my current job role, which I’m hopeful I can. I won’t be able to submit until November 2014, but I think I can easily be ready by then to do so.

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Wiki Update

I was recently reading The Victorian Librarian’s post for Thing 13 and it reminded me about my promise to update the section about wiki’s when the NHS Midlands Regional Trainers Forum project I am working with had set ours up. The short story is that we haven’t yet – because we’re all on NHS computers most of us are limited to Internet Explorer 7 due to it’s use for interfacing with Clinical Systems on the wards, but all of the wiki’s we’ve tried (and phoned to ask) no longer fully support Internet Explorer 7. My Library Service has recently upgraded to IE 8 – but that took a few weeks of nagging the IT department and arguing that we didn’t use the clinical systems anyway (don’t get me started on the response I had to the request to install Firefox instead!) – I know of at least one other NHS Library service who use IE 8, but again, that was just in the Library, not Trust wide.

Does anyone know of a wiki (or a suitable alternative) that is suitable for using with IE7?

Even if we as creators of the wiki have access to IE 8, we are intending to share the content with NHS Libraries across the Midlands, and hopefully eventually further afield, and a lot of them will be limited to IE7 for the time-being at least.

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Thing 23: So long and thanks for all the fish!*

I found the 23 Things programme very positive – I learnt a few new things and about a few new online tools (especially Prezi and Evernote which I will be using again) and I made a few friends, as well as finding new people to follow on Twitter and new blogs to follow on Google Reader!

What’s next? To be honest I’m not 100% sure! I’ve handed in my CILIP Certification and I’m just waiting for the results, so I don’t think it’ll be anything study related (for a little while at least) but I imagine I’ll find something to fill my evenings!

My SWOT analysis …

I actually spent Wednesday morning in a Directorate strategy meeting and a few projects came out of that which I would like to get involved in (let’s call them opportunities!) including a Trust wide ‘Health and Well-Being’ promotion. I’ve already signed the Library up to get involved with the roadshows – I think it’s an excellent way to promote our Leisure collection (fiction, cooking, gardening etc books) and Book Club. My annual review is coming up as well – and it is 12months since I started in my current role, so I’m anticipating that that will hold some goals for me too.

I have a variety of Strengths – not all were listed in my SWOT analysis, I was trying to keep it focussed – but I think my voluntary work needs to be filed here. I’ve done a lot of things and learnt a lot of transferable skills in these environments – and to tie into the above it counts towards my work/life balance too! I think threats was a difficult one – my job feels very stable at the moment so there’s no threats there. The few threats I did identify I can see ways to avoid them – though I suppose that’s the idea of a SWOT analysis.

Having completed a PDP for my Certification I found it quite useful – even simple things like wanting to do a First Aid course seem different when they’re written down – and setting a target date can be a real motivation rather than leaving it as a ‘One day I’d like to…’ A question my NHS Trust has been asking recently is ‘Why not now?’. They’re mostly asking it regards to patient flow, but it’s been cropping up in planning meetings too (even at Trust Director level) and it’s an interesting question when posed about training – especially if like me you have a habit of putting it off – Why not do it now?

I definitely intend to keep blogging – it’s actually something I’d been thinking about before I started CPD23. I might start by posting my notes from the HLG Conference from July – better 3 months late than never – and see what sort of conversations that starts and go from there…

*PS – If you don’t know where the title/quote is from I suggest reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, although I’m well overdue re-reading it myself!

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Thing 22: Volunteering to gain experience

I worked as a voluntary library assistant at my local branch library in 2007, partly because I was unemployed and partly because I’d been turned down for a job at the big public library in Shrewsbury due to lack of experience. Granted this can be interpreted as anything from ‘the other candidates had more experience than me’ to ‘they don’t want you and are just being polite’, but I started volunteering to gain some experience. If nothing else it filled a time gap in my CV, so while I had yet to make up my mind regarding my chosen career path it seemed like a good idea.

Two years later when I next applied for a library job at Shrewsbury Health Library, I have no doubt in my mind that my voluntary experience made a difference to my application; I got the job. My boss potentially has other things to say about this, but my only other experience in a library was during my school years so whether it was just demonstrating a desire to work in the library sector or the experience itself I know that my voluntary work helped.

I think volunteering is an excellent way to gain experience as well as allowing people new to the profession to get to know other professionals, or even if it’s just to find out a bit more about working in a different sector to your own. I think the only problem comes when volunteers are being used to replace paid staff.

As a volunteer Brownie Guide Leader and Swimming Teacher I generally find volunteers to be less reliable – if something comes up (work commitments, childcare issues, just plain lazy) a voluntary commitment can be, and often is, dropped, where paid work cannot be (at least not as easily). Don’t get me wrong, I find that a core set of people turn up time and time again, and are extremely reliable, but a small number don’t show up and don’t have the courtesy to call and let you know either, and to me they give a bad name to the rest of us volunteers.

On the plus side I find that volunteering in these environments has given me a range of transferable skills. An obvious one is working with budgets and running an account sheet for the Brownies, which is not something I do in my current role, but is experience I will need when I take the next step. I am one of the senior Swimming Teachers at the club, which has given me supervisory experience when mentoring newly qualified volunteers and dealing with everybody’s information and allergy/medical info has made me an expert in data protection. Even better, I get to tell great stories at interviews when I explain how I helped organise a trip for 40+ Guides and Leaders to Switzerland to the World Guide Centre in 2008, or how the swimming club raised over £1000 for a local children’s charity at their last swimathon (yes I wore a Pirate costume, no there aren’t any pictures!)

For librarians I think volunteering is very useful – it shows that you are keen on working in this sector; it shows that you have identified a gap in your knowledge or experience and are working to fill that gap. I don’t think it devalues the sector as long as we don’t replace paid staff, but I think it highlights your value as an individual.

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Thing 21: Promoting Yourself

What you like doing is often also what interests you, and vice-versa. In order to identify your strengths, take a good look at yourself, your tasks at work, your career, you life: what do you like to do? What do you dislike? Do you remember the last time you felt that feeling of deep satisfaction after creating, building, completing something? What was it about? What skills do you need to do the things you like? These skills are your strengths; they stem from your interests.

http://cpd23.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/thing-21-promoting-yourself-in-job.html

I like – watching films
– Socialising/ having a good chat/ talking to people
– Working on/ with computers
– Reading (on my Kindle too)
– Running Brownies
– My voluntary work teaching swimming
– Watching people learn new things, whether it’s the Brownies learning a new skills or a doctor picking up tips for literature searching (or a medical secretary getting to grips with her new USB stick)
– Helping people – it might sound silly, but I feel better knowing I’ve helped someone, whether it’s finding a book on the shelf or getting a buggy up/ down stairs
– when each day is different to yesterday (even if it’s just a bit)

I dislike – days when I don’t see anyone
– The database when it’s playing up
– Monday mornings…
– Monotony in my routines

I’m not sure how helpful this is in picking out strengths, but I agree that doing something (a skill, a task) that you love means that it will easily become a strength. I actually found writing my Library Route quite helpful – in picking out something I loved about each job I found skills building up that I now use everyday working in Libraries, from dealing with people, to improving my telephone skills, to learning about new computer programs, and to promoting stock in the shop – I found a lot of transferable skills that I loved then and continue to use now. Obviously writing a Library Route isn’t for everyone, but just listing tasks and skills for past jobs might highlight things you’d forgotten about. You can also use it to draft a CV.

As part of my CILIP Certification I had to update and annotate my CV, so this is already up to date and fairly detailed too. I like the idea of my CV being up to 4 pages long – I know I can’t send it to potential employers like that, but I know that everything is in there, and in detail, so it makes it a bit easier to edit for an employer; I just need to take out the stuff that’s not relevant (that’s actually easier than it sounds, but it’s a good starting point!)

I’ve been unemployed twice in my Career history (see thing 20 for my Library Route) and one of these was for a significant length of time so I’ve managed to pick up a vast array of tips. They include;

  • Print a two sided CV on two separate sheets of paper – it makes it easier for someone to scan as they can lay both sheets out side by side (no flipping back and forth either)
  • Have someone proof read your CV – it sound obvious, but it’s better than sending it out with a typo.
  • Have a good friend or family member read your CV critically alongside the job description for the job you’re applying for – they might pick up skills and roles you hadn’t thought to include, or had forgotten about, as they can see it from a different angle
  • This was covered briefly in the original post – but at an interview, when asked about competency-based questions be specific. Don’t just say ‘I worked in a team at x employer’ say ‘working as a team was important during my work at x shop as our delivery arrived on Friday afternoons and we had to work together to get as much stock out as possible before the weekend’ – it’s a much better way to demonstrate these skills (and shows that you have actually done this!)
  • Handwrite the letter of application – it might take a few more drafts, but the extra effort is worth it. It makes your letter stand out from the typed ones and shows you put the extra effort in. (This doesn’t apply if you have very messy handwriting!)
  • Read through job descriptions and person specifications for your ideal job – what skills are needed that you don’t have? This will give you a list of areas to work on, so that you can add these skills to your CV, so that when you apply for your ideal job you can make sure you have all the necessary skills.

And one I picked up recently from the Swiss Army Librarian blog:

  • When emailing a CV or application form put your name in the subject heading – it’ll make you stand out from the other applications

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Thing 19: Integrating ’Things’

I have to say I don’t really know where to start with this one! There are a few tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Calendar that I was already using. My use of these tools hasn’t increased, although I have joined library related groups on Facebook and found some new people to follow on Twitter. I’m still considering joining LinkedIn, but I don’t know a huge number of people who use it, so I don’t know whether it’s worth my time, especially if I won’t have a large network (the value of what you get out of it seems proportional to the size of your network).

Thanks to CPD23 I have discovered Evernote – which I think is fantastic. But a lot of its value comes from being able to access it from my Smartphone, so even when I have no internet access I can still view notes and add new ones. It’s a very handy way to store information, not just in notes, but by saving the documents themselves too. When I’m out and about, especially at Brownies meetings, having access to a document someone has sent me is very useful. Especially if something’s unexpectedly popped up in conversation (usually starting with ‘I didn’t get that email about …’) and you need to look up training course details etc without having a computer or a mobile internet signal. Again, I could previously use these documents on my phone, but I couldn’t group them together, nor could I find them easily, so Evernote really has been very useful to me.

The real-life networks Thing was very good too – I had a chance to socialise with some new (and a few not-so-new) people when we met up in Wolverhampton. (Honestly, it was just nice to make a change from my normal routine!) Since then, I’ve also attending my first NHS Midlands Regional Trainer’s Forum meeting, so I’ve expanded my network in that direction too. It was nice to meet up with everyone, some of whom were previously just names in email headers, and we discussed a variety of things from e-learning to open access journals and we even had a talk from someone from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) about some of their online resources, although he admitted we, as health librarians, might be just as familiar with them as he was!

Prezi is another Thing that I can see being useful in the future. Especially if at a conference, or at an interview, where you want to make yourself stand out a little bit, or even just to show off your new IT skills! I think that Prezi is a much more flexible presentation tool than PowerPoint and highlights a different set of skills, as well as allowing the presenter to be a bit more creative than a ‘standard’ linear presentation.

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Thing 18: Pod and Video-casting

As a library service we made and posted some screencast training videos online a few years back. I confess, I don’t know what software was used, but if it wasn’t Jing, it was similar. The videos were posted on YouTube (youtube.com/sathlibraries) although they were never very popular with our users, presumably because YouTube is blocked on our hospital network and people had to watch them at home or not at all (even embedded YouTube videos are blocked). If we were one day able to get access to them – or post them on the hospital’s Intranet I think they would be a very helpful tool for our users to be able to access.

UPDATE: I was flicking through my copy of The Cybrarian’s Web (full reference in my Further Reading section) before I bring it back to the library and I saw about another video sharing site vimeo.com – I can access this one at work, so I’ll be suggesting hosting our screencasts here and see what the boss says!

I’ve read articles about libraries pod-casting and I often wonder what they talk about for these. Unlike the screencasts, or other video casts, where you can show your users something, either on the computers or physically in the library, a pod cast seems to be a bit random. Although I guess it’s no different than a blog post, just spoken instead of written, but I wonder if followers would notice quicker if you didn’t post a pod cast, rather than a blog post …

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Thing 17: Prezi and Slideshare

Prezi

Having seen a few Prezi’s online recently and at the HLG conference, so I’ve been meaning to give it a go for a while now. I finally had a quick play with it a few weeks ago, just to teach myself the basics and I found it quite easy to use. I think the possibilities are excellent – unlike the linear presentations of PowerPoint the only real limit in Prezi seems to be how well you plan it out! I can’t imagine just sitting down and starting a Prezi to have it turn out well – unlike PowerPoint where you can just sit and type a brief outline into a few slides and then build upon it afterwards.

I agree that Prezi would be useful for presenting (or even just digitising) mind maps, but I would want to know how well it transferred. You can save a Flash version of the presentation, but I wonder if you are limited to certain versions of the software i.e. not older versions. When going to a job interview it’s hard to know what software versions you will have available, so this is something that might be worth further investigation. (Presentations made on older versions of PowerPoint display fine on newer versions of the software – in fact this was quite useful when in the interview for my current job when technical issues meant we had to use a computer with older software on!)

I’ve made a Prezi to practice. Instead of a library themed Prezi, I thought I’d do one about  my visit to Finland in 2002 when I went to represent Girlguiding UK at an International Scout Camp.

*UPDATE: I tried to embed my Prezi, but it wouldn’t display! You can find my Prezi here: ‘Satahanka X’

Slideshare

Slideshare is a really useful tool – we use it at work for putting our training presentations online where hospital staff can access it at anytime for a refresher (this means that PowerPoint and similar software now have the same sharing facilities that Prezi offers!) Our presentations are at http://www.slideshare.net/sathlibraries

The only downside here is that – as my MSc tutor pointed out – a good PowerPoint doesn’t have much writing. It encourages people to listen to you instead of reading the screen and takes away the temptation to just stand there and read slides. (And despite my seminar group being told not to do this, about 90% did it anyway!) The Presentation I gave to the other students about my dissertation was predominantly pictures, screenshots and graphs etc – on it’s own this doesn’t mean much, so sharing the slides would only be of use if you’d been at the original presentation, and then only if you remembered what was said. If there were a lot of presentations, say at a conference, the slides would loose all meaning on their own.

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Thing 16: Advocacy

When I hear the words advocacy I mostly think about the work to defend public libraries from people who don’t see the value of the library services. But in sectors such as healthcare, we have a need to advocate within our own organisations, to promote the service to clinical staff (such as doctors, nurses, therapists etc etc…)

I haven’t really had a chance to get involved in Advocacy, although I have been reading the CILIP pages on advocacy in health care (http://www.cilip.org.uk/ get-involved/advocacy/healthcare/Pages/default.aspx)

As a Library service we do a lot to promote our services; things like literature searching and document supply that sometimes have a direct impact on patient care within the hospital. But when we mention these services to the clinical staff, some of whom have been here a long time, they often say something along the lines of ‘I didn’t know you did that’ or worse ‘I didn’t know we had a library’ (this has only happened once, but it still annoys me!)

On the other hand we also have ‘regulars’, doctors, nurses and others who regularly phone up, or drop in, and ask for a literature search or ‘can you get hold of this article’ and that makes it seem worthwhile – but I wonder how many of them give us credit for helping. I’m currently in the middle of a literature search for someone who will be giving a presentation to colleagues. Will she mention the library helped her? Probably not, but word of mouth in similar situations (getting people to advocate on our behalf) is probably the best way to promote our services within the hospital, as well as demonstrating the impact that the library has on patient care.

We’ve recently re-launched our library’s user group – representatives from each professional and student group meeting to discuss library related topics. Its purpose is two fold – we have a focus group we can discuss the library with, but it gives our users a voice in the library too. We would also hope that these users also go back to work and discuss these topics with the people they represent, thereby advocating for our service, however inadvertently, but it’s hard to get a number on how many actually do this.

We have also recently started conducting Impact Assessments of our Literature Searching service and Information Skills Training – asking questions like “do you anticipate that, in the future, it may lead you to change some aspect of patient care?” We haven’t been doing it long enough to have decent figures, but the hope is we can demonstrate how often these services impact things like patient care and teaching/learning opportunities, which will help us advocate for our service within the hospital.

We’ve also started sending in articles to the new staff magazine. One was to launch our new Leisure Collection, another was to congratulate a long serving member of staff on gaining her Chartership – but I think it all works towards a goal of reminding people we are here. If they don’t know what services we offer, they still (sometimes) pop in and ask ‘can you help me with…’ and usually we can (or we know who can!) and I think that sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference.

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