Tag Archives: events

Librarians as Teachers 2015: Organising #LATAston

On the 10th June I attended the third West Midlands Librarians as Teachers conference. Once again the CILIP West Midlands Member Network committee I sit on worked together with the CILIP Academic and Research Libraries Group (West Midlands) committee (ARLG) to organise the event. This is the second time I have personally been involved in organising the conference (see my post from LAT 2013) and it felt like a very different experience from last time. This is possibly to do with the fact I had previously been involved in organising an event like this, so I knew what to expect and what I could offer as my contribution to the organising team.

We decided early on against having a separate event website this time and posted all of our promotional information to the CILIP Event page, as the page template meant we could include all of the information we wanted to, including Speaker information and an incorporated booking form. The main downside for this was all of the information was on one long page, but it meant we had the CILIP Branding etc on the page. The URL for it was long, so I used a URL Shortener which I edited to be easier to remember (bit.ly/lat2015). I think this was important when advertising the event as easy to remember URLs make things easier on potential attendees. This will also make things a little harder to make post event information such as slides and photos easily available, but we would be hosting these on sites such as Slideshare and Flickr anyway as they are available to a wider audience that way. I think a few blog/social media posts to the ARLG and CILIP West Midlands Member Network members as well as an email to our delegates should be sufficient to kick start the promotion of these resources. [During the run up to the event CILIP’s web team were doing a survey about the website – I have suggested the ability to create event micro-sites for big events, and apparently I wasn’t the only one!]

The live tweeting went well. LAT2013 was my first attempt at doing this and I think I struggled a bit with it, but I am more experienced now and a few people commented that I seemed to do it really well! These two people both said it was their first attempt at live tweeting, so maybe it looked more impressive to them than it was! The Hashtag for the event was #LATAston – due to hosting the conference at Conference Aston – we’d intended to use LAT2015 but this was used in America a few months before our conference! (I think this would probably be the same people that used LAT2013 a week or so after our last conference – it caused me some confusion doing the Storify, but thankfully didn’t confuse any other people! For the LATAston Storify visit Jess Haigh’s – she beat me to it!

This year the main difference we had was the decision very early on to pay for a conference room, rather than hunt around for free venues in Libraries. We used the biggest room we could find in 2013 and felt a bit squeezed in. This time we booked Conference Aston, in Birmingham. We felt it was easy to get to, being in Central Birmingham, and while the room costs weren’t cheap we knew we wanted to try and at least match the 65 delegates we had in 2013, if not get it a bit higher! I feel like paying for a room was worth it: The Conference centre itself was very impressive, with all the mod-cons (like coffee machines!) and top notch help from all of the staff, including Bill who helped us with all the AV set up at the start and end of the day. The food was fantastic as well – no dry/soggy sandwiches in sight! We had two ‘light’ options: soup and Jacket potatoes (with a choice of two fillings!) and three main course options, as well as two options for dessert – I went with the Lemon and Polenta cake! Yum!

We optimistically booked a room for 75-120 people, thinking if we had 75 then at least we would have some elbow space! We briefly discussed aiming for 100 attendees – I don’t know about the other organisers but to me this felt like a hard target to reach. When we hit the 65 delegates mark the bookings slowed down a little so I thought I had hit the mark. However we decided we had time before we had to confirm the number of attendees with conference centre so we kept accepting bookings – by the time we closed the bookings we had over 100 people booked in. We did accept a few after the closing date, as it was only a couple, but all in all I feel that this worked very well for us, and I’m certainly happy to have been proven wrong regarding the number of attendees we would get!

The official feedback is still being processed, but speaking to people at the conference yesterday and looking at the tweets I saw yesterday evening it looks like everyone enjoyed it and had a good time! I’ll write a separate post about my reflections of the content, but I can say for certain that I will be doing this again in the future, and I can’t think of anything at the moment that I would do differently.

 

Sorry for not posting this sooner – I’ve had a busy few weeks and didn’t get around to proof-reading the post!

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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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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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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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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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