Tag Archives: Twitter

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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Why I’ve started using a third party app for Facebook

I’ve recently noticed that posts I’m writing on Facebook for pages I administer aren’t then popping up in my feed. At first I thought maybe it was just random, or related to the fact that I am the author of the post, but after talking to someone I’m on the West Midlands Members Network with I realised it wasn’t just me, as the author, who couldn’t see the posts – it was our users too.

This is obviously problematic, if my users can’t see my post they can’t engage in it. So I did a little digging online to try to solve the problem and found this article: http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/03/the-filtered-feed-problem/ Essentially, it is not a problem or a fault at all, but caused by Facebook filtering what it’s users see in their timeline.

The article talks you through a simplified version of the actual equation, but the most powerful determinants of whether a post is shown in the feed include:

  • How popular (Liked, commented on, shared, clicked) are the post creator’s past posts with everyone
  • How popular is this post with everyone who has already seen it
  • How popular have the post creator’s past posts been with the viewer
  • Does the type of post (status update, photo, video, link) match what types have been popular with the viewer in the past
  • How recently was the post published

though there are many more factors that impact visibility. This does not make me happy, either as a Page administrator, or as a user.

Take the CILIP West Midlands Facebook page as an example. The committee, for a variety of reasons, was fairly inactive last year and that included all of their social media, including Facebook. This means that our engagement with our followers is low and has been low for some time. I thought that by starting to post regularly it would help signify to our users that the new Regional Members Network (CILIP Branches merged with the local CDG and PTEG groups on April 1st) was up and running and active. But this won’t work if our users cannot see our posts.

As a user I want to be able to filter my news feed myself. I have friends on there that I’ve blocked from my feed, (and Farmville and Candy Crush Saga!) the friends and pages that I want to hear from, I want to see everything, not just posts from people I’ve interacted with recently, particularly because I use it for staying in touch with old uni friends. I don’t contact them regularly, but I still want to see updates! It shouldn’t matter how recently I’ve interacted with them up until that point!

When I got an Android tablet last year I wanted an app that would list my Twitter feed on my homepage, instead of just a link to the app. I tried a few, but Plume offered me the feature I wanted. It also gives you the ability to link more than one Twitter account so I’ve found it quite useful for browsing my personal and work/CILIP WM Twitter accounts as well. When I realised that Facebook was essentially hiding some of my news feed from me I linked my Facebook account to it as well. It doesn’t display third party images very well, but it means I don’t miss things coming into my feed, and I’ve been able to like posts from people whose posts I haven’t seen due to the filtering, which means their posts are now showing in my feed in the Facebook app!

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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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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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Organising Events

Sorry for the long break between posts – but recently I have been so busy I honestly haven’t had time! I’m doing my PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) course at a local college as I’m hoping it will help improve my Training skills At the very least it’s a qualification, as well as being something I identified on my ACLIP PDP. Staying late at college on Wednesdays combined with my latest attempt to actually use my gym membership as well as all of my other usual commitments hasn’t left me with a lot of time lately, but I feel like I’m finally settling into a routine!

One of the commitments that’s taking up most of my thoughts, if not the hours in my day, is organising various events. For over two years now, I’ve been a member of the West Midlands Health Libraries Network’s  Para-Professionals group which organises training events for Library and Information Assistants. Last October I attended our event on High Impact Displays, which was very useful and we’re planning to running it again, although it looks like this will be next year now, so this year we’re planning to run a session on Information Search Skills in May.

I also sit on the Committee for the West Midlands Division of the CILIP Career Development Group and we are working with the Academic and Research Libraries Group (ARLG) to run a ‘Librarians as Teachers Event’ in June. I’m in charge of the publicity for this one, which includes the event’s website as well as posting to the CILIP WM Facebook page and promoting the event on Twitter  and co-ordinating sending messages to various mailing lists. I’m gaining invaluable experience doing this – even in my role with the Para-Professional Group our courses don’t get advertised this widely so I tend not to have the range of opportunities that the LAT event has opened up.

Moving forward I think that one day I’d like to get involved with organising larger, even national, events – although I might practise with local ones for a bit longer!!

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Librarians to Follow on Twitter

This was an interesting post: 125 Librarians to Follow on Twitter but I couldn’t help noticing that most of them were American with only about half a dozen British Librarians included on the list (notable British Tweeters being Phil Bradley, Ned Potter, and Joeyanne).

I couldn’t help but wonder which UK Librarians do you follow? And which ones would you recommend? Answers in the comments, or via my twitter (@LBasini) please!

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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 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 4: Current Awareness

RSS feeds

I’ve been subscribing to RSS feeds for a while and I have to say Google Reader makes this so easy. I can easily subscribe either by pressing a button (if there is one) on the source web page or by copy and pasting the URL of the feed into the subscribe box in Google Reader. (It’s easy to unsubscribe too, which is always helpful!) Email subscriptions are easy, but if you subscribe to a few, I imagine they would clutter up your inbox quite quickly. With Google Reader, if I’ve been away or haven’t checked them for a few days I can easily mark the contents of a feed as having been ‘read’ and without all of the tick boxes that you get with emails.

Two that make me smile are Clients from Hell and Times Educational Miscreant (my sister’s a teacher and she pointed me to this one, but it’s still funny even if you don’t teach!) Good Library feeds include The Daring Librarian and Ned Potter’s The Wikiman.

(PS – I’m reading Accidental Health Sciences Librarian, by Lisa Ennis and Nicole Mitchell, and they’ve written different sections on Blogs and RSS feeds which got me thinking that I when I say/see ‘RSS feeds’, I’m often thinking ‘Blog’ – but that’s not necessarily accurate! Non-blog RSS feeds that I subscribe to include the BBC news feeds and Journal Tables of Contents (Health Information and Libraries Journal amongst others) although the latter tends to be email subscriptions, rather than through Google Reader.)

Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter for just over two years and I have to say, I actually prefer it to Facebook in some ways. I can search topics easily, even if they don’t appear in my news feed and I can follow anyone, (usually) without them having to approve our ‘friendship’; so I can follow Terry Pratchett, even though he has no idea who I am, and he can chose whether or not he follows me (I doubt he does). The one thing I would like is to be able to privately reply to someone without the whole world knowing I’ve complemented a friend on his new haircut, but that’s not really in keeping with the idea of Twitter. Let’s face it; if I really wanted it to be private I wouldn’t be sending it via Twitter.

It’s only since I’ve started my Certification that I’ve been using Twitter to keep up to date with Library related things, but it has been very useful and I’ve learnt a few things that way that I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise (although I can’t think of an example off the top of my head). It was also good after the West Midlands Branch Information and Networking Day I went to in April as I could see what other people had thought about the day, as well as look at a few of their photos (there was always people in the way when I tried to take them!) as we had all put the same hashtag on our posts. Phil Bradley is on Twitter, as is Jo Alcock (from Thing 3) as well as the West Midlands branch and the HLG and CDG special interest groups which I belong to.

Storify

I haven’t come across Storify before and although it looks likes an impressive mashup site I have to say I can’t really see the point. I may be a bit biased – as part of my MSc I studied a programming language called PHP which is used in websites; it means that I can (and did for my dissertation) get feeds from blogs, Facebook and Twitter (amongst others) and post them as part of the webpage code.

If anyone is interested my test page for my Dissertation webpage is still online: http://mi-linux.wlv.ac.uk/~0821606/index.html (it’s a mock up using feeds from various local libraries)

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